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Vets may be entitled to retroactive disability benefits

NAELA National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. MEMBER

New Jersey residents might want to know that, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans with disabilities connected to service may be entitled to receive retroactive disability benefits of up to one year if they file a Fully Developed Claim. The benefits became effective on Aug. 6, and will continue until Aug. 5, 2015. They're a result of a comprehensive veteran's benefits package that President Obama signed into law in 2012.

Filing an FDC expedites the process by which veterans can receive decisions on their claims. The evidence needed to file an FDC is often information that the VA must legally attempt to gather on the veteran's behalf or is data that the veteran can easily find, such as records pertaining to private treatment. Veterans are required to supply all of the information that they have in their possession if it's related to their claims.

The VA advises veterans to work with veteran's service organizations in order to participate in filing FDCs. Only those veterans who are filing for their first FDC will benefit from the retroactive compensation. In addition, because the VA will immediately receive the evidence that it needs to fill the claims, there will be less of a backlog as far as pending claims are concerned.

Many veterans are unaware that they may be entitled to benefits other than Medicaid or Service Connected Disabilities; therefore, they may not attempt to search for other options. An attorney might be able to help disabled veterans obtain other benefits, such as the Veterans' Aid and Attendance benefit for those over the age of 65, especially if their long-term medical costs exceed their incomes.

Source: Guampdn, "Vets could get retroactive benefits", August 21, 2013

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