S6 E5 - How do I maximize my VA disability benefits? - burst 1
Hey just a quick before we get things kicked off here. I do want to let you know that. There is some strong language throughout this episode so listener discretion is advised. If there's five step process but there's indefinite general over overarching rules that she must consider but it is very procedural. It's they're not looking at compeer in the wall and analyzing while i'm analyzing the case law even the references to it. They're not opening pay. Everyone welcome to season six episode. Five of we served now. What it on this podcast. I do my very best to answer the questions. That veterans and their families are all ready asking my name is aaron perkins on the host of this show and the founder of courage to fight again an hour parent organization. I'm also the author of resolve. Which is a step by. Step guide for q the veteran to help you rediscover purpose meaning and passion and your post military life. Today's topic when the show is via a disability. What you need to do to submit it and not just what to do with. How do it bright outta appeal it. Should you appeal that well. That work all those things and more in today's show. I had a chance to sit down with a couple of really great guys who have done their homework on this. They do this kind of thing. Every single day. Greg colton and will simmons and we set down and chat or mojos that hour and a half i had to cut out unfortunately a lot of that conversation but the week to that full interview can click on the link in the show notes. And that'll take you to a form review request access to that whole uncut interview. And you could watch that in its entirety video interviewed. Please please take advantage of that. But for now i'm going to get out of the way. Make this intro as short and sweet as possible and let you hear the part of the show. The part of our conversation that i was able to stick into this episode here fleas. Enjoy my conversation with greg. Colton and wilson's check it out. Well i am here today with two honestly powerhouses in this field talking about increasing eight disability benefits. I'm here with gregg golden easy. Us navy veteran. This guy has twenty five twenty five years of sea level experience in financial technology compliance security investigation. All these things he's worked with numerous law firms used his own experience with the va to build something really cool. And i know he's gonna wanna talk about that more on this show but it's very good to have you on the show today greg. I'm also here with will simmons. He's a us army veteran former va founder. And managing attorney at simmons law. And i gotta tell you. I could not have asked for a more knowledgeable. Duo to answer veterans questions about va a disability benefits. So i want to just say to both you guys. Welcome to we serve now. What oh thank you very much Very happy to be here with you. you know my own experience of five years in the navy and thinking i came out and was was everything was great. You know always young. And i was happy in that aitken painted matter a whole lot. You know then. I got my late forties and early fifties and realized yeah does kind of hurt a little. Bit so yeah. I'm happy to be here with you and Look forward to the conversation. Will everybody will simmons Absolutely happy to talk to you today. About incentive Something near and dear to my heart. china passion play for me Having gone from ten percent disabled the a lump sum of less than eight hundred bucks and a holy shit. Now what am i gonna digress. My life to one hundred percent permanent total my law degree and my mba so There are programs out there to better your life and puts you in a position to dramatically. Change your life for the better and happy to talk about that too. That awesome awesome. Well let's start our conversation today guys with the transition out of the military. Maybe greg we can start with you. Tell me a bit more about your own transition story what you did right what you wish. You would have known things like that sure. Well you know when. I got out of those one clive in the military. I went through paramedic school in my last year in the military. So i was busy guy for you know. Fourteen sixteen months in the last days in the military. I was also going to civilian paramedic school. So i didn't sleep in as i got out. I worked as a paramedic and did fine. And then i realized that really didn't make a whole heck of a lot of money for all of the responsibilities that i had and that i wanted to do more but i wasn't quite sure how to do. And if i if. I known then what i know now. I would have in fact on to law school however i was a single parent of a two year old and a five year old and i did that for more than fifteen years and i can assure you that. There's nothing fun about going full time college and also trying to get You know to be a good parent and to provide the income necessary and i had that entrepreneurial spirit and i wanted to grow in in and have a big business that that was bringing the wealth i wanted and building it from my retirement and it just There wasn't a lot of of a maps out there. Do this do this do this do this. And through twenty five years of experience. I figured it out and and we've done well and i'm in. I'm thrilled with my past. The navy taught me so much about responsibility and accountability and and those are certainly tenants to be an entrepreneur. No question about it but there was no road map. There