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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com              Veterans who cannot work because of service-connected disabilities can get VA unemployability, otherwise known as Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability or, for short, TDIU.  TDIU means the veteran will get a monthly cash benefit at the 100% compensation amount.  For a single veteran with no dependents, that amount as of the date of this blog is $3057.13 per month (to see different rates depending on the veteran’s marital and dependent status just Google “VA compensation rates”).              To qualify for unemployability, a veteran must have service-connected conditions that make it “at least as…
If a veteran has a service-connected disability, the VA will rate it according to the “Schedule for Rating Disabilities.” In this document, which is in the Code of Federal Regulations, the VA listed every disability or condition they could think of that might affect a veteran.  If a veteran’s disability is not listed, the VA will rate it by using a comparable disability.  The ratings range from 0% to 100% and are meant to compensate the veteran for how much the disability affects her ability to work.  The rating corresponds to how much compensation she will get each month.  For…
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Pexels.com The VA appeals system for disability compensation claims has been confusing and complicated for years. Veterans often give up because they get overwhelmed and exhausted by the appeals system.  The VA is hopeful that the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (AMA) is a more veteran friendly, streamlined process.  Is it? Time will tell.  But in the meantime, here’s a basic overview of the AMA.                  The AMA went into effect on 2/19/2019.  Before this date, Veterans could opt into the new system through RAMP (the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program). If veterans opted into…
Published in U.S. Veterans Magazine, Spring 2017 Let’s take things back to basics: what makes a good VA disability compensation claim? VA disability is like worker’s compensation for veterans.  When hurt on active duty, veterans can get VA compensation, just as a civilian worker could get worker’s compensation if hurt on the job. This sounds simple, but the process can be trickier than you might think. If not handled correctly from the outset, a compensation claim could be denied, possibly leaving the veteran mired in the appeals process for years. Yes, that’s right. Years. The following tips can help veterans…
A lot of veterans ask me about the VA claims file, or “C file.”  Some request a copy of it, but then aren’t sure how to use it in the way that will best help them get their VA disability claims approved. This is understandable since the files aren’t always organized and normally contain many duplicates that can be hard to handle. The files used to be sent out on paper which wasn’t the handiest because some contain thousands of pages.  Now the files are sent out on disc which is a lot easier to handle and, not to mention,…
If a veteran’s service connected condition leads to another disability, he might be able to get that other disability “secondarily” service connected.  If so, the VA will pay the veteran an additional amount of compensation every month for that secondarily service connected condition.  A good example of this is when a veteran has a chronic physical disability that’s service connected – like a back injury from a truck accident in the military – and the pain and limitation from that disability leads to depression.  In this case, the veteran might be able to get compensation for depression.  Another example is…
Military sexual trauma, often referred to as MST, is a bigger problem than a lot of people think. Many people are also surprised to learn that MST victims are both women and men. Most of my clients say they felt mortified by the MST and some say they also stayed silent because they were told by the perpetrators that they’d be attacked again or killed if they said anything. A lot of MST victims often try to forget what happened and don’t tell anyone for many years after their military discharge. One of my clients said he felt too scared…
Many veterans are confused and nervous about the all too often dreaded “C&P exam.”  This is the Compensation and Pension exam the VA often schedules after a veteran applies for disability benefits.  There are several reasons the VA might schedule a C&P exam.  One reason might be so that the VA can confirm the veteran really does have the condition she claimed on the benefits application.  Another reason is to help the VA decide if the condition really did result from service.  Sometimes the VA agrees the veteran has the claimed condition and that it’s from service, but they need…
Thank you for visiting my website!  The Veterans Practice, Ltd. was founded by me, Catherine Cornell.  When I saw that there was no other law firm in the Chicagoland area focused exclusively on veterans benefits, specifically VA compensation and survivors benefits, I decided to establish one. I have been concerned about the welfare of veterans since I did a college internship at CNN in Washington, DC.  That summer I worked on a piece about homeless veterans in our nation’s capitol.  It was eye opening and shocking to realize that so many veterans were living in poverty, without even a roof…
This piece, outlining tips for how to get VA benefits, originally appeared in U.S. Veterans Magazine. Let’s take things back to basics: what makes a good VA disability compensation claim? VA disability is like worker’s compensation for veterans. When hurt on active duty, veterans can get VA compensation, just as a civilian worker could get worker’s compensation if hurt on the job. This sounds simple, but the process can be trickier than you might think. If not handled correctly from the outset, a compensation claim could be denied, possibly leaving the veteran mired in the appeals process for years.…