Disability Review Board Sending Invite Letters to Vets to Upgrade Their Benefits
Many veterans who have been slow to ask a review board to reconsider their disability rating will get a nudge this year when the Department of Defense’s Physical Disability Review Board sends out letters inviting combat veterans to apply to have their ratings re-examined.
“So many veterans were originally given a disability percentage that is simply too low,” said veterans disability lawyer Jim Fausone of Legal Help for Veterans. “I hope that the mailings planned by the PDRB reach many of the veterans who have been under-served by the disability benefits system.”
Since it began operation in 2009, the PDRB has raised the rating on about 45 percent of the veterans whose cases it has seen. Unfortunately, only one in about every 35 qualified veterans have sought to have their disability percentage upgraded. These low numbers have sparked the DOD to actively invite veterans to have their cases reviewed so that veterans who need physical disability benefits can get them.
The application forms and letters explaining the PDRB will go out in four batches this year with between 13,000 and 20,000 mailers per batch. Veterans who were medically separated between 2001 and 2003 can expect their mailers first. By October, veterans medically separated as recently as 2008 and 2009 will get the last of the packages.
“Veterans who were misdiagnosed when their service branch first checked them out have been underserved by the veteran’s disability programs and are likely suffering because of that today,” Fausone said. “It is critically important that every qualified veteran apply to be re-evaluated.”
There are about 77,000 veterans who were medically separated between Sept. 11, 2001 and Dec. 31, 2009 with a disability rating of less than 30 percent. All of those veterans are due a re-evaluation because Congress determined that the service branches were too stringent with the disability ratings when they first applied them.
Veterans who need help accessing programs through the VA can contact a qualified veterans disability attorney.
James G. Fausone is a Veterans disability lawyer and Veterans attorney with Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC. To learn more or to contact a Veterans disability attorney or Veterans attorney call 1.800.693.4800 or visit http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com.