Q1: Why do many attorneys refrain from taking on VA disability cases?
A1: There are several reasons why an attorney may not accept a VA disability case. The primary reason being, it’s a very niche legal field and many attorneys do not have the legal knowledge or experience to competently handle a VA disability claim. There are only a handful of attorneys in Chicagoland who handle these cases on a regular basis.
Further, before 2007, the VA had strict limitations on when a Veteran could hire an attorney to represent them on a VA benefit claim. Even now, an attorney cannot be hired to handle a VA disability claim until a Notice of Disagreement is filed. In other words, an attorney cannot be hired for the initial claims process. They can only be hired once you are ready to appeal an adverse decision from the VA.
Hiring an attorney is an important choice. You should choose an attorney who provides aggressive representation and understands the law. The VA system is comprised of over 2000 pages of rules and regulations. An experienced attorney knows how to use these rules and regulations to provide you the best chance of success in your case.
Q2: How does the VA rate fibromyalgia?
A2: Fibromyalgia is rated under diagnostic code 5025 (see below). A rheumatologist must evaluate and diagnose the condition for it to be rated under this code. Additionally, the pain must be present on both sides of the body and both above and below the waist to be rated under this code. The rating the Veteran will receive depends on the symptoms and the severity of the condition. If the pain is constant and is resistant to treatment, then it is rated 40%. If the pain is not constant, but recurring and present 1/3 of the time, then it is rated 20%. As long as the pain requires continuous medication to control it, it at least receives 10%.
Edward M. Farmer is a U.S. Army veteran and attorney. A majority of his career has been dedicated to assisting veterans. More information regarding Edward and his law firm can be found at www.vetlawoffice.com or by calling 800-700-4174.
The material and information contained on these pages and on any pages linked from these pages are intended to provide general information only and not legal advice. You should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction before relying upon any of the information presented here.Follow Us