was no getting out of the military. Didn't here's your step plans being successful on your own It was it was really hard. So i'm glad to be your health. Talk about that in the journey Will tell us about you and your journey. It was definitely a different Yeah absolutely so i was. How do i even begin this When i joined the military. I joined in forty days. Forty five days before nine. Eleven and I was an architecture student at the time. Indiana national guard kind of do a my weekend. Warriors thing and In after nine. Eleven i i just couldn't physically sit there and design buildings that we're gonna be used to blow people and caused devastation. I wanted to change that. And so i went active duty and went to school and in sadly my entire time in the military was was spent in school one school to the next and in one of those schools. I got banged up. Injured prior to going getting acceptance to west point from enlisted to the academy so i went to west point for two years while i was there. Got my injury that i sustained during active duty. The kid exacerbated to the point that i could no longer sir and unceremoniously. I went home with a ten percent disability. Seven seven hundred eighty bucks or something like that. Night came from west point to sit on my parents. Couch i legitimately want to move. I didn't even know your podcast existed until last week but eyesight. Now what what the heck am i gonna do the rest of my life. I had zero idea. I went from the premier leadership institute in the world to not knowing. I didn't know what the heck did so I decided that applied at schools Just just keep the ball moving and Quickly went to indiana university. Got into the business. School in really just fell in love with entrepreneurship and i let that passion takeover You know my healing process from you. Know both physical and emotional fiercely all of it. I needed to mend myself after coming out of the military. And it's a hell of a won't talk to make that work but Anyway yeah i mean. The transition was man. I don i even describe the transition with it was so unbelievably difficult. It shouldn't need to in needed to be a conversation with a counselor commonality military that said you know. What do you want. do the rest of your life. This is the direction you go and go. Do it can i. It was a lot of soul searching to find. It ought to be honest. But now i've been imagined doing anything else. Couldn't imagine sitting my day any other way when i do and holy shit i get paid for it. I mean oh my god. That's the best. The best thing in the world i completely agree with you will on on that. Come out and you're just in this hot this this song in this hayes in your you have so little direction and even if you had a career counselor to try to talk to you. I don't know if it's just you don't know what you're doing in life because you're so mean you don't stand different concepts yet but man you're just lost wandering out there in and Yeah i grabbed me by accident eck and smack me up a little bit. I do right by sagar i absolutely. I think if there's one thing that i absolutely did right was i I jumped head head on into school and education and building might tool set. Because i wasn't relying solely on the things that i learned in the military to to be jumping off point. I realized i had a heck of a lot of catching up to do. And and that's where the education started for me And obviously i didn't quit. And in fact i found a way to make sure that i didn't have to pay for which was really you know that was. The true transition story was okay. Hang on a second Your bettering yourself. And you're getting somebody else. Pay the bill. This this is something should write a book about Because a lot of that cedeno that hidden. I mean that was one of my biggest struggles was coming out and being twenty five seven a two year old and a five year old that i was literally racing by myself and i was taking eighteen credit hours Getting my degree in biochemistry with minor in english lit. And i you know eighteen credit hours trying to take care to five hundred worked at the same time you know you can get loans and all the rest of it but if you don't have a good nation in what's possible. I had no idea. I was eligible for vote. Rehab you know. When i went i had gi bill and believe it or not. The college never applied the gi bill. I paid for everything out of my own. And even though i was eligible for the gi. Bill is all the time it's really sad is what it comes down to that. We have the capability had had. I recognized what was was there army. And i recognize these benefits. Were there than i could have slowed down and cast in my kids. Now's a roof over their head and not had trying to kill myself to get through it in a short period of time And it would have changed the trajectory of my life. I you know. I watched medical school. Go out the door. Because i couldn't do an internship and be a single parent and i couldn't do medical school and be a single parent. Too young kids had. I had those benefits and recognized that they were available to me. I could have done more. I could've figure things out that's not bad. I mean i. I love where i'm at today but it could have been so much easier. Had i known about all the benefits that are out there. Not just disability. But is as you're talking about. Well the both rehab and the gi bill and things don't get taken advantage of profitable now. I was just gonna say we. We actually just talked about that. I think it was in the last episode