If you are a veteran who develops Parkinson’s disease, you might find yourself curious as to how Parkinson’s disease can affect VA disability benefits. Generally speaking, VA benefits are a form of tax-free, monthly compensation that the VA pays to veterans who suffer from disabilities related to their military service. To determine how much compensation an individual veteran gets, the VA gives them a disability rating. Additional disabilities, like Parkinson’s disease, can affect your disability rating. Parkinson’s disease is one of the many disabilities recognized by the VA. Regardless of whether you are already receiving VA disability benefits, as a veteran developing Parkinson’s, it helps to have some general knowledge about how Parkinson’s disease can affect those benefits. Many veterans depend on disability benefits. For those veterans, it is absolutely crucial to understand what changes they can expect from the VA regarding Parkinson’s disease. You may have questions like, Is Parkinson’s disease a 100% compensation disability? Or, What factors can impact my Parkinson’s disease disability rating? If you have these kinds of questions about VA disability benefits and their interaction with Parkinson’s disease, don’t hesitate to give us a call at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys. Our VA disability benefits team is always happy to answer your questions and set you in the right direction. Some General Notes On Parkinson’s Disease Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder. That means that it adversely affects your brain. Specifically, Parkinson’s disease impairs your brain’s ability to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine affects everything from movement and balance to concentration and mood. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease at this time. Thus, it makes sense that Parkinson’s disease qualifies as a disability in the eyes of the federal government. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) all consider Parkinson’s disease a covered disability under their respective programs. Parkinson’s Disease: Symptoms and Treatment There are quite a few different symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Experienced alone, you might brush off some of the symptoms as minor inconveniences. When the effects start to combine, however, they can significantly impede your ability to live a normal life. As the symptoms combine, the disease moves into different stages, causing increasing impairment. Some of Parkinson’s disease’s early symptoms include minor things like: Fatigue, Depression, Slurred speech, Changes in handwriting style, and Shakiness. These are all early signs of Parkinson’s disease. The symptoms worsen over time, leaving many affected individuals unable to walk at a certain point. As you can see, these early signs are hard to spot unless they combine with one another. If you feel like you might have Parkinson’s, it is critically important to seek a medical evaluation. After all, the VA will not approve your disability benefits application without an adequate medical diagnosis. As noted, Parkinson’s disease is not a curable disorder. Still, there are ways to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s and minimize its impact on your life. Doctors often take a holistic approach to treating Parkinson’s disease symptoms. Treatment may include physical therapy, surgery, and prescription medications. More often than not, doctors use several different treatments to mitigate the impact of specific effects. What Is the VA Disability Rating for Parkinson’s Disease? Because Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative order, there are several stages that an affected individual can find themselves in. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the VA does not place a specific, set rating on Parkinson’s disease as a whole. Instead, the VA considers several different factors relevant to each claim to determine your disability benefits rating. What Impacts Parkinson’s Disease VA Disability Benefits? There are several factors that can impact your disability benefits rate. Since there are too many potentially relevant factors, we will discuss some of the more common ones. First, however, we need to look at the general requirements for VA disability benefits eligibility. If you don’t fulfill these requirements, the VA will deny your claim in all likelihood. To meet eligibility requirements for VA disability benefits, you must establish the following: You must have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty for training; and Generally, you must have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. (But note that veterans receiving undesirable, bad conduct, and other types of dishonorable discharges may qualify depending on a determination made by VA). Next, you need to show that your condition was related to your military service. You must submit the following: A current diagnosis of your condition by a certified medical professional; Documentation that you suffered an injury, an illness, or other debilitating event while in service; and Documentation demonstrating an identifiable link between the diagnosed condition and your military service. Essentially, you have to prove that you served in the military, suffered from some illness or event, and subsequently developed a disability because of your military service. Factors Outside of General Requirements Outside of the general requirements to qualify for VA disability benefits in the first place, there are several factors the VA looks at. These factors, taken as a whole, dictate the compensation rating you will receive. The benefits are distributed using a rate between 0% and 100% at 10% increments. The VA uses a complex formula to make their determination. You can find the relevant factors published on their website. Still, here are some of the more notable factors that can increase your disability rating if applicable: If you are suffering from more than one disability at the same time; If your Parkinson’s disease worsens; The way and degree to which Parkinson’s is impeding your life and ability to work; Your age (the older you are, the higher the rate); Changes in Social Security benefits to counter inflation (the VA matches Social Security benefit increases); If you have children, a spouse, and other dependents; If your spouse or dependents have a disability; and If you lose a limb or the ability to use a bodily function (like walking)....Keep Reading
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As a veteran with a disability, it is not uncommon for you and your family to depend financially on those payments. Raising a family is hard enough when you have a dependable, stable source of income. Even if your partner works a steady job, those disability benefits are often crucial. As the cost of living continues to rise, it gets harder and harder to make ends meet. Because adequate financial planning requires a dependable source of income, you might wonder at times, Can VA disability be taken away? The answer, unfortunately, is yes. The VA often continues with disability payments for the duration of a veteran’s life. However, the VA and the federal government do reserve the right to alter the duration or amount of this financial resource. In What Circumstances Can the VA Take Away My Disability Benefits? To understand when and why the VA takes away disability benefits, we have to know what factors they look at to make such a decision. Some disability rates are locked in and considered protected benefit rates. We will discuss those below, but first, we need to look at unprotected benefit rates. Unprotected benefit rates are a specific class of disability ratings that the VA can alter. After a reexamination of your disability, the VA can lower or remove your rating entirely. To legally make that reduction, the VA’s reexamination of your disability must show the following: Your disability has shown real, marked improvement (not a temporary change); The improvement