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Veterans (VA) Disability Lawyer Serving Puerto Rico

Veterans living in Puerto Rico may require assistance appealing their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits decision. With over 300 years of collective experience, Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD understands the complexities of the VA claims and appeals process and is prepared to help. If you are a veteran living in Puerto Rico who needs help appealing your VA claim decision, then contact us today.

For over 25 years, CCK has tailored our approach to each veteran who comes to us. As the largest veterans law firm serving US veterans, our team has the resources to maintain open and clear communication while implementing effective strategies to fight aggressively for the benefits you deserve. Our deep experience and top talent—including a former VA Veterans’ Law Judge—have given us access and connections that no other firm has.

Call us today at (800) 544-9144 for a free case evaluation with a member of our team. We will listen to your situation and determine what we can offer you.

Here are some resources to help you in the journey to your proper VA disability rating.

How to Apply for VA Disability Benefits in Puerto Rico

Filing a VA Claim in Puerto Rico

There are four ways a veteran living in Puerto Rico may file their VA claim. They are as follows:

  1. Online, via the website
  2. By Mail to the VA claims intake center
  3. In Person by visiting the San Juan Regional Office
  4. Via an Accredited Representative or VSO

While veterans in Puerto Rico may use any of the methods mentioned above, submitting online is the recommended method due to its relative speed.

It is important to file your claim as soon as possible, as this may determine the “effective date” from which VA will calculate your compensation. Note that veterans can upload additional evidence for up to one year after filing their claim.

Common Medical Conditions Covered by VA Disability

Some examples of service-related medical conditions that could qualify for VA disability benefits include:

In addition to having an eligible medical condition(s), veterans must be able to prove that the condition is service connected.

Establishing Service Connection

Veterans must prove that their condition occurred or was aggravated by active military service.

The three elements of establishing service connection include the following:

  • Current diagnosed disability: The veteran must have a current, diagnosed disability.
  • In-service event, injury, or illness: Veterans must present evidence that either an event, injury, or illness occurred during their military service. Veterans often obtain this proof from service records, medical logs, or personal statements.
  • A medical nexus between the in-service event and the current disability: A medical nexus must link the diagnosed disability with the in-service event, injury, or illness. This link is typically established through medical evidence.

VA often requests that claimants attend a Compensation & Pension (C&P) examination. This examination helps VA assess the severity and service connection of the disability. Veterans must attend this exam. If they do not, then VA may deny their claim.

Types of Evidence to Support a Claim for VA Disability Compensation Benefits

The evidence a veteran submits as part of their VA claim must be compelling and relevant. Additionally, this evidence must clearly show the connection between the veteran’s disability and their military service.

Some examples of evidence that veterans can submit to VA include:

  • Service medical records
  • VA medical records
  • Private medical records
  • Lay statements from the veteran or eyewitnesses
  • Service personnel records

These types of evidence can show a comprehensive record of the veteran’s health and its connection to their military service. As such, it can increase the likelihood of receiving a favorable decision from VA.

After reviewing a veterans claim, VA will then issue a rating decision, which determines benefits and compensation.

Current VA Disability Pay Rates for Veterans in Puerto Rico

VA assigns veterans disability ratings based on the severity of their service-connected condition. Depending on the condition, these ratings range from 0 percent to 100 percent in increments of 10 percent. A veteran’s disability rating determines the amount of monthly compensation they will receive.

If a veteran in Puerto Rico has multiple disabilities, then VA uses a special formula to calculate a combined rating. You can calculate your potential VA disability rating using our VA disability calculator.

As of December 1st, 2023 the VA disability rate benefit amounts are as follows:

  • 0 percent disability rating: $0.00 per month
  • 10 percent disability rating: $171.23 per month
  • 20 percent disability rating: $338.49 per month
  • 30 percent disability rating: $524.31 per month
  • 40 percent disability rating: $755.28 per month
  • 50 percent disability rating: $1,075.16 per month
  • 60 percent disability rating: $1,361.88 per month
  • 70 percent disability rating: $1,716.28 per month
  • 80 percent disability rating: $1,995.01 per month
  • 90 percent disability rating: $2,241.91 per month
  • 100 percent disability rating: $3,737.85 per month

How to Challenge a VA Disability Decision in Puerto Rico

If you believe VA’s rating decision is incorrect, then you have the right to file an appeal. Appeals can be highly complex, so veterans may hire VA-accredited professionals like CCK to assist. Be aware that legal fees are limited by VA rules, and you only pay if we win.

Veterans have one year from the date on their decision letter to file an appeal with VA. This period is critical. You must submit within this period to maintain your effective date.

Under the VA appeals system, veterans have three options to appeal:

  1. Requesting a higher-level review: A senior claims adjudicator can conduct a new review of the original claim.
  2. Filing a supplemental claim: If the veteran has new and relevant evidence, then they can submit it with this type of claim.
  3. Filing an appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals: Veterans can choose one of three dockets: direct review, evidence submission, or a hearing request.

Note that there are various other circumstances in which you may wish to revisit or appeal your claim, perhaps even years later. For example:

In these situations, please contact CCK for a free evaluation.

The CCK Approach to VA Appeals in Puerto Rico

At CCK, we offer comprehensive support to clients in Puerto Rico who are appealing their VA claim decision. We thoroughly review all our clients’ cases to understand the reasons behind the denial of benefits. We then begin putting together a tailored strategy to address each specific issue we identify.

Some of the ways we can assist our clients include:

  • Obtaining copies of medical, service, and personnel records
  • Securing testimony from subject matter experts
  • Getting statements of testimonies from fellow service members
  • Reviewing a veteran’s original claim for errors and omissions

Appeals are work-intensive and often counter-intuitive. CCK is determined to carry as much of the burden as possible for veterans in Puerto Rico, as well as aggressively fight for the benefits they deserve.

Other Resources for Veterans in Puerto Rico

VA Regional Offices

VA Medical Facilities

Call Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD Today

If you are a veteran living in Puerto Rico, then appealing your VA benefits decision is not something you must do on your own. Consulting with a VA disability lawyer can be crucial to increasing the chances of a successful appeal. CCK has secured over a billion dollars in benefits for its clients.

A veterans disability lawyer serving Puerto Rico is ready to assist you. Call our experienced team of VA-accredited attorneys and advocates at (800) 544-9144 for a free case evaluation to determine if we can help.