about gi bill and how you can leverage it with the Volk rehab well. Vr program now but Leverage that you know those two you know really great benefits to you get further education. Everything i know when i got out You know. I'm sitting in the end of the transition not unit but are transitioning out processing briefings. Right and they're telling us about the va. I knew zero about the. Va except that veterans. Go to the. Va that's really all. I knew about it and they and they told us like. Hey go to the hospital like on post go hospital get your medical records and take him upstairs. Because i had a v. Va office fort hood. They had a. Va office up. Like start for a said okay. Cool and so. I took them and they said okay. Cool we got your medical records like okay to me. It was just another task. I had. I literally had no idea that i was submitting my va. Disability claim audios. Like somebody told me to give you these. I guess this is how i get officially into the va and become a veteran so to speak at someone like your most crucial claim and there you are getting pushed by the system through their said that you're not on purpose fan. That was done on purpose for years and years. And call me a conspiracy theorist or whatever but the truth of the matter is this is mon mon Insurance company pan out benefits and they've got an minimize this as much as far as sharing and you know the the the the hard part was to that by the time i did my first what do you call that first. Compensation exam with the with the doctor or the nurse practitioner. Whatever she was I'm still in tough guy mode. I'm still like yeah. Her s- i'm good. I can you know. I'm sure i can just suck it up for a little while. I didn't realize it's supposed to go there and just be blatantly. Honest like holy crap. This hurts this hurts. This hurts and i can't do this anymore. And i just went. I was like no. This is fine. Do you have anything no. i'm fine. no i'm good. I had no. I d like there was no. There's no plan there's no. There's no one at that point in the transition to to really tell me. Hey this is what you should be doing. This is the level of scrutiny. That they're going to look at your. Va claim with and this is the level of of intensity you need to put to it when you submit it so we can talk about that a little bit like what. What was your guys. Experience with The va disability claims program. I i know with mine drag. Mom i was cormon and i and i was I was one of the supervisors of the ambulance service in and they will. Hospital orlando in the training center training center there and when i sat down out processing with personnel. I still to this day. Remember sitting down at that gray metal desk. And here's somebody that's not much older than me on the other side of the desk in. They're typing out my dvd fourteen. And they're asking me different questions on a checklist and you know how many problems not have any problems you know. Got both of my legs. I got both my arms You know i can hear you talking fine which goes exactly to the point. You're making aaron. And i don't think it was bravado on my side is much as not understanding to transition process and the purpose of the questions being asked as they apply to me in my future not to mention. Let's let's young. Were coming from the military where it's shut the hell up in suck it up. Well it's not only that pervasiveness in the military will absolutely but there's a pervasiveness in the medical side on top of that of we don't go to call unless we are on death's doorstep i had owns and you know i'm i'm urinating blood. I went to the er. I was terrified. I didn't know anything about kidney. Stones about point. I tell you when you look down. Ten o'clock at night and the toilet bowl is you're ready to go to bed. You see bright red blood. You're going to the er right now when they didn't ask me about that as i al processed. I didn't recognize that. The jimmy stones that my kidneys continued to put out than started in the military. Were something that should have been taking care of for in evaluating before on the disability side. And so you know as as a cormon. My knees hurt my back. Hurt dr a are you know my gird. hey dot. Can you write me. Something for this. Ensures tagamet for this there was never any documentation. It was me and my buddy. The doctor who wrote something if i wanted it or b who went to the cabinet and opened up and took out the a hundred older motrin. It took it myself just like i told my fellow shipmates to do or the. You know the marine corps guys that i worked with to do so i mean there was a pervasiveness medicine on top of. What will we say about. The pervasiveness of we have a missions. Do the military. Our mission is to get the dadgum job done. Every single time is not to be standing in sakala. Whine about how this hurts. Don't it well. i'm sorry. I didn't mean now. You know. i think it's for me. I was you know i dealt with something that i deal with. Almost every with almost every veteran client that deal with. It's it's it's a pervasive problem. That every better needs to know you're going to be under compensated for some of your disabilities and you're gonna be overcompensated for some disabilities and when you're coming out of service and you get med boarded for something you know for me. I was hellbent on getting my chest fix chest and backs back rated properly in even though chefs in particular the maximum benefit. I could ever get no matter how hard i tried and no matter what i did was ten