New York Veteran Service Group Lawyers
Our Veterans Services Group (VSG) is a Finkelstein & Partners LLP outreach program serving veterans in our community and cities across the country. Our group of personal injury VGS lawyers specializes in helping the men and women who spent time defending our freedom deal with the complex process of securing fair and just disability compensation.
Dealing With the Department Of Veteran Affairs
Many veterans find dealing with the Department of Veteran Affairs complex and frustrating. Denials are frequently commonplace. We are here for those applicants who have been denied benefits, those whose “deadline” is fast-approaching, and those who are considering filing for V.A. benefits for the first time. Our VSG lawyers maintain close ties to our clients—we are with you and your family every step to guide you through this difficult time. When you hire our V.A. benefits appeals lawyers, you get the help you need to pursue your V.A. Benefits.
“I live in South Carolina and hired the Finkelstein & Partners Veterans Services Group to handle my Veterans’ disability benefits appeal after learning about the great work they do for veterans. They understand how difficult it can be to obtain disability benefits, but they really are dedicated to helping veterans and their families through the process. I have been fighting for my benefits for quite some time without success. My Finkelstein & Partners Veterans Services Group attorney, Christine Clemens, presented my case at the BVA hearing and I finally received my disability benefits, I even received back dated benefits. I would 100 percent recommend the Finkelstein & Partners Veterans Services group to anyone struggling to collect disability benefits.” (Kryste S.- former VSG client.)
Many different benefits are available to Veterans and their family members. Disability benefits are the most well-known.
Table of Contents
According to a recent press release from the House Committee on Appropriations, 7.3 million patients expect V.A. treatment next year. About 5.5 million veterans and 500,000 survivors and dependents will receive disability compensation payments. The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims had a caseload of over 8,000 appeals in 2021. There is currently a substantial backlog in V.A. disability claims processing
All veterans, no matter when or where they served, may be eligible for monthly disability compensation if injured in the line of duty or if their time of service exacerbated a previous condition. These former servicemembers (and their families) sacrificed so much to protect and serve our nation.
Our attorneys and administrative staff at the VSG are provide the support they deserve in their time of need. We are a team of experienced and compassionate Veterans’ advocates and VA-accredited attorneys who specialize in handling disability compensation claims for veterans and their families.
Disability compensation pays a monthly, tax-free allotment to eligible Veterans with service-connected disabilities. For a Veteran to receive Disability Compensation Benefits, they must have an injury or medical condition caused or aggravated by active duty service.
How Long Does It Take?
We wish we could say something definitive, but due to the significant backlog of cases the V.A. deals with, the answer is possibly a year or two. It is a process hinging on the number of disabilities in question and how complicated it is to gather supporting documentation.
It May be Possible To Expedite A Claim
There are no guarantees, but, on a case-by-case basis, if any of these situations pertain to a particular claim, things may move quicker:
- Extreme financial hardship – If you can document home foreclosure, past due rent, past-due mortgage payments, bankruptcy, impending utility cut-offs, or an inability to keep up.
- Homelessness – The V.A. may expedite a claim if it considers the veteran homeless. This may include veterans living outdoors, in a shelter, or in transitional housing.
- Advanced age
- Terminal illness or under hospice care
Examples Of Some Of The Claims We Handle
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Though the number of Veterans with PTSD varies by service era, the statistics are staggering:
- About 11 to 20 out of every 100 veterans who served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year
- About 12 percent of all Desert Storm veterans have PTSD
- An estimated 30 percent of Vietnam veterans had PTSD in their lifetime
The last several years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans seeking help for PTSD.
Traumatic brain injury
Veterans risk traumatic brain injuries from explosions in combat or training sessions. Between 2000 and late 2019, The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) reported nearly 414,000 TBIs among U.S. service members worldwide.
TBI symptoms include:
- Changes in memory
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor impulse control
- Irritability and anger
- Vomiting or nausea
- Lack of coordination or balance
Agent Orange exposure
The following diseases are associated with Agent Orange exposure:
- A.L. amyloidosis
- Chronic B-cell leukemias
- Diabetes type 2
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Ischemic heart disease
- Multiple myelomas
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Prostate cancer
- Respiratory cancers
- Soft tissue sarcomas
Who may seek Agent Orange disability benefits
Those who qualify include:
- Veterans who served in Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
- Veterans who served near the Korean demilitarized zone between September 1, 1967, to August 31, 1971
- Veterans who served in Thailand during the Vietnam and Korean War efforts (on or near military bases) between Feb. 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975
Veterans Services Group obtained a combined retroactive award of $326,485 for a Gulf War veteran.
