Using Favorable Findings for Maximum VA Compensation - VA Made Easy Podcast (Video)

 Posted on September 12,2023 in Uncategorized

Did you know you can maximize your VA benefits? Learn how to use favorable findings to get an earlier effective date and put more money in your pocket!

Audio only version:

Full Transcript:

Ed Farmer [00:00:00]:

Hey, guys. You want to maximize the amount of money you put in your pocket? Today, I'm going to teach you how to use favorable findings to push back your VA effectiveness. Hi, I'm Edward Farmer. I'm a disabled veteran and a VA disability appeals attorney. I'm creating this podcast, VA Claims Made Easy, to help veterans navigate their own way through the VA disability system. It. Welcome back to VA made Easy. I'm Ed Farmer.

Ed Farmer [00:00:29]:

Thank you for all your subscribers, all the likes. Keep those comments coming. Today we're going to discuss how to get an earlier effective date using Favorable findings. The last major update to the VA appeal system came in 2017 with the Appeals Modernization Act, or the AMA. One of the many changes that AMA made is the notice requirements of decision letters. Now, the VA has to specify what favorable findings they made in terms of your decision. Now, guys, just want to clarify that these changes come to decisions that were decided after February 19, 2019. So what is a favorable finding? The VA setting, what elements of service connection you have already met.

Ed Farmer [00:01:15]:

For instance, if you filed for PTSD and you didn't meet the Nexus requirement but you had a diagnosis, the VA should make a favorable finding that you have a diagnosis of PTSD. Now, favorable findings are a powerful tool because a subsequent adjudicator, another VA decision maker, cannot overturn that finding absent clear and convincing evidence. So that prevents the VA from flip flopping on their decisions. So where do you find favorable findings? Well, I got a VA decision letter here, and it's not here on the COVID page. It's not there. It's not here either. Or here, or there. Or here, or here, or here.

Ed Farmer [00:02:17]:

Not in this page. Here's. His actual decision. It doesn't appear there either. Or back here. Here it is. All the way back here is the favorable findings way back on about the 10th page here. So in this decision, the favorable findings made has been diagnosed with a disability.

Ed Farmer [00:02:39]:

A diagnosis of Gerd is shown. Also states that you have a qualifying event, injury, or disease in service, treated for complaints of abdominal pain and nausea in service. So the favorable findings are buried way back in your decision. It should be marked Favorable findings. Now, what if your decision does not have a favorable finding? Well, the courts have said if the VA doesn't provide you adequate notice, that's a violation of your due process rights, and that abates any finality of your decision. So, in other words, your decision is still ongoing. If the VA doesn't provide you adequate notice, it continues to be open until they provide you adequate notice. All right, let's go through example.

Ed Farmer [00:03:29]:

Veteran files a claim on February 20, 2020 for PTSD. The VA denies service connection for PTSD on June 15, 2020. Their decision does not contain any favorable findings. On March 20, 2022, more than a year after the denial you file a supplemental appeal. The VA finally grants service connection for PTSD on June 15, 2020, with the effective date of March 20, 2022, the date you filed the supplemental appeal. What's wrong with this decision? Well, the effective date is wrong. The VA never issued formal findings back in the February 20, 2020 decision. That means the claim is still open, it's pending, and it never became final.

Ed Farmer [00:04:20]:

So now what? Well, you guys are going to want to file a higher level review using VA Farm 29 nine six. You're going to argue to the higher level reviewer that the decision back in February of 2020 was never final because you never were notified of the favorable findings. If the higher level reviewer knows what they're doing, they will grant that earlier effective date. Keep in mind, guys, that the higher level reviewer may get this wrong. They struggle a lot with earlier effective date issues, and he may have to go to the Board of Veterans Appeals. Unfortunately, the Board of Veterans Appeals is about a three year wait right now. But let me tell you why it makes a difference. You're going to want to wait those three years.

Ed Farmer [00:05:04]:

And let's put it in terms of dollars and cents. The VA owes you, in this instance, 25 months of back payment. That equates, in this example, to over 35,000 more dollars that could be in your pocket. So you want to continue to fight this. You want to wait the time at the Board of Veterans Appeals. Until next time, stay strong, stay determined, and remember, you have the power to change your VA. Hey, guys. Thanks for listening.

Ed Farmer [00:05:32]:

I hope this was helpful in navigating the VA disability system. Please continue to follow me and listen for further help. If you guys have a particular issue or story you would like to share, it may help others who have a similar problem. Feel free to reach out to me, and we can talk about sharing your your problem on the next show. If you need some additional help, visit my website vamadeasy.com.

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