percent no matter what so yourself the net absolutely ruined my military career. That is only gonna ever pay me ten percent. I'm sitting. you're banging my head against the wall for at least five years fighting that fight when there was literally nothing i could do. I had to learn the system the right way you gotta do end arounds and connect everything possible to this in order to make sure that your stated appropriately for the actual shit that you're dealing against off that took years to figure out when you don't have somebody holding your hand through the through the that's really true. I mean in my case. I knew the was there that can provides healthcare benefits. But i had a job. I had healthcare benefits. I didn't mean to be a and i correctly and incorrectly depending on how you look at it. I wanted that benefit to be more available my fellow brethren who actually needed it and couldn't make it private healthcare good private healthcare because the. Va does a as much as they get. Beaten up in the news over. they do. Try very hard. You've healthcare Chewed the veterans other. They can't do better but it's not because they're trying to do that. And so i wanted that that benefit of healthcare to be availed more available. My brother and i never looked into. It wasn't until we want to buy a house and property. You're in texas the realtor said. So what's your your disability rating. And which i giggled including talking about and she goes well with your own. You won't have a fun in fee in taxes. You will either of your property taxes reduced or abated completely if you have disability and i said i don't have any disability. I have both my legs and lower. Did she said idiot. I've known you long time. And i know your kidney stone started in service. I know you're back. Problems started from when you were. Emc girl medic in the military in the military. How can you not have this ability rating. And i wasn't out looking for the money. I was making okay money so i never went searching for those benefits and you know that makes that much more difficult woken. Tell you when you're now twenty. Five years ho service. And the g jared processes are really starting to kick in that began in the military to then through this this connection. It would be much easier on him and i if we get the veteran. Who's diagnosed in service with my backers a bit. You know. I have a strain. I have whatever that turns into severe Disabling degenerative disk disease or herniation in those sorts of things. It'd be so much easier if those that are ins new on the way out. I need a copy of my medical records. I need diagnosis in the military. I need imaging. Studies are is cat. Scans whatever to show this. Something started in the military. Because we can tie that together much more easily absolutely and i think with the be. Dd program the benefits Direct delivery program that the provides This new system. I'm helping quite a bit of Servicemembers transition out of the military the contact meteorology and they want help going through their initial claim. You know it's something that You know you can't charge for it's a you know it's a. It's a pro bono thing but the end of the day were taken bets. Soldiers vets who are transitioning out on their first you know their initial claim walking out of the room with a ninety percent. Walk on service. Now we're sitting here fighting on. You know that most important ten percent on the backside to get you to the hundred percent but we're a heck of a lot closer than that thirty percent of the twenty percent that you're getting when you're walking out of there like a hero like you and i are all of us did back at our generation you know there's various services connection is an art. It is not a science. It is an art all day long you. There are ways to stack disabilities on top of each other to maximize your coins. And if you do not know what you are doing you are doing it wrong here. What it takes strength or something. We said to will as a process that that is like everything else that all veterans doing the military. There's a procedure. Here's your procedure. One five and the average veteran doesn't understand it is a legal process. There are statutes. The congress is there are regulations that implement those statues that the va is put out is a legal process and it involves medicine so it's a combination of the legal side in the medical side and the average joe out there doesn't understand the law at that level and doesn't understand medicine at that level to connect all of this stuff together both legally and medically right and so let's dive into the details a little bit of that initial. Va disparity claim you know. Will you talk about it. Being an art and greg you talked about it being a legal proceeding. Is there even a three step. Five step nine step seventeen step process. That veterans can look at and say. Okay here's what i need to do. And here's how. I need to submit that claim. I don't know if there's a five step process but there's definite general over overarching rules that you must consider and And i think most important if i could say This is your kids Number one takeaway take notes Holy shit do. Not shotgun approach your. Va clays do not claim. Every single fingernail do not claim every single to- fungus. It's not gonna get you paid number one and number two. It's going to paint you in a corner so bad no attorney can get you out of just because you have dirty your file. You're talking about non attorneys who are adjudicating