What Is a Presumptive Condition?
Because of the unique circumstances of a particular service man or woman’s military deployment, the V.A. sometimes assumes certain medical conditions may be service related. This condition need not necessarily be a part of the veteran’s military medical treatment record.
A presumed condition can qualify a veteran for disability compensation.
One example of a presumptive service connection is for veterans, reservists, and National Guard members exposed to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987, who later developed one of these eight diseases:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Parkinson’s disease
For a comprehensive explanation of presumptive conditions and the specifics of eligibility, click here.
These are the words of a satisfied client:
“I served in the Army and saw combat in Vietnam. I developed a service related disability years after my in service toxic exposure to herbicides, including Agent Orange. With my honorable discharge, I applied for Veterans’ Compensation Benefits. The VA denied me service connection for my disability, so I had to hire a lawyer. I live in Missouri and I called a local lawyer. They told me that Finkelstein & Partners is the best in the USA because they have a dedicated Veterans’ Services Group to help vets get the benefits they deserve. Well, they were right and the best thing I did was to call Finkelstein & Partners. Even though they are in New York, they told me they handle cases Nationwide, so I hired them. It was such a pleasure working with them. They did everything they promised and got me the results I wanted. If you have a service-related disability from being in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard—and whether it is for diabetes with neuropathy or PTSD—I highly recommend Finkelstein & Partners to help with your appeal.”
Disability Pension Benefits
Disability pension benefits also require that a Veteran be disabled or injured by a medical condition to receive the benefits. However, unlike disability compensation benefits, the V.A. does not predicate disability pension benefits on the veteran’s service.
Benefits for Family Members
VA benefits are available to qualifying family members (spouses, dependent children, and parents) of both living and deceased Veterans.
If a veteran has a V.A. disability compensation claim pending at the time of their death, a spouse or children may receive accrued benefits from it. Some dependents may claim past V.A. benefits on behalf of deceased veterans.
To establish a claim for accrued benefits:
- The family must file the claim for accrued benefits within one year of the veteran’s death.
- The veteran must have a pending disability claim.
- The official V.A. record at the time of death establishes the veteran was entitled to monthly V.A. disability compensation for a service-connected illness, condition, or disease.
Dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC—formerly death compensation)
V.A. death benefits are called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). Unfortunately, the V.A. sometimes denies DIC benefit claims.
To obtain V.A. death benefits:
- The veteran died while on active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training, OR
- The death resulted from a service-related injury or disease, OR
- A veteran whose death resulted from a non-service-related injury or disease and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive, V.A. benefits for a totally disabling service-connected disability
- for at least ten years immediately before death, OR
- since the veteran’s release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR
- for at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999.
A veteran’s V.A. disability compensation does not automatically transfer upon their death to their surviving spouse and children. However, the V.A. may convert it to a death pension.
Some Helpful Links
The Veterans’ Services Group wants to provide you with resources that may prove helpful in addressing your needs.
The information listed is for your information and does not constitute an endorsement by the Veterans’ Services Group.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs search for forms
- Find a V.A. facility or provider
- V.A. homeless programs
- Beacon House information
Who We Are
We are a team, and we are here for you.
The Veterans Services Group at Finkelstein & Partners consists of seasoned and caring advocates and V.A.-accredited personal injury attorneys who work to secure disability compensation benefits for Veterans and their families. We assist with appealing those decisions by the V.A. that negatively, and sometimes unfairly, impact the scope of a Veteran’s benefits.
A few examples of the types of cases we deal with are: combat-related wounds, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), military sexual trauma (MST), and toxin/dioxin exposure.
We represent Veterans in their disability compensation cases and eligible surviving spouses in their appeals for accrued and dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) benefits in all 50 states. In addition to disability-related benefits, we assist veterans and eligible family members in applying for healthcare, memorial, educational, and specific insurance benefits.
Our Veterans Service Group founder made the New Jersey Law Journal.
Meet one of our Veterans Disability Attorneys.
Beginning the process can be as simple as making a phone call.
Although we do our best to help our clients, we cannot always directly assist with a particular claim or concern. This website provides some valuable information to make things easier for veterans and their families. We are proud to help those who served. Contact us for more information today.
The following are veterans’ resources in the New York and New Jersey areas that we hope may be helpful to you. The resources range from Veterans’ housing programs to local VA Medical Facilities. The information listed is for your information and does not constitute an endorsement by the Veterans’ Services Group.
