Veterans’ Disability Referral FAQ
Questions Frequently Asked by Referring Attorneys
Why should I refer a Veterans’ Disability Case to Bluestein Attorneys, LLC?
A lot of our business comes from referring attorneys. We are grateful for that business, and we want to make it worth your time and effort to refer cases to us. For most case referrals, we use a split fee arrangement whereby– with the knowledge and permission of the client– the referring attorney receives a percentage of the total fee that we receive depending upon where in the process the claim or appeal may be. The total attorney fee is typically a contingent fee of 20 percent of back pay (benefits that accrue between the date that a claimant is determined to be disabled and the date that he or she begins to receive monthly benefit payments) that we are able to help obtain for the veteran.
While we understand that a split fee is a great incentive for referring cases, we also know that you would like to refer clients with confidence in the attorneys to whom you are referring them. While we do not win every case we take, we pride ourselves in our compassion, in our professionalism, and in the success that we achieve on behalf of our clients.
We try very hard to give our clients the attention that they deserve. Every potential client who has already filed for benefits is scheduled to meet initially with an attorney. If we accept the case, the client is assigned to a paralegal based on last name. While we rarely have the time to call our clients just to chat, our attorneys and paralegals return phone calls. If a client speaks with a paralegal but needs to ask a question of an attorney, the client is scheduled for a time to speak with the attorney. Our attorneys always speak with clients once a hearing is scheduled to prepare the client for the hearing. Our attorneys also periodically review files and determine the action to be taken.
Our attorneys, Gene Powell and Kenny Dojaquez practice exclusively in the area of Veterans’ Disability benefits and each is a military veteran. All are active members of the National Organization of Veteran Attorneys (NOVA) and participate in South Carolina Bar Veterans Section efforts.
We have an excellent support staff who also focuses exclusively on Veterans’ Disability practice.
We thoroughly prepare every case for hearing by updating medical records, preparing clients for questioning, reviewing the record, obtaining additional information, and anticipating problems that may arise. However, Veterans’ Disability cases primarily hinge upon the evidence in the medical records. Sometimes the evidence is not as strong as it needs to be in order to win. We know that we cannot win every case, but we put forth great effort in every case and serve as passionate advocates for our clients.
What information do I need to provide when I refer a case?
At a minimum, when the case is referred to our office we would like to know what years the Veteran served; what branch s/he served in; the characterization of discharge that was received by the Veteran; is the Veteran currently receiving VA benefits (if so, what are they); what are the Veteran’s current medical conditions and disabilities; which of these are service connected; dates of most current Rating Decisions; any deadlines pertaining to the Veteran’s appeal that are coming up; and most importantly good contact information (phone number, address, email address) for the Veteran.
Where should I send this information?
Our intake coordinator, Kathleen Suggs handles the initial contact with all potential clients. Her direct dial is 803-454-6221 and her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org?
If I refer a case to you, how long will it take for your office to contact the potential client?
If you provide contact information for the potential client, our office will contact that person within a day of receiving the information. While our paralegal who handles referrals is very vigilant about contacting potential clients, she can only work with the information that she is provided. Our paralegal will leave messages and will attempt to contact the potential client more than once. If she leaves messages and receives no response or if she gets a busy signal or no answer on multiple occasions, she will generally send the client a letter asking them to call our office, which is why we appreciate as much contact information as your office can obtain. However, we understand that some potential clients may not have a phone. In those cases, it may be best if you provide our contact information to them and ask them to call us and indicate that you referred them.
What information does the client need to bring to the initial meeting?
The client should bring all information s/he thinks is pertinent or might assist with the VA case. If the Veteran has the following documents, s/he should bring them to the initial meeting: the VA claims file, any and all correspondence received from the VA (most important are the VA Rating Decisions, denials, Statements of the Case, and Supplemental Statements of the Case), all pertinent medical records, any and all Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam records from VA hospitals, the DD-214 and any other service records, a copy of the rating code sheet, and any Social Security earnings records and documents.
Do you accept every case that is referred?
No. We have discretion to accept or reject cases that are referred from other attorneys. We always speak with the referred clients. However, if we assess the case and determine that we are unlikely to obtain benefits for the client for one reason or another, we decline representation.
How long does it generally take for a Veterans’ Disability case to be resolved?
Each case is different and there are no hard and fast rules on how long these cases take to be resolved. Keeping in mind the backlog of cases at the VA we generally tell Veterans that their case can take anywhere from several months to several years to be resolved.