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List of the Most Frequently Asked Questions:

What does service connection mean?

Service connection means that a chronic disability arose coincidental with military service. It is important to establish that your injury or illness is service-connected if you want disability compensation from the VA.

How long does it take for the VA to make a decision on my case?

On average, it takes six to seven months to get an initial decision on an original or reopened claim. If you receive what you believe to be a fully favorable decision, check the effective date of the award and the percentage of disability assigned. If you disagree with the decision, or if you are denied, you should appeal for more benefits. Without quality representation it could take as long as three to five years to get the benefits you deserve.

If my case is approved, when will I start receiving benefits?

Generally, the effective date for receiving benefits is aligned with either the date of the claim or the date that medical diagnosis confirmed entitlement, whichever is later. There are some exceptions to the general rule. If an original claim is submitted within a year of military separation or within a year from a change in law (i.e. a disease is recognized as service-connected) the benefits may be awarded as early as the date of the claim following separation or the date of the change in law. Also, what constitutes a “claim” is sometimes debatable. A qualified veterans’ disability advocate can review your unique circumstances to help you determine whether the effective date awarded is consistent with governing law.

Can I work while receiving disability compensation?

Yes, you can work and also receive compensation benefits for your service-connected disability. In fact, the VA provides vocational rehabilitation training to help veterans get back into the workforce.

How much compensation will I get if I am unable to work?

If you are unable to work because of your service-connected disability you will be found totally disabled. The VA rates disabilities from 0 to 100 percent and even higher for severely service-connected disabled veterans. The rate for a veteran with no dependents found to be entitled to the 100 percent rate is $2,673 per month.

If my disability gets worse, can I get more compensation?

Yes. You will have to resubmit an application for more benefits and be able to explain how your disability has worsened. Alpha Advocates has the expertise and experience to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Why should I get a representative such as Alpha to help me apply for disability compensation?

It can take months and, in many cases, years, to win the level of disability compensation you deserve. Very often it takes this long because of poor case development. Alpha Advocates have had specialized training in veterans disability advocacy. We are accredited through the VA Office of General Counsel. We are, for the most part, disabled veterans. We understand the process.  We know how to win a case sooner, and we know how to get the highest level of compensation possible for our fellow veterans.

What is the cost for representation services?

There is no cost to you for our services unless we win your case or have increased your benefits through the appeal process. We receive a one-time-only fee, which is 20 percent of the retroactive payment the VA owes you in benefits. The Advocate’s fee is subject to review by the VA’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC). The VA/OGC generally considers a fee of 20% of the retroactive award as a reasonable payment and we agree. Subject to the review of the OGC, and only if we win an appeal, your Alpha Advocate will be paid a one time fee of 20% of your retroactive award.

Note: All representation coordinated by Alpha is provided by our employees, the Advocates, who are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). No private organization that trains and employs accredited agents has been legally recognized by the VA for the purposes of preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims. This work must be done by the Advocates themselves and not organizations.