We, at the Veterans’ Services Group, want to provide you with as much information and as many resources as possible. Our hope is that if we are not able to assist you personally, you may use the information we provide to you here to address your needs. Below are veterans’ resources throughout the country that we hope may be helpful to you. The resources range from free legal clinics to VA Medical Facilities. The information listed is for your information and does not constitute an endorsement by the Veterans’ Services Group.
- A&A — Aid and Attendance
- AAO — Assistant Adjudication Officer
- AGG — Aggravated in Service
- AO — Adjudication Officer or Agent Orange
- AOJ — Agency of Original Jurisdiction
- APA — Administrative Procedures Act
- AR — Army Regulation
- AWOL — Absence Without Official Leave
- BCD — Bad Conduct Discharge
- BCMR — Board for Correction of Military Records
- BCNR — Board for Correction of Naval Records
- BVA — Board of Veterans’ Appeals
- C-file — Claims file
- CAVC — U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims
- CBD — Chief Benefits Director
- C&C — Confirmed and Continued (Type of Rating Decision)
- C.F.R. — Code of Federal Regulations
- CMD — Chief Medical Director
- COLA — Cost-of-Living Adjustment
- Comp. — Compensation
- C&P — Compensation and Pension
- DC or DX — Diagnostic Code
- DD — Dishonorable Discharge
- DEA — Dependents’ Educational Assistance
- DIC — Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
- DOD — Department of Defense
- DRB — Discharge Review Board
- DSM IV — Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.)
- DVA — Department of Veterans Affairs
- EAD — Entry on Active Duty
- EOD — Entry on Duty
- ETS — Expiration of Term of Service
- EVR — Eligibility Verification Report
- FOIA — Freedom of Information Act
- GAO — General Accounting Office
- GC — General Counsel
- GD — General Discharge
- HB — Housebound
- HD — Honorable Discharge
- HO — Hearing Officer
- IME — Independent Medical Expert
- INC — Incurred in Service
- IU — Individual Unemployability
- IVAP — Income for VA Purposes
- LOD — Line of Duty
- MAPR — Maximum Annual Pension Rate
- NA — National Archives
- NOA — Notice of Appeal
- NOD — Notice of Death or Notice of Disagreement
- NPRC — National Personnel Records Center
- NSC — Non Service-connected
- NSLI — National Service Life Insurance
- NSO — National Service Officer
- NVLSP — National Veterans Legal Services Program
- OGC — Office of the General Counsel (VA)
- OMPF — Official Military Personnel File
- OPC — Outpatient Clinic
- Op. G.C. — Opinion of the General Counsel
- OPT — Outpatient Treatment
- Pen. — Pension
- PL/P.L. — Public Law
- POA — Power of Attorney
- POW — Prisoner of War
- PT — Permanent Total Disability
- PTSD — Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- RAD — Release from Active Duty
- RE code — Reenlistment Code
- REPS — Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors
- RI — Rating Increase
- RPC — Records Processing Center (St.Louis)
- SC — Service-connected
- SDN — Separation Designation Number
- SDRP — Special Discharge Review Program
- SF — Standard Form
- SMC — Special Monthly Compensation
- SMIB — Supplementary Medical Insurance Benefit
- SMP — Special Monthly Pension
- SMR — Service Medical Record
- SOC — Statement of the Case
- SPCM — Special Court-Martial
- SRD — Schedule for Rating Disabilities
- SSA — Social Security Administration
- SSDI — Social Security Disability Income
- SSI — Supplemental Security Income
- SSOC — Supplemental Statement of the Case
- UCMJ — Uniform Code of Military justice
- UD — Undesirable Discharge
- UOTHC — (Discharge) Under Other Than Honorable Conditions
- U.S.C.S. — United States Code Service
- U.S.C.A. — United States Code Annotated
- VA — Department of Veterans Affairs (also used for old Veterans Administration)
- VACO — VA Central Office
- VACOLS — Veterans Appeals Control and Locator System
- VAMC — VA Medical Center
- VAOPC — VA Outpatient Clinic
- VAR — VA Regulation
- VARO — VA Regional Office
- VBA — Veterans Benefits Administration
- VEAP — Veterans’ Education Assistance Program
- VGLI — Veterans’ Group Life Insurance
- VHA — Veterans’ Health Administration
- VSO — Veterans’ Service Organization
Guides & Literature
*Disclaimer: While our Veterans Services Group continuously checks to ensure the inks provided are the most current forms available from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DAV), the DAV amends and updates its forms arbitrarily throughout the year. Please be sure to check the expiration date of all VA Forms to ensure the form is current.
Finkelstein & Partners
1279 Route 300
Newburgh, NY, 12551
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