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Military Disability Article by Chuck Pardue

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  •         "I am a Gulf War Vet that lived with my problems for many years. In 2013 i finally went to the VA for help and on advice from a very helpful VA employee I began filing claims. Everything i filed got flatly rejected. Frustrated i gave up and walked away. In 2016 i decided to try again but my appeal time had lapsed so I had to file new claims. on advice of another Veteran friend i sought out Chuck Pardue. I brought everything i had and was told they could not handle the appeal because my time to appeal had lapse but on the same day as the consult they sat down with me and helped me fill out the paperwork for a new claim ( same stuff) but refused to charge me for this advise and help. Their help resulted in a VA rating of 90 percent!!!!!!!!! That decision took about 9 months. There were a few items denied that i wanted to appeal so I went back to Pardue. This is when i was introduced to Dr. T.J. Seiter. Dr. Seiter went through my claims, health record and VA records then spent 16 hours with me talking and examining me. He found other things i had been living with for so long i considered them normal and helped me file new claims on those items and with my appeals. The new items took less than 60 days to get a rating decision on because of TJ's diligence and attention to detail on the claims. The end result is I am now rated at 100 percent with 2 special monthly compensations added on to it. I never could have achieved this with out the help of Chuck Pardue and Dr. Seiter. Both men are former Army and Navy officers and understand the issues veterans face both medically and in dealing with the VA. I cannot say enough about these two fine men and what their help has meant to my family."


  •         "Would highly recommend! Very knowledgable and helpful in guiding me in my pursuit. Took the time to explain my situation from the legal stand point. He gave me important information that I would need to file my claim when other attorneys I had spoke with did not. The best and most convenient part of our consultation is that I spoke with him the first time I called with no delays."


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Should You Appeal Informal PEB Recommendations?


"Don’t Worry, the VA Will Take Care of You."

Car Accident

        Often military active duty servicemen and women in the rush to be separated or retired from active duty are told: “Don’t worry, the VA will take care of you.” Sometimes service members are told that if they go to a Formal Board at a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) they will lose or have their military disability reduced. Except for service members who exaggerate their disabilities, this rarely happens. Because they trust the bad advice, often times given by well-intentioned counselors who process their disability cases, thousands of veterans fail to fully avail themselves of their rights to military disability processing. They waive their statutory right to a hearing at a PEB and consequently forfeit valuable medical benefits for themselves and their dependents that many veterans later learn they should have received.

Federal statute 10 U.S.C. 1214 provides:

"No member of the armed forces may be retired or separated for physical disability [includes mental] without a full and fair hearing if he [or she] demands it."

        Even if the VA ultimately pays more disability compensation than the military, an active duty person should still strongly consider active duty disability processing and, if appropriate, request an in-person hearing at a Formal Physical Evaluation Board. In many cases the PEB is persuaded to increase disability and award retirement. The military provides TDY travel to the PEBs and free Judge Advocate General (JAG) counsel for the hearing. Civilian attorneys are also authorized at the service member’s expense. At a formal in-person PEB hearing a soldier, sailor, or airman, may present their case with assistance of an attorney, face to face with the board members, who will decide their future Army Regulation AR 635-40 explains the PEB process in detail. The other services have a similar regulation. The informal PEB only reviews records and is unable to fully appreciate the physical or mental loss until the PEB hears testimony and sees the military member in person.

        The appeal of the Informal PEB to a Formal PEB should be done before discharge or retirement as it is extremely difficult, time consuming, and expensive, to receive a higher military disability rating after discharge or retirement. The additional month or so of additional processing time pending a PEB formal hearing, while still earning full pay and allowances, is often worth delaying the transition to civilian life. Good legal advice from an experienced attorney is critical beginning with the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) and continuing throughout the PEB process.

        Potential benefits include receiving a higher military disability rating and/or military retired ID card benefits. Service members qualify for military disability temporary retirement with at least a 30 per cent military disability rating. For some families the future lifetime medical care for themselves and their spouses and family members is more valuable than increased disability compensation. The opportunity to receive those military retired benefits that may be obtained by personally appearing at a PEB is worth more than just later receiving VA compensation or disability severance pay. More than half of the servicemen and women who appeal their cases to the PEB receive a higher disability, gain military medical retirement, or other favorable result. Most cases that are denied by a PEB receive no change in military disability ratings. Obtain legal advice before you waive your statutory right to a military disability hearing (PEB).

Written by Chuck Pardue
Attorney At Law
LTC Retired JAG