Military and Veterans

MILITARY AND VETERANS

    • Do you have questions about military and veterans’ benefits?
    • Are you considering joining the military?
    • Have you getting ready to be discharged and wonder if you may qualify for VA disability compensation benefits?
    • Have you been denied access to your VA benefits?
    • Are you aware that other benefits are often available through states and other federal programs for veterans?

 

The majority of people who sign-up for the military do so because they believe they believe that they are doing something good. They are also told by a recruiter who is a fast and smooth talker that they are “perfect” for the job or perhaps the recruiter is more laid back about it and acts like he has plenty of people who want it, so if that person doesn’t take it, someone else will step-up. Some people have a positive experience in the military, while others don’t, and it can be a hard thing to admit to themselves and to others that they were deceived because it didn’t start or end well even if they have an honorable discharge. More veterans feel that way today, than perhaps any other time in our history. Vietnam war era veterans were, perhaps, a precursor to the culture of what many in our military and our veterans experience and feel today.  

MORE THAN NINETEEN MILLION VETERANS ARE LIVING AND MORE THAN FIVE MILLION HAVE A SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY

As of December 31, 2021, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, updated their “Statistics at a Glance”, which indicated that the projected population of veterans was 19,162,515 as of September 30, 2021 and that 5.27 Million Veterans were receiving VA Disability Compensation as of the Fiscal Year 2021, which does not account for the number of veteran applications that are still pending, waiting on appeal, or the number of veterans who now qualify based on the VA’s new rules for presumptive eligibility, particularly for Gulf War Era veterans, for some conditions, which were previously denied. It is not uncommon to be denied access to VA Disability Compensation benefits on the first time for a number of reasons, which is why it is important that you speak with someone who is experienced in this area.  

CONSULTATION FOR MILITARY AND VETERANS’ RIGHTS AND BENEFITS

When I work with military and veterans’ rights and benefits, my approach is to help them learn how to advocate for their rights and benefits, which can vary based upon what their situation is and their ability to participate in the process because of one or more factors. It is always my goal to help the veteran be as active and independent in the process as possible, so I emphasize providing education and resources in a way that is accessible for the veteran and whoever may be helping them to advocate for their rights and benefits. Some of the areas that I may be able to assist in helping military and veterans include providing education about veterans’ benefits, applying for veterans’ benefits including dependents’ and survivor’s benefits, and well as issues related to discrimination, how to get help or advocate for military and veterans’ rights in-service and after discharge such as within the military and the VA and more. Sometimes, the service-member or veteran has a different need such as psychotherapy, alcohol or substance use counseling, or even an expert witness or consultant, in which case, I advise that you learn more about my other services.

ALTHOUGH YOU MAY SEE THE BENEFITS OF CONSULTATION FOR MILITARY AND VETERANS, YOU MAY STILL HAVE SOME QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS ABOUT THE PROCESS…

You’re not a lawyer. What gives you credibility in this area?

It’s true that I’m not a lawyer and I do not offer legal advice when I provide consultation on military and veterans rights and benefits, but I am a non-combatant service-connected disabled veteran with more than twenty years of experience who has been advocating for the rights and benefits of military and veterans since before I honorably discharged in March 2001. Since then, I have worked with lawmakers, served on a veteran-friendly task force, written policies and legislation, served as the veteran’s liaison for two different employers, and specialized in assisting military and veterans in a number of different issues related to their rights and benefits while on active duty and after their discharge, which has included acting as an expert and consultant for attorneys as well. My credentials and professional experience are what gives me the qualifications and credibility, but my personal life experience in the military and as a service-connected disabled veteran are what gives me the ability to understand what really goes on in the military and within the VA’s system so that I can help protect you and hold others accountable if needed. In the event that you already have an attorney because of a civil or criminal matter related to the military, veterans’ benefits, or as part of another matter at the state or federal level, which I may have experience, please read about my services as a forensic expert and consultant prior to contacting me. I cannot serve in the capacity of an expert for you, if I have also provided you other services such as psychotherapy, case management, or alcohol and substance abuse counseling as a few examples.   

I don’t want to take the COVID-19 vaccine because of religious reasons or as a matter of “conscience”, and they are threatening to discharge me from the military without having access to my benefits. How can you help me?

It’s unfortunate that you are receiving that kind of response from your superiors in the military, and I can certainly understand not wanting to take something that is experimental or that you believe violates your faith. The reality is that most people who are trying to use the religious exemption, however, are failing to provide a good rationale because they have already been injected with vaccines prior to their entry into the military that have been made with aborted fetal tissue either in the research and development stage or actually present within the vaccine and they made no objections. Moral development does change over time, and you may not have known about it, but even conscientious objectors are not given access to their benefits when they are discharged from service, even if they change their MOS as an accommodation to satisfy their conscience and also serve out their term. Is that a violation of their rights? Another reason why people are objecting to the vaccine is because it is experimental with the mRNA and there are too many unknowns. Without getting into the politics about the COVID-19 vaccine or pointing out all of the discrepancies of the information that we’ve been given about the virus and the vaccine, the point is simple. When you sign-up to join the military…they own you. There are lawyers who are trying to fight for your rights now and that is good. But it may have to go before the Supreme Court to determine if you even have any rights and if any rights can be restored retroactively. But usually, it takes the masses and some sort of legal or Congressional intervention to restore your rights once they have been violated. My role would simply be to guide you in navigating your current status and if it changes, advising you about what steps you may be able to take next as things may change. Ultimately, you must decide what is most important to you though. I can only help you see it.  

My son or daughter is getting ready to exit the military. What do you recommend for him or her to help them qualify for VA disability?

The VA’s disability claims process can be a daunting task for anyone to go through and the medical retirement system is even worse when they determine the ratings. If your son or daughter is not yet out of the military, it may benefit your son or daughter for them to talk to me or a good advocate through one of the non-profits before they leave the military because military medical records can help or hurt the VA disability claims process. While it’s not a complete lost cause if we have not spoken beforehand, the claim should be filed as soon as possible after exiting the military and with the help of someone who is familiar with filing VA claims. It is critical that along with getting a copy of their military medical records, that they also get copies of any outside medical records, and duplicate copies of any images on discs (e.g., MRI, CT, etc.) or videos (VEEG) USB flash drives for their personal records because the hospitals are only required to keep records for seven years and the military doesn’t provide these automatically. These may be needed later. A minimum one-hour initial consultation is recommended for situations like these. 

Note: This is not an advertisement to provide legal services or legal advice. If you need such services, contact an attorney who is licensed in your state. Always remember to check each State Bar that the attorney advertises as being licensed in to be sure that their license is in good standing.

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