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    • Question A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?
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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

Choosing a VA Disability Attorney Means Learning What Questions to Ask

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Choosing a VA Disability Attorney Means Learning What Questions to Ask. Chris Attig - Veterans Law Blog 

How to Hire an Attorney For Your VA Claim or Appeal Free Guidebook available on the Veterans Law Blog

I got an email the other day from a Veteran.  It had 2 or 3 sentences about his claim, and then closed at the end: “Please call me. So-and-so told me you were the best and I want your help.”

While I appreciate the compliments, I shudder a little at emails like this.  For 2 reasons.

First, I get a lot of emails like this.  And while I diligently represent my clients – I often tell them we will pursue their claim until we have no more appeals or until we win – I am most assuredly not the best.

There are a LOT of damn good VA Disability attorneys out there.  (Most, if not all, of the best are members of the National Organization of Veterans Advocatesread about one of them, here)

Second, I don’t want Veterans to choose their attorney based on who their friend thought was the best.  I want Veterans to choose the VA Disability attorney who is BEST for their case.

In some situations, that may be the Attig Law Firm.

But it may also be be Hill and Ponton, or Chisholm-Kilpatrick, or Bergman Moore.  Or any one of the dozens of other attorneys who have made the representation of Veterans their professional life’s work.

There are hundreds of attorneys that are out there representing Veterans, and I’m here to tell you that who is best for your friend’s case may not be the best for your case.

How do you Find the Best VA Disability Attorney for your Claim?

First, you have to answer the question: do you NEED an attorney?

Some of you don’t.  Some of you have the ability to improve your claim on your own, and fix the problems that are in your claim without need of a professional to help.

Some of you are the “do-it-yourself” type, and hiring an attorney will require you to cede control over your claim.

If that sounds like you, here are 7 ways that you can dive in and learn more about VA Claims than most other Veterans:

#1: Use the resources that appear on this blog – there are over 600 posts of FREE information for those of you that are the “do-it-yourself” type.  Get a copy of your C-File, and see if you can figure out if the 5 most commons reasons that the VA is screwing up a VA claim applies in your situation.

#2: Subscribe to my free email guides. The Veterans Law Blog offers a free email where I will walk you through the 8 Steps to Improving your VA Disability Claim or Appeal – click here to sign up.

#3: Need help learning the VA Claims process? Take a look at the books and Videos that I have written to reveal the secrets of navigating the VA Claims Process.

#4: Need help proving your claim, or finding 5 Star Evidence to give your VA Claim wings?  I’ve written some other books to help Veterans that need this kind of assistance.

#5: Have a Sleep Apnea claim?  I’m the only attorney to publish a comprehensive 165 page guide to improving your VA Sleep Apnea claim.  Learn how Veterans are using this book – every day – to get their VA Sleep Apnea claim granted without needing to hire an attorney.

Once You Decide you Need a VA Disability Attorney, Here is How to Find the Best For YOUR Claim.

The more C-Files I review for possible representation, the more I realize how important it is to choose the correct representative for your VA Claim.

I see it all the time – a Veteran gets in over their head in their VA Benefits claim, and then starts scrambling to find an attorney.

Often, they make a choice that may not be ideal for their claim.

Do you know the 8 things I think are important to consider before hiring a VA Disability Attorney, like:

* What professional credentials to consider.

* Why an attorney’s success rate is the LEAST important question a Veteran should ask.

* How an attorney’s case volume and experience may affect you.

* How to determine whether the attorney and firm is a good fit for you.

* What a law firm’s  Internet presence might say about the Firm

I have written a FREE guidebook that will answer all of the above questions, and will teach you how to select the VA Disability Attorney that is best for your claim.

It also includes 4 Tips on selecting a VA Disability Attorney and a 30-question checklist with some question ideas when you are interviewing attorneys.

This isn’t going to be an eBook you save, read once, and forget about.

This is something that you can come back to again and again as you try to choose the best VA Disability Attorney for your claim.

Let me leave you with this thought about choosing a VA Disability Attorney.

Veterans get out of the VA Claims process what they put into it.

If you throw a few forms at the VA, and hope that you will get favorable results, you will probably get denied.

If you throw “everything and the kitchen sink” at the VA, you will overwhelm and confuse a bureaucracy that is not set up to study and analyze claims to find the right and best way to help Veterans.

Same things go for an attorney.

If you pick the first one that comes along – or the one that your buddy liked –  you stand a good chance of choosing an attorney that is not right for you.

Take your time, research several attorneys; use my free guidebook to help you make a smart decision about what advocate is best for your claim.

If you do, I am confident that you will have a better experience with an attorney, and who knows, you might just find that they change the way you experience the VA Claims Process.

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I will add this:  Many Veterans "automatically assume" they will have to pay for an attorney.  This isnt always true.  EAJA can/does pay the Veterans attorney fees in many cases.  Do you want to be "one of" the instances when EAJA pays the fees for you?  

A huge difference in whether or not your fees will be paid for you by EAJA is WHEN you hire an attorney.  

There are right times and wrong times to do so.  

The right time is almost always "just after" a BVA denial.  No, not 4 months later, but a few days later.  The reason is appeals to the CAVC have to be done in 60 days, and that wont be happening until an attorney reads your BVA denial and decides if you have a legitimate bases for appeals.    The good news is that, if you do have a bVA denial, there is a great chance that an attorney will represent you for the EAJA fees, at no cost to you.  

There are other right times to hire an attorney, but there are also wrong times.  The worst time to hire an attorney is probably "never".  

I am personally represented by Chris Attig, and, as I suggest to you, I hired him RIGHT AFTER a BVA denial.  I sent Chris my BVA decision, and explained why I thought it was wrong.  He agreed, and we are at the CAVC and I will let you know how that comes out.  However, I thought he "nailed it" in the brief I saw him prepare for the Court.  

I was suprised when the VA "decided to defend" instead of the obvious that VA should have agreed to a JMR (joint motion to remand).  It means that VA attorney's will try to weasel out of paying, even tho I now know VA is "in the wrong".    VA so much as admitted, "we will probably lose this", but they continued anyway, so maybe they can get precedence in which to deny other Veterans whose case is somewhat similar, but different enough that the VA can deny other VEterans.  

Chris and I are appealing the effective date for my TDIU award.  If you did not know this, there is no longer "any such thing as a stand alone TDIU claim", because of court cases.  Instead, TDIU is part of a "claim for increase".  This is established law, yet, sure enough the BVA denied me a "stand alone" TDIU claim, instead of doing it right and considering it part of a claim for increase on (other) disabilities.  


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