in question increases your ability to fulfill your functions in the workplace and at home; The report submitted after the reexamination must leave no questions unanswered and be as thorough as possible; and As part of the thorough review, the VA must consider the entirety of your disability’s medical history. If those four factors are met, the VA can reduce your disability compensation. Please keep in mind that in addition to a reduction based on reexamination, the VA reserves the right to temporarily suspend or reduce your benefit rates if you are subject to incarceration. Can the VA Take Away My Compensation? Whether or not the VA can or will try to take away your disability compensation depends entirely on the facts and circumstances of your specific injury. Since the VA looks at so many different factors, it is hard to generically predict whether your VA disability benefits are at risk. Unless, of course, you have received notification from the VA indicating that your disability benefits are under challenge. However, just like there are factors that increase the likelihood that the VA will take away your compensation, there are factors that indicate the opposite. Instead, these are factors that protect your benefits and the rate at which you receive them. In most instances, these factors can stop the VA from suspending your benefits entirely. 100% Disability Rating Five Years or More with the Same Disability Rating There are two time constraints that will help protect your VA disability benefits. The first is five years, and the second is 20 years. If your disability rating is effective for five years or more—without change—it is protected. Unless your condition has continuously improved over the preceding five years, your disability rating is entirely protected. The VA must affirmatively establish that your disability continuously improved to change your rating. A temporary improvement is not enough to suspend or alter your benefits rating. 20 Years or More with the Same Disability Rating The second time constraint that will protect your VA disability rating is 20 years. If your disability rate has remained unmoved for 20 years or more, your rate is nearly untouchable. There is only one way the VA can reduce or take away your disability rating after 20 years or more. To do so, they must prove that the rating was based on fraud in some form or another. This requires a high evidentiary standard. Thus, if you are in this situation and have never committed fraud, you have little to worry about. The Best Way to Defend Your VA Disability Benefits Is with Experience on Your Side Even if it seems like the VA has a legitimate claim to reduce your disability benefits, you should always stand up for yourself and fight for your rights. If your finances depend on these benefits, there’s too much at stake to not stand up for your rights. After all, the VA’s decision can make the difference between making your mortgage payment on time this month or not. If you are ready to fight for your rights, the VA disability benefits team at Gerling Law Injury Attorneys is on standby to help you through the process from start to finish. Our team serves clients nationwide, so wherever you are, we can help. To top things off, our VA disability benefits team focuses specifically on VA disability benefits, so we have the requisite experience to give you the legal help you deserve. Veterans, you fought for our rights, so let us fight for yours. Give us a call today, tell us your story, and let’s see what we can do! Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®Keep Reading
At Gerling Law Injury Attorneys, we never recommend that our clients go into a Louisville car accident claim without first having a copy of their Louisville accident report. Even during our initial consultation with a client, it is difficult to accurately assess a car accident claim without the proper police report In that vein, if you need to file a Louisville car accident claim, we highly recommend that you bring a copy of your accident report with you. That way, we can accurately assess your case and determine how we can help you. What’s on a Louisville Car Accident Report? Similar to most other jurisdictions in the U.S., a Louisville accident report will contain a lot of important information about the car crash. Some of the more important pieces of information on Louisville accident reports include things like: The date, time, and location of the crash; A written description of what happened before, during, and after the crash; Various factors that could have contributed to the crash (road conditions, weather, etc.); Contact information for all involved parties; Insurance information for all involved parties; The name and badge number of the reporting officer; Injuries sustained in the accident; and Damage to vehicles and other property (including public property). At the end of the day, the report is the official record of the accident. As such, it carries a lot of weight and is a critical component of recovering damages. Who Do I Obtain My Louisville, KY Accident Report From? Who you obtain your accident report from depends on who responded to your accident. If your accident happened within Louisville city limits, the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) will respond to your accident. If that’s the case, you will need to obtain your accident report through them. Alternatively, if your accident happened, for example, on an interstate highway near Louisville, the Kentucky Highway Patrol (KHP) will respond and have your accident report on file. Generally, there are three ways to obtain Louisville police reports for car accidents: Online, Over the phone, or In person. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, LMPD asks that people refrain from making requests in person. Requesting Your Accident Report in Louisville, KY Online First, you can obtain your Louisville accident report online using LMPD’s web portal. For a successful request, you will need to provide certain information on your request form: Your report number, The date of the report, and The driver or vehicle owner’s last name. We always recommend asking the responding officer to write down or provide your report number as soon as possible. If you don’t have your report number handy, you can email LMPD. They will look up and provide your report number at your request. LMPD can send your report through email or USPS. Each report has a $10 fee. You can pay the fee electronically using most major American debit and credit cards. If you have trouble with the application at any time, you can always call LMPD for help at 502-574-6857. Requesting Your Car Accident Police Report in Louisville, KY Over the Phone Typically, you would also have the option of obtaining your Louisville accident report in person. However, as noted, LMPD prefers you make your request over the phone or online for the time being. Doing so requires you to submit the same information regarding your accident as you would online. You can make your request over the phone by calling 502-574-6857 between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Reports requested over the phone also cost $10 each. Like online requests, after a phone request, the department can send your LMPD accident report via email or USPS. Ready to Get Started? If you are ready to start the claim process for your Louisville car accident and want a car accident attorney with experience, look no further than Gerling Law Injury Attorneys. We split our attorneys into specific teams so we know that they have the experience necessary to advocate for you while avoiding any unpleasant surprises. With us, you can go into the claim process with confidence, not trepidation. We set ourselves apart from other firms with the results we get for our clients. Just look at what some of our previous clients have to say about us. If you’re ready to take control of your claim, Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ® Call us today and tell us your story!Keep Reading