If you tried to apply for disability benefits with the VA and got denied, then you are probably looking into hiring an attorney to represent you in an appeal. One of the biggest obstacles to hiring legal representation for most people is the cost. By law, an attorney can charge 20-33% to represent you in an appeal.
Paying a third of your benefits settlement to a lawyer is not a very enticing deal to many people, but two-thirds is certainly better than nothing. On the plus side, if you don’t win your appeal and you hired a reputable lawyer, you shouldn’t have to pay anything.
Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD are experts in VA law who have represented many veterans in a variety of claims. They offer services based on the individual’s circumstances, and they work on a contingency basis. You will find that many other attorneys who represent veterans’ needs also offer this payment arrangement, which means a veteran won’t have to pay until they win their case.
The peace of mind that comes with paying only if you win is huge. If you are unable to beat the VA on your own, then hiring an attorney is a win-win. Just make sure that the attorney you hire is experienced in this area of the law. Hiring a lawyer who is VA accredited is your best move, as it ensures that they know their way around VA law and that they aren’t going to risk their accreditation and livelihood by trying to rip you off.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer?
You can attempt to take on the VA to receive your disability benefits on your own, but be aware that it is a difficult journey. Initial applications for disability benefits get denied 75% of the time, which means that you are likely going to have to file an appeal to get your benefits. While there is a cost to hiring an attorney, you have to weigh that cost against the value of your own time.
If you hope to win your appeal, you are going to have to spend a lot of time learning about how the appeals process works and preparing your case. Then if your appeal gets denied, you are left with a choice. Either you continue fighting for yourself, which can lead to denial after denial of your benefits, or you can turn to a lawyer, having wasted all that time for nothing. Meanwhile, you’ll have been trying to get by during all of this wasted time, without any financial support from the disability benefits you are owed.
Waiting to hire an attorney can also end up costing you more in the long run. The money that your attorney collects as a fee will generally be in relation to back pay of your disability benefits, not your pay going forward.
If your attorney wins your case and you are awarded retroactive benefits for ten years, your attorney will receive 20-33% of the money for that period. If, on the other hand, you hired an attorney much earlier and they won your case and you were awarded retroactive benefits for two years, your attorney would have received 20-33% of the money for that period, but you would not have continued to pay for the benefits you received over the next eight years.
How to Choose the Right Lawyer
Choosing a lawyer to represent you in the appeals process can be intimidating. You want to make sure you find someone with whom you feel comfortable. Here are some things to know when hiring a VA attorney:
- VA attorneys work at the federal level, so you probably won’t find a local representative
- You may never meet face to face
- Your best bet is to go with a VA accredited lawyer
- You should talk to multiple attorney’s before deciding on one
- Communication is key – choose an attorney who is quick to respond
- Compare rates
It’s important to be represented by someone you trust. If you talk to multiple attorneys who meet your criteria, they should all be able to find someone capable of handling your appeal. When you’re choosing a lawyer, do your research and go with your gut, and chances are you’ll be in good hands.