U.S. law finally permits Veterans to have some legal representation in their fight for benefits before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  However, unlike other Americans who can have legal representation at any stage, Veterans are still prohibited from attorney representation until they file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with VA.  This puts Veterans at a distinct disadvantage early on.  The good news is, an attorney can help you even when the VA is badly mishandling your case.

Why you should hire an attorney 

  1. Attention to YOUR Case.  The average Veteran Service Organization (VSO) representative handles over 1,000 claims.  In contrast, an attorney only takes the number of Veterans claims for which the firm can provide competent and expert legal assistance at any given time.   
  2. Attention to Evidence and Details.  Attorneys do not rely on VA to develop the evidence to support the claim. Our law office uses medical professionals to ensure each and every claim meets the standard of proof required by the Board of Veterans Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The goal is to prove the claim at the earliest opportunity possible for the Veteran, while at the same time being fully prepared for any judicial proceedings.

Qualifying Elements for Disability Ratings & Claims

  1. To receive a service-connected disability rating, you must be a Veteran.
  2. As a Veteran, you must have suffered a disease, injury, event, or aggravated a pre-existing condition through your active-duty service. 
  3. The resulting disability must have a relationship to your current existing medical disability. This connects the service disability to your current disability.
  • Examples of service-connected disabilities or injuries are: 
    • Being shot;
    • Losing an eye due to an accident or war; or
    • Asthma being aggravated by work conditions.

Developing the Evidence

Medical records and expert medical testimony are the best ways to prove existence of your condition and its relationship to your active-duty service. Medical records are evidence. The first place to look to prove these conditions and disabilities are your service medical records or in some cases your service record.

Examples of service medical-record information:
  • Your service records show you received a Combat Infantry Badge.  This demonstrates you are a combat veteran. Coupling the evidence from your service record with your medical records is how a current disability may be linked to a service-incurred or aggravated disease, injury, or event in service proves a service-connected disability.
  • There are different forms of evidence that the Board and the Court will accept. The best evidence, in most instances, is a medical report or testimony from a medical professional/expert STATING that you received an injury or aggravation of a condition while serving in the service. The famous line that the disability "is more likely than not a result of the patient's service injury or condition" is often cited by Veterans. Having a medical professional state this claim, however, becomes evidence.
    • For example, a clean bullet wound may have left a scar entering and exiting. 
    • The scar and any resulting disability to the Veteran is the current medical condition.

VA knows an informed Veteran is better prepared.  That's why VA has traditionally opposed allowing Veterans to use attorney representatives.  VA denies Veterans the right to counsel until after VA has refused the Veteran's claim.

Using an attorney as early as you can in the VA appeal process offers a better opportunity to present a well-developed claim-file in support of your claims. The better your evidence, the better your chances of prevailing.

As a disabled Veteran myself, I personally know the sacrifices service members and their families endure and give up to protect our country and our allies. I enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1982, graduated from Officer Training School, Undergraduate Pilot training, and deployed all over the world.  In my military career, I've been stationed in Guam, Australia, Korea, and Japan, and served in the Middle East for Desert Storm 1, Desert Thunder, and Desert Fox. My mission now is to help you navigate and prove your claims to receive your VA Compensation and Benefits.

It was too long in coming, but Public Law 109-461, The Veterans Benefits and Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006, permits you to have an attorney when dealing with VA.  You are allowed to hire an attorney after you send in a Notice of Disagreement in response to receipt of a VA rating with which you disagree or VA's denial of your request for benefits.

As a retired Air Force Officer, Combat Pilot, and disabled Veteran, my goal is to help you receive the benefits that you have earned including:

  • VA claims after Regional Office denial
  • VA disability ratings
  • VA Benefits

Helping Veterans is this firm's passion. This passion comes from being hurt on active duty and becoming a disabled Veteran required to fight for benefits from the VA. We understand your issues having gone through the frustrations and years of claims, denials, and appeals to receive VA benefits. All members of this firm strive to help Veterans win their claims.

Additional Information

Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA) U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC)

Both BVA and CAVC appellate proceedings are legal proceedings governed by 38 U.S.C. on Veterans' Benefits and 38 C.F.R. on Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief.  The law and accompanying regulations direct actions of the Department of Veteran Affairs. Our firm helps you, the Veteran, present your legal arguments and documentation showing your entitlement to compensation, benefits, or pension, based on your valid claims.  We review your claim file and medical evidence, and prepare your claim for appeal to a VA Regional Office, the Board of Veterans Affairs, or the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Board of Corrections for Military Records (BCMR)

The Board for Correction of Military Records is governed by Title 10 of the U.S. Code. The key here is presenting relevant and material evidence to the Board. The Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C., will work to gather statements or evidence to prove there was administrative or legal error to your service record that harmed your career.

The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
The Department of Veteran Affairs grants entitlement benefits to Veterans for service-connected disabilities, survivor benefits, pensions for non-service connected disabilities, and other benefits such as education payments and waiver of indebtedness. 

  • Upon notification of the extent of benefits available to each individual Veteran, the Veterans has a right to appeal the decision if the Veteran believes the benefits to be less than that which is entitled. 
  • The appeals process is lengthy and daunting, requiring Veterans to abide by precise standards, or else the appeal is thrown out. 
  • Historically, Veterans were not allowed legal representation until the latter phases of the appeals process. 
  • Since June 20, 2007, disabled Veterans are now allowed to hire an attorney immediately after filing an appeal with the court. 

By the Numbers

  • 22 million = Number of living Veterans in the United States  
  • 37 million = Number of dependents of living Veterans and survivors of deceased Veterans. 
  • 20% = Percentage of the U.S. population represented by Veterans, their dependents, and survivors
  • 60% = Percentage of Veterans living in urban areas in the United States.
    • The highest concentration of Veterans divided between California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio, respectively (these six states account for 36% of the total veteran population). 
  • As of September 2014, 3.9 million Veterans received VA disability compensation and 304,500 Veterans received VA pensions.


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