Call Today: (727) 900-7290
Call Today: (727) 900-7290

Veterans Benefits

St. Petersburg Veterans Lawyer

Veterans Benefits Attorney in Florida

The vast majority of individuals across the United States understand that veterans are the reason the rest of us get to sleep well at night.  Veterans gave up their civilian lives to serve and fight for a greater purpose, exposing themselves to the risk of suffering severe injuries or death and missing out on life’s special events such as birthdays and anniversaries.  After having sacrificed so much for their country, it can be devastating when a veteran is denied government benefits that they desperately need to make ends meet.  Because the process for seeking and obtaining veterans benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can be complicated, it is a good idea to work alongside a Florida Veterans Benefits Lawyer to obtain the benefits to which you are entitled.

Providing Practical Legal Support to Those Who Served

At Centonzio Law, we can help you obtain the benefits you earned through your service in the U.S. military. This can help you manage medical issues and can provide financial resources for living expenses and other necessities. At Centonzio Law, we can help you and your family to access the Veterans Benefits to which you are rightfully entitled.

Javier A. Centonzio – A Veteran, a Veterans’ Advocate, and a Veterans Benefits Lawyer

As a Veterans Benefits Lawyer, Javier Centonzio helps veterans appeal VA rating decisions that deny benefits or grant benefits for a disability at a rate that is lower than it should be. He also helps clients who need help becoming eligible and applying for veterans benefits to help pay for long-term care. As a veteran himself, Javier dealt with the VA and fought for over four years to get the benefits he was entitled to which gives him a unique understanding of the frustrations associated with the process. Before seeking veterans benefits, it is important to have a general understanding of the various types of benefits that are available and the criteria that must be established to be eligible for benefits.  As part of the analysis of a veteran’s situation, Attorney Centonzio will identify which benefits a veteran or their spouse may be eligible for and which benefit will provide the most assistance.

Understanding Veterans Benefits

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is that part of the VA that administers benefit programs for veterans who are in significant financial need and/or became disabled during their time in the military because of an in service event, injury, or illness.  There are many ways in which a veteran can seek and obtain benefits, and the eligibility requirements may differ from program to program.  Veterans benefits available to qualifying veterans typically include VA Pension and VA Disability Compensation.

VA Pension (Commonly referred to as “Aid & Attendance”)

Certain Veterans may qualify to receive VA Pension benefits if they were in the service for at least ninety (90) days, were honorably discharged, and meet the income and asset requirements.  Veterans with service after September 7, 1980, must have served at least 24 months on active duty or the full period for which they were called up. No matter when the service occurred, the Veteran must have served at least one day during a wartime period. This doesn’t mean that the Veteran had to have served in combat, only that they were on active duty during one of the recognized wartime periods. Additionally, if the Veteran are under the age of sixty-five (65), they must be totally disabled.  If the Veteran is over the age of sixty-five (65), there is no disability requirement.  Surviving Spouses of eligible Veterans can also qualify for Veterans Pension benefits.

Every situation is unique, and benefits are paid based primarily on financial need.  If a claimant applying for Veterans Pension makes too much money, he or she may not be entitled to VA Pension payments.  As such, Veterans and Surviving Spouses who believe they may be entitled to VA Pension benefits should work alongside a Florida Veterans Benefits Lawyer to discuss options for pursuing and receiving benefits. Veterans Benefits Attorney Javier Centonzio has successfully helped numerous Veterans and Surviving Spouses to qualify for and obtain Veterans Pension Benefits. These Pension Benefits are especially helpful for those who are in Assisted Living Facilities or receiving Home Health Care. For Veterans or Surviving Spouses who are in nursing homes, Veterans Pension benefits may be helpful but in most circumstances Medicaid benefits are better to pay for nursing home care. Attorney Javier Centonzio has experience with Veterans Pension and Medicaid and will develop a plan to obtain the best benefit for your specific situation.

VA Disability Compensation

Some veterans may qualify to receive VA Disability Compensation Benefits if they are disabled as a result of an event or because of injuries or illnesses sustained or aggravated (if the disability was preexisting) during active duty or training.  Disabilities are not limited to physical injuries and illnesses or diseases.  Emotional injuries and mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) qualify as injuries, and therefore, disabilities, for purposes of the VA disability compensation program.

