What to Do if Your Veterans Disability Claim was Denied?

If your Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claim was denied, you may be discouraged and curious about what to do next. It is quite common for initial disability claims to be denied, and the good news is that you can file an appeal. The appeal process begins with a Notice of Disagreement (NOD), a document you file with the VA.

Like any claims process, there are steps you must follow, and certain paperwork you must complete. Below is some helpful information for completing your VA disability claim appeal.

Appealing a Veterans Disability Claim Denial

When you file an NOD, you are requesting an appeal with the VA. Important considerations that could impact your appeal include:

  • Deadlines: There is a one-year deadline for appealing a claim denial. The one year period begins on the date the denial notice was sent to you, not the date you received it or filed an NOD.
  • Forms: The appropriate form to use for an appeal is VA Form 21-0958. Using the wrong form will delay your appeal.
  • Information: When you file the NOD paperwork, avoid the temptation to provide too much information. Yes, you are frustrated and you want an opportunity to express your thoughts. You will have the opportunity to express your disagreement. Providing too much information in the paperwork can also limit the appeal issues you may qualify for.
  • Type of Appeal: You will have the option of choosing to appeal to a Decision Review Officer (DRO) or the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). If you choose the DRO, he or she can make a decision without a BVA review. If you are denied again, you still can appeal to the BVA. If you appeal to the BVA, you may not have the opportunity to appeal again.
  • Filing: Sign the NOD paperwork and make a copy for yourself. The original should be filed with the regional VA office indicated on the denial letter. Send the NOD certified and request a receipt.

If you have questions or are unsure of your legal rights, contact The Law Offices of George S. Henderson for help.





What Happens if a Workers’ Compensation Claim is Fraudulent?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance, and therefore is governed and monitored by agencies that oversee insurance claims. According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, tens of billions of dollars are stolen each year in the U.S. due to fraudulent workers’ compensation claims.

What are Fraudulent Workers’ Compensation Claims?

Fraudulent workers’ compensation claims may include:

  • Bogus Claims – Employees make claims for injuries that never happened in order to cash in on benefits.
  • Stolen Premiums – Business owners illegally reduce workers’ compensation premiums they owe. This is often done by establishing fake businesses or falsifying tax records.
  • Crooked Doctors – Sometimes doctors will help falsify records in order to scam insurance companies out of money. They may team up with other doctors, patients, or even lawyers to inflate prices and then skim off profit. Doctors sometimes also file insurance claims that are false.

What Happens if a Workers’ Compensation Claim is Fraudulent?

Unfortunately, the “what happens” does not always mean that the claim was denied. In many cases, the claim processes, which has a serious impact on everyone. Some of the most common outcomes of workers’ compensation fraud include:

  • Higher Premiums for businesses
  • Higher prices for consumer goods or services
  • Lost jobs
  • Decrease in pay
  • Endangered workers (health, safety, or insurance could be threatened)
  • Weakened businesses (lowered productivity, decreased profit)
  • Taxpayer Ripoff – Many workers’ compensation programs are government-run, which means they are funded by tax dollars. Fraudulent claims cost taxpayers money

Workers compensation claims that are fraudulent hurt everyone, and have a lasting impact on the system. Whether you are an injured worker, a business owner, or an insurance adjuster, any signs of a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim should be immediately investigated.

Fraudulent claims can make it more difficult for the injured to get the benefits they are entitled to. Employers can help prevent fraudulent claims by understanding legal guidelines and educating their employees. Employees can help prevent fraudulent claims by following proper protocol, and reporting any illegal actions taken by their employer. Employees have a right to workers’ compensation benefits for legitimate injuries.






What Can Happen if You Delay Your Workers’ Compensation Filing?

If you have been injured on the job, you have a lot on your mind. Of course, you are concerned about your health and getting treatment for any injuries. You are also likely concerned about finances, insurance, and getting back to work. With all of this on your mind, it can be easy to lose track of paperwork, such as your workers’ compensation application.

Unfortunately, forgetting to file your workers’ compensation claim can impact your benefits, and when you get them. Like most claims that move through any legal or formal process, workers’ compensation claims follow a series of steps. It is important to act quickly when filing a workers’ compensation claim to avoid potential obstacles to getting the compensation you need and deserve.

What Happens When a Workers’ Compensation Filing is Delayed?

In California, workers’ compensation claims must be filed within 30 days of the injury occurring. The exception is if the injury or illness developed over time, such as an illness acquired from exposure to toxic chemicals, or repetitive stress injuries. In these cases, the deadline generally starts from the date that you discovered the injury, such as when you were diagnosed.

If you miss the 30-day deadline, or are late, you may find your claim denied. Many insurance companies will deny claims if the injuries were reported after the deadline. In these cases, you may need to file an appeal, or take additional steps to be eligible for benefits.

Most states have some lee-way for filing, especially if any of the following applies:

  • Your employer witnessed or knew about your accident.
  • You have a legitimate reason for not reporting the accident to your supervisor immediately, such as incapacitation.
  • Your employer did not suffer harm because of your failing to notify them.
  • Your employer did not inform you, or post, policies related to workers’ compensation rules.

Every case is different, and it is impossible to guess whether or not your claim will be denied or further delayed if you miss the deadline. The best course of action is to contact a California workers’ compensation attorney to find out your best options to get benefits.

Can Workers’ Compensation Benefits be Taxed?

It is tax season, and with that comes the stress of gathering and filing documents and asking yourself numerous questions about what you need to claim, how you need to claim it, and whether certain benefits or income can be taxed. If you suffered a workplace injury during 2018, you are likely questioning whether workers’ compensation benefits can be taxed. Let’s take a look.

Can Workers’ Compensation Benefits be Taxed?

As a general rule, workers’ compensation benefits are not considered taxable income at a federal or state level. Because workers’ compensation benefits are granted following a physical injury or illness, it falls within the category of non-taxable income, similar to:

  • Compensatory damages for physical injuries or illness
  • Disability benefits from a “no fault” insurance policy
  • Compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement
  • Payments from a public welfare fund

Workers’ compensation benefits that are paid to a surviving family member are also exempt from federal taxes.

Are There Exceptions?

Yes. If you also receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), then your SSI or SSDI benefits may be reduced by the amount of the workers’ compensation benefits you are receiving. The amount that your SSDI or SSI is reduced would then be considered taxable. For example, if your SSDI benefit is reduced by $200, then that is how much of your workers’ compensation benefit would be taxable.

Generally, individuals who rely on both SSDI/SSI benefits and workers’ compensation benefits will not have enough taxable income in order to owe federal taxes.

Questions about Workers’ Compensation and Taxes?

If you have questions about workers’ compensation benefits and your taxes, it is best to contact a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your questions and concerns. At The Law Offices of George S. Henderson, we can help you be certain that you understand how any benefits you receive will factor into your tax filing.