Attorneys in the Veterans Benefit Group at Goodman Allen Donnelly have been fighting for veterans and their families since 1998. We have represented more than 2,000 veterans, retired military and their widows and children living in all 50 states and several foreign countries (including Puerto Rico, Afghanistan and Iraq), helping them get the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits they deserve. Not only do we have experience working with multiple branches of the US Military—Army, Navy, National Guard, Air Force, to name a few—but many on our staff are veterans and retired military themselves.
We represent veterans, retired military and their dependents on claims for service connection on every sort of disability imaginable, ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder, to low back conditions, to cancer caused by radiation exposure to asbestos-related diseases and everything in between. We also help our clients get unemployability benefits, non-service-connected pensions, increased ratings, earlier effective dates, widow’s benefits, and education and home loan benefits to name a few.
The Veterans Benefit Group attorneys work for their clients at all stages of the VA claims process, from the Regional Office to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Some of the most common complaints we hear from our clients about the VA system are:
- “It takes so long for VA to decide my case it feels like they’re just waiting for me to die!”
- “It seems like VA does everything it can to delay my case—asking for the same records over and over again—and getting examination after examination. Why can’t they just make a decision?”
- “Every time VA sends me to the doctor for an examination, he spends five minutes examining me, and then just writes what VA wants to hear to deny me again.”
With obstacles like these you deserve to have experienced representation on your side.
We work diligently on our client’s claims in an effort to get results as quickly as possible by:
- Explaining how the VA system works and what evidence is needed to win your case.
- Working with you to get the evidence you need to substantiate your claim.
- Staying in touch with you, letting you know where your case stands, and answering your questions.
- Watching the VA closely, and challenging them if they do something to delay your case without good cause.
Frequently Asked Questions
The attorneys in our firm have been working for veterans and their families since 1998. One of our attorneys used to work for the VA, while two others served as law clerks to judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Our attorneys combined have over 80 years of experience in veterans law.
Our firm has veterans attorneys located in Richmond, Charlottesville and Norfolk, Virginia as well as in the Washington, DC area. We serve veterans and their families in every state and territory of the country and throughout the world.
We have six attorneys who work on veterans cases. Every case is initially reviewed by one of our lead attorneys, after which a second attorney is assigned to work on the case. Our offices also maintain a toll-free number you can call at any time to talk about your case. The telephone is answered by an experienced non-attorney practitioner who is admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
This means that you will always have at least two attorneys and a non-attorney practitioner you can call to speak about your case.
It is considered unethical for any attorney to say that he or she wins a certain percentage of their cases, because every case is unique, and giving a “winning percentage” could mislead a client into thinking their case will succeed when they might not. Because the Court almost never actually grants benefits (if there are errors in the decision from the VA, the Court will usually remand or send a case back to the VA to be redone) it’s not really accurate to talk about “winning” cases at the Court anyway.
What we seek to accomplish at the Court is getting the case sent back to the VA so that the agency can reconsider the award of benefits. If other attorneys say they win a high percentage of their cases, they mean they have a high percentage of cases that are sent back to the VA. Since we represent clients only where we find errors in the Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision, the vast majority of our cases have historically been sent back.
We offer continued representation to almost all of our clients when we finish work at the Court. If your case is remanded, you will have several options. We can offer continued representation (ordinarily for a 20-percent contingent fee); working with a Veterans Service Organization, such as the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or American Legion, for free; or representing yourself.
The reference to “contingent fee” above applies only to those fees charged for actual attorney work, which by regulation can be deducted from any benefits awarded in most but not all cases. In contrast, expenses cannot be contingent: court filing fees, photocopying costs, courier fees, fax charges, etc. usually must be paid by the client, though we minimize such expenses to the extent possible and never exceed $100 without approval of the client. If we represent you at the VA and your claim necessitates a medical opinion to substantiate it, then this would be an additional expense to you if you elect to pursue it.
If we can convince the VA attorney that there are errors in your case, it typically takes six months to a year for a case to work its way through the Court process and back to VA. If the VA fights us, it can take one to three years to get a decision from a judge. Even after a case is sent back to VA to be redone, it may take many more years to resolve, and even then, a claim may remain denied. Because of this, our firm has developed practices to help our clients do two things: Understand and seek the evidence that is needed to have the best chance to win a case and do what is needed to get a decision made as quickly as possible.
It’s easy to get your consultation. Just call us, toll free, at 877-838-1010. We can discuss your case right away, and after we review your records, we will let you know if we are able to help with your appeal. We look forward to having the chance to work with you.
* Not licensed to practice law in VA and does not represent clients on matters covered by Virginia law. Practice is limited exclusively to the representation of Veterans in matters before the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Court of Appeals for Veteran’s Claims and the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.