The amount of benefits a qualifying Veteran receives will depend upon the severity of the veteran’s disability. If the VA decides that the Veterans in-service event, injury, or illness more likely than not caused or aggravated a claimed disability that condition is considered service-connected.  The worse the disability, the greater the amount of benefits.  Disabilities are graded in ten-point increments and are assigned a percentage.  The greater the percentage, the worse the disability is.  Additionally, if a veteran has dependents, he or she may be entitled to a greater amount of VA disability compensation.  Because it can be difficult to determine what amount you may be entitled to as a disabled veteran, I encourage you to work with me to determine (1) whether you qualify to receive VA disability compensation benefits, and (2) the approximate amount of compensation you may be entitled to.

The VA allows an Attorney to represent a Veteran seeking Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits after the Veteran files a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) appealing a VA rating decision. Attorneys must apply and become accredited by the VA in order to represent or advise Veterans. However, the Accreditation process for Attorneys does not require that they demonstrate any actual knowledge of Veterans Benefits. This means that it is very important that you only hire a Veterans Benefits Lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced with handling VA Benefits matters. Veterans Benefits Attorney Javier Centonzio has helped hundred of Veterans apply for and obtain Veterans Benefits. He has handled cases before the VA Regional Office, at the Board of Veterans Appeals, and at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Individual Unemployability

Another type of VA Disability Compensation is called Individual Unemployabilty (IU or TDIU). Individual Unemployability allows the VA to pay eligible Veterans at the 100% rate even though they are not rated 100% for their service-connected disabilities. In order to qualify for this benefit, Veterans must: 1) have a service-connected disability or multiple service-connected disabilities; and, 2) be unable to maintain substantially gainful employment. The Veteran must have at least one service-connected disability rated at least at 60%, or must have two or more service-connected disabilities with a combined rating of 70% or higher and at least one disability rated at 40% or higher. The VA commonly and wrongfully denies claims for Individual Unemployability benefits so if you are a Veteran who can’t work because of your service-connected disabilities it’s important that you work with an experienced Veterans Benefits Lawyer like Javier Centonzio.  Disabled veterans deserve the support of our country, and Centonzio Law is proud to continually help our Veteran clients fight to receive the Disability Compensation Benefits that they earned through their service.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST)

Veterans who have suffered from sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other unwanted sexual advances while in the military, collectively known as “Military Sexual Trauma (MST),” may be eligible to receive VA Disability Compensation Benefits for resulting disabilities.  After years of lobbying efforts, the VA enacted regulations aimed at easing the burden of proof for Veterans who file Disability Compensation claims based on Military Sexual Trauma.  However, these claims are commonly decided incorrectly because the VA adjudicators do not follow the proper regulations when making their determinations. If you or someone you served with suffers from a disability, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD as a result of a military sexual trauma please contact Veterans Benefits Attorney Javier Centonzio to help ensure you understand your rights and obtain the disability compensation and treatment you need.

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Certain Survivors of military servicemembers who died on active-duty or Veterans whose death resulted from a service related injury or disease may be entitled to Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). A Surviving Spouse of a Servicemember who died during active duty, active duty training, or inactive duty training, may be entitled to receive DIC Benefits.  Surviving Spouses who were married to a Veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury disease must also meet marriage requirements. The requirements to qualify for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Benefits can be very confusing so it is important that you consult with an experienced Veterans Benefits Lawyer. Additionally, the VA routinely denies DIC claims because they wrongfully decided that the Veterans death did not result from a service-related injury or illness. This is where Veterans Benefits Attorney Javier Centonzio can really help by arguing and proving that the VA decided the claim wrongly in order to get the Surviving Spouse the benefits they deserve. It’s already tough enough to lose your beloved Veteran, but when the VA tries to tell you that their death was not a result of their service related disability it can make the situation even worse. Let Centonzio Law fight for you like they have already done for numerous Veterans and Surviving Spouses.

Contact Javier A. Centonzio, J.D., LL.M. Today to Schedule Your Free Veterans Benefits Consultation

If you are seeking Veterans Benefits or if you have already applied and been denied Veterans Benefits, act quickly to speak with a VA Accredited Veterans Benefits Lawyer.  Javier A. Centonzio, J.D., L.L.M. devotes his career to helping his fellow Veterans to receive the Veterans Benefits they deserve, especially Veterans who have fought to protect our country.  For a free comprehensive review of your claim for Veterans Benefits, contact Javier A. Centonzio today by calling (727) 900-7290 to schedule your free consultation.

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