Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Veteran's Benefits / Veterans Often ‘Need an Attorney for This Journey’

Veterans Often ‘Need an Attorney for This Journey’

The men and women who fought for their country shouldn’t have to fight for what their country owes them.

The sad fact is, though, that all too often they do. The laws and regulations governing the benefits for veterans have become so byzantine that it’s a road few want to travel alone. As singer-songwriter Tom Waits once put it, “You’ll need an attorney for this journey.”

“As early as the Revolutionary War, the U.S. government has been committed to providing pension and disability benefits to those who have served in the armed services,” according to the National Association of Veterans’ Advocates Inc. “The concept of a veterans’ administration, or what is now know as the Department of Veterans Affairs, did not become a reality until after World War I. The statutory scheme created by Congress was intended to be non-adversarial, pro-claimant and veteran friendly.

“Unfortunately, the adjudication of veterans’ claims for benefits has evolved into a bureaucratic abyss-like process that is inconsistent with the mandates of Congress. Oftentimes, veterans now face an aggressive and adversarial appeals process. As a consequence, veterans are finding it necessary to enlist veterans’ law practitioners to represent them in their appeals for VA benefits.”

“Individuals whose legal needs cannot be met by a military legal assistance attorney or who are not eligible for a military legal assistance attorney should consider contacting a civilian attorney,” authors Janelle Hill, Cheryl Lawhorne and Don Philpott state in their 2012 book, “The Wounded Warrior Handbook: A Resource Guide for Returning Veterans” (Government Institutes, an imprint of The Scarecrow Press Inc.)

“You should seek the advice of an attorney to navigate the sometimes complicated procedures and systems that provide benefits for veterans,” suggests a publication of the Texas Young Lawyers Association and Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans. “An attorney can also assist with various legal issues, including disputes related to housing, such as eviction suits, as well as applications for benefits related to public health, family members, and education.”

While there used to be considerable roadblocks to using a private attorney when dealing with the VA, those have been loosened in recent years, making it not only easier but in many instances advisable to seek counsel outside of government circles.

“After June 20, 2007, disabled veterans are able to hire an attorney much earlier in the VA disability process,” states the National Veterans Organization website. “This new law will change the way veteran’s disability cases are handled and by whom. It is my belief that this is one of the most important disability laws passed in recent history.”

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn