If you get a negative Rating Decision from the VA, you have two choices: give up or appeal. The VA makes mistakes - a lot of them. It is for this reason that you should not give up before talking to a VA-accredited Veterans Attorney. Contrary to popular belief, the VA doesn't automatically say "no" to every claim - they're usually just missing some of the information required to say "yes." If the information is there, we will help you find it.
To get the VA to rule in your favor, at any level, your argument requires four things - think of them as wheels on a car. If any of the wheels are missing, or even damaged, the argument won't roll, and the VA won't buy it. You need:
1. The right kind of discharge;
2. A current diagnosed disability;
3. Proof that you were injured in service; AND
4. Proof that #3 caused #2.
I have dedicated my professional life to helping Veterans in their fights with their VA appeals. Working as a Veteran's Attorney is both an honor and a privilege that I will never take for granted. I'm a Veteran of the US Navy like my father before me. My father-in-law and an uncle are both Marine Corps Veterans, another uncle served Proudly in the Air Force, and my nephew and cousin are also Navy Veterans. Strong military blood runs through my veins, and do what I can for as many Veterans as possible.
Navigating the Department of Veterans Affairs claim and appeal process was complicated and frustrating as I struggled unsuccessfully for over 9 years with the system. When Daniel Shawl became involved he clearly understood Veteran law and what steps needed to be taken. It was 18 months from the time I met Dan to when my claim was granted. Dan collected and submitted critical information for my case, accompanied me to a hearing in Detroit, and represented me with the utmost respect and wisdom before a judge with convincing opening and closing statements. My claim was granted and has changed my life. If it had not been for Dan, I would have given up.
Dan is not just a veterans law attorney; he is one of us. He could doubtless make more in another legal specialty but chose to help his fellow Vets, and that shines through in all of my dealings with him. Dan teaches and explains at every step of the appeals process, so that I am never in the dark about The who, what,when, where or why of the next step along the way. He is friendly and respectful to my wife and acts as if the claim is a family matter, which it is. Communications are responded to quickly and in detail. Dan Shawl gets this Army/Guard retiree’s highest recommendation.
The VA is a complex organization all together with lengthy processes, deadlines and justification. I was frustrated from the initial claim application and would have probably given up after the first rating the VA gave me if I didn’t find Mr. Shawl on the web. Representation from him has not only helped with the stress but entitled benefits were obtained. Mr. Shawl knows the system, how it is supposed to run and how it actually does run. I sat down with him just a few times. Only minor communication was needed between him and me after our first few meetings. Once he had the information he needed, the process started and other than waiting on the VA, it was a smooth process.
Some things to keep in mind…
Seeing the judge is not a big deal. It sounds intimidating but is not that bad.
Search for all of your records even if you think they are minor.
Keep original copies in a safe place and a set for you to review on occasion.
The VA is pretty decent…..it is just going thru the process set in place.
The process takes time so be patient.