legal cases. These people do not practice law. They are practicing what they feel in. Our job is to show what disability looks like as plainly as possible so that we can either capitalize on that person's Motive to assist the veteran or To somehow paint over bad in a file because you absolutely are are leaving a trail of tears when you are claiming a shotgun approach to your to your veterans claims Number step is only claimed things that you are legally entitled to claim so it's going to require a little bit of research on your part to know what you're entitled to but that's that's my claim to everybody number one only clean things that you're entitled Because once you start claiming things that you're not entitled to the most important thing that you can not lose that you just gave away is your a benefit of the doubt that fifty percent and when it's as least as likely as not it's you're full of shit and you're claiming everything under the sun You just lost your fifty percent when it comes to the thing that's going to get you hundred percent. Yeah i think all take off on that in a little bit of of education. The vast majority of raiders as will can tell you are veterans. They want to help their fellow veterans. That's why they get that job. However the vast majority are not attorneys and just like we were talking about procedures few minutes ago. That's what they do. They have a manual called the young twenty one one and it is a procedure manual. They claim they step through the procedures. Won- jews hyperlink year like there for five six hyperlink there is. I wish it was. It's not to say there isn't some feeling in it. I mean there there is they are the trier of fact they get to be the arbitrator in adjudicate the claim but they do get that interpretation on their side in trying to decide. What's right and what's wrong is disconnected is not but it is very procedural. It's they're not looking at line compeer in the law analyzing walleye analyzing the case law even the references to it. They're not opening. No they are now providing a claim. You know it's transitioning to the other point. He made a providing claims that are not shotgun that you're entitled to. What does that mean rethinks. You have a current diagnosis. You have continuity of your condition meaning you. didn't you know. Get a bruise in boot camp. In your thirty years later. Trying to to say i have a problem. You have to be able to document the progression so he is a little bit different than degenerative disk disease that you may have had back pain and service but it didn't really degenerate until a certain point but then it kept getting worse and worse document how it kept getting worse and worse documented in a law whether it's a blood pressure log a headache log of that in law document the continuity of that condition and the third component of that is the next service. How did that. How did service relate to your claim. It didn't have to 'cause it. You could had a car accident while you were stationed florida. That caused an injury service. Puts you in florida. Therefore that disability the you weren't combat got shot and you got that disability but it's still considered service connected because the military had you stationed there so it's not causation. Its relation to. But if you don't have continuity veterans lose every time is you know. Oh i had this. Bigger hangnail. And i had this. This shotgun approach. Yes but that's not a chronic condition. It's a one time edition. Thank you so much will and greg and has been so great heavy on the show. This has been absolutely amazing. we will share some next steps with our audience in the show notes as we don't have time to cover today but this has been so so great guys. I cannot wait to publish this here in just a few days once we get through the very long process. Now because we've been on here for almost an hour and a half. Oh man what get through this very low process of you know post producing this but This has been really great. I know i've learned a lot. No doubt our listeners have learned a lot. Thank you guys so much for coming on the show really really enjoyed having you absolutely are i would not try and in a motor selves doll. But there's more information both in blogs articles that are on our websites on the im l. a. r. dot com their blogs articles about all his unstuffy also webinars that the media von normal basis. That has a lot of money on and join this martin. I'm ask questions where you're to help end. Try and elton's many veterans hand and your minds and you'll get them guys. Make yourselves better absolutely. I wish i wish. I got a website to promote them in the middle of fixing it right now so Sadly i've got a lotta latin or the we're working on that Were growing like crazy. This last year and a half. It's been unbelievable in worth To do a little self promotion where we're entirely. We're all veteran. were were all disabled vets. For all young where he's All worked on the inside. Su know how all the systems work so there we'd and accurately communicate with the that's how we run a different off practice than everybody else who's We what these guys who they're fighting against and there's a alive easier way that i hope you've enjoyed this segment of the interview. Now to listen to the full interview click on the lincoln the show notes fill out that form and we will email that link directly to you again until next time. Thanks for listening. We served now. What is a production of courage to fight again.