(Part 4) Every veteran knows that the process to claim disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs can be complicated and frustrating.
Often, you need to enlist some help to get the compensation you deserve. We are excited to welcome Jim Brzezinski from Tabak Law back to the show to share his expertise and insights about the current VA disability claim landscape.
Questions? Comments? Continue the discussion by requesting access to our exclusive WVF Facebook Group.
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Intro & Outro Themes:
Barry Dallas - I’m Gone (https://uppbeat.io/t/barry-dallas/im-gone)
Noise Cake - Light It Up (https://uppbeat.io/t/noise-cake/light-it-up)
Today on Wisconsin veterans forward the fourth and final part of our dialogue with Jim Bransky from Taback law, him and his team go to bat every day for veterans to ensure that they get the support that they were promised from the department of defense when they signed on the dotted line. And that's exactly it. You , when you sign on the dotted line, you're making a commitment, but that commitment goes both ways. That's a two way street and the department of defense makes a commitment to take care of you. If anything happens to you, or if any illness or ailment befalls you during your service or by virtue of your service, or in any way connected to your service, they make a commitment. And it's incredible. How many veterans don't , uh , don't hold the D O D to, to fulfilling that or who get denied by the department of veterans affairs , uh , in their claim for that support. It's a shame. Sometimes you need some firepower, you need somebody like Jim and his team to go to bed for you , uh , and , and get you what you deserve. It's not a handout. This was a promise. This was a commit . This was part of the deal, man. Hm . This was a big one. This was spread out over two weeks. We don't do that often, but this is an important conversation. Let's dive right in. You are listening to Wisconsin veterans forward. Wisconsin's premier audio resource for veterans, military families, veteran owned and veteran friendly businesses. Wisconsin veterans forward is brought to you by the Wisconsin, some veterans chamber of email@example.com . I feel like I could ask you , I could talk to you for hours and just ask questions and, and you'd have a captive audience, you know, like our constituents, they, they want to hear about this. Oh, we, we have a question from Keith. Sorry. I missed that. My friend, it said any advice on this VA's new guidance on tin tonight , sleep apnea and P T S D. And we should do a disclaimer. This is , um, this is not medical or legal advice here. So he , he would be speaking in generalities.Speaker 2:
Um, so you know, the VA's new guidance on this , um, hasn't really affected what I've been doing because we've been doing everything the way, you know, we've been winning these cases , um, that , uh, prior to the guidance and, and one of 'em is, you know , um, the , um, the ringing in the ears , um, affecting mental health , um , and , um, you know, and PTSD being linked with sleep apnea. And , um, and quite frankly, the other way around too, is sleep apnea, get exacerbating symptoms of PTSD and depression and all that stuff.Speaker 1:
And sleep apnea has been connected in a lot of studies to depression, anxiety , um, ADHD, and the other way around. And I mean, it's like countless connections, and that's another reason why you would go get more firepower for something like this is , um, you know, finding those correlations. If you do an appeal or an initial , uh, claim through a VSL, they're not necessarily going to be able to say, like, look, we have found here, sleep , sleep apnea, connected to depression or ADHD or depression to tenitis or PTSD , or any of those things. Somebody who can, who can connect those dots for you. Um, so if what you're asking is Keith, you know, what's, does the new guidance affect something that Jim does maybe not, but would it make it easier, pat for an initial claim? Yeah . To be substantiated accurately potentially, but you still may need the fire power .Speaker 2:
And, and to be honest, you know, everything is still gonna require those medical opinions. So the , the biggest piece of the puzzle is when you're going for your medical opinion. So I guess I do have a little vice you need to, you need to really tell how the one condition is related to the other, you know, I mean , um, if you're claiming that your sleep apnea is related to depression or PTSD , and , um, when you're talking with that examiner, you, you should try to make sure that that, that condition comes up in the conversation, you know,Speaker 1:
And don't try to be a tough guy or a tough guy or gal, but veterans are guilty of that. Like, if you have a compend examination or some sort of examination, be candid, this is your opportunity to talk like don't exact , we're not asking anybody to fabricate anything to get a higher claim, but like, and they'll be able to see right through that most of the time, but like be candid and talk about like, this is what I'm experiencing, and this is how I think this relates to this,Speaker 2:
You know, one thing that's kind of interesting. And, and it's, it's a very sad story. And, and it really made me think about like my veterans, cuz so many veterans have the , um , tinnitus and the ringing in the , you know, elaborateSpeaker 1:
For tinnitus .Speaker 2:
Yeah. A lot of people say, soSpeaker 1:
Not hearing loss. Yeah . Accidentally.Speaker 2:
Right. No, I know. And , and thatSpeaker 1:
Apparently the tin is service connected, but the hearing loss, not so much,Speaker 2:
That's a whole nother story, but You can, and you can Google this. I don't remember who it was, but there was just a story that came out the other day about the founder of some, I think it was a restaurant who had long COVID and as a result of the long COVID had severe debilitating tinnitus.Speaker 1:
Um, you know, to the point where he took his own life, because he could not live with the ringing in his ears anymore.Speaker 1:
Holy cow.Speaker 2:
And it made me think of like, you know, it made me sort of think of like our , our veteran and who many already, because of their service have , um, struggles with mental health, depression, anxiety, PTSD , what you name it.Speaker 1:
Yeah. You add nonstop ringing to that.Speaker 2:
They're adding nonstop ringing to the point where, you know, maybe they can't sleep. Maybe they can't concentrate, you know? I mean wow. And it it's something. And , and this is one thing that my firm and , and I do wanna bring this up that we really focus on is like, you know, a vet comes in and tells us what they wanna appeal. Right. Like we call 'em, Hey, I got to deny my PTSD. I wanna appeal it. Okay. We can do that. But what I'm also going to do is I'm going to ask you, okay, well you have PTSD, but what else is going on in your life? What other conditions are you being for ? You know, are you being treated for anything like diabetes, heart disease , uh, bad knees, bad back, what else had, and , and on top of that, what else had you applied for in the past that you denied were denied and uh , maybe either gave up or, you know , just forgot about because you know, a lot of times we, as people , um, get tunnel vision, right? Like this is in front of me. I last week I was denying my PTSD . This I wanna appeal , this is a bull crap. That's all I'm gonna talk about when I call the attorney, my PTSD . But when I get into a file and my staff, we are , we I've trained them. And we're working to think of the veteran, the health as kind of a more, the whole person type of holisticSpeaker 1:
Picture. Yeah .Speaker 2:
Because , and , and here's some of the cases that I've been winning lately because, you know, you can't always rate these conditions in a vacuum. Right. You know , um, you know, physical conditions can cause mental health conditions, mental health conditions can lead to well , physical and mental health conditions can lead to, you know, not making the best choices or not being a , a able to , um, you know, exercise and , or , you know , sanitary lifestyle, maybe eating habits that aren't perfect. And as you're dealing with these conditions over a long period of time, things happen, you know, you might gain weight as a result of that. You might get diabetes or you might get heart disease or, you know, any number of things. And, and if you, if you can show a link back to that initial condition, and like I said before, it doesn't have to be the 100% cause of your condition. Like if you are , if, if your service connected condition even contributes to , um, you know, to the , um, like I said, the Ary lifestyle or the weight gain, and you result in these other conditions by law, that's actually a service related because , you know, had you not had this previous condition, you know, maybe you would have those other conditions. Maybe you wouldn't haveSpeaker 1:
Maybe the , a domino effect there forSpeaker 2:
Sure. Maybe they wouldn't be as bad as they're. So, one thing that I would urge veterans to really think about, and, and the veterans law really is one of the only injury or disability laws where it's actually the standard of proof allows you to make these kind of connections, think about how your whole life has been affected by whatever's going on. You know , um, I all the time find when, when I have , um, veterans with severe physical issues, you know, how is that affecting you mentally? You know, and I , I don't mean to like continuate that there's anything wrong there, but I think about myself and like, you know, what do I love to do? I love to do certain things. What if all of a sudden I had this disability and I couldn't do any of that, how would that, how would I feel about that? I would not be happy. What if I couldn't work? How would I feel about that? I would, again, you know, it , it would be rough, you know, to , to have to deal with that. And , um, uh, you know, and, and the other thing to think about too, is that the, the veteran , um, benefits schedule allows for 10, 20, 30% disability . So, you know , don't have to be completely disabled, right? Like you don't even have to talk about being completely disabled to be eligible. You could just say, Hey, this kind of bothers me. You know, maybe it affects me in a certain way. Maybe it's only a 10%, you know, or it's higher. It , it doesn't, you know , that's the other thing I hear all the time. Oh, it's not that bad. Well, the law doesn't require it to be that, that bad ,Speaker 1:
Right. Just has to be there.Speaker 2:
It has to be there and guess what? It might get worse. And , um, you know, and here's the other sad truth is that the longer you wait, the harder it is to prove that it's related. Right.Speaker 1:
So when in doubt, I mean, overarchingly, if anybody gets anything from this dialogue and it's been very informative, have been very helpful, but file your claim. It doesn't matter who you, I mean, I would suggest you do it through a VSO. Like I personally like the DAV , uh , VFW and American Legion are great as well. I mean, I got my, I got my, my DAV card right here. You know, I'm a , I'm a card lifetime member. Yeah . So I'd suggest doing that.Speaker 2:
The county, the county guys are really good too. Um ,Speaker 1:
Yep . Your , your county, every county has their own veteran services officer, like get, get, get it filed. And if you need , if , if you need help, if you don't like the, the response, sometimes you bring in more firepower and Jim and payback law. I mean, I, like I said, I've, I'm , I'm not getting paid to say this. I personally use him and his team. I've been very satisfied so far. Very, very satisfied. So they're , they're good people over there. Uh, Jim, I, I, this is, we could do this for hours. Maybe we should have a monthly segment or something I really appreciate. Yeah . Appreciate your time and everything. Any closing thoughts you wanna impart on our, on our listeners or viewers?Speaker 2:
Um, you know, I would just say reiterate, like you said, in the beginning that you bought and paid for these benefits as veterans, this is not a handout. It's not us feeling so for anyone and it , it's not it's you paid for an insurance policy by saying, I will give everything up into and including my life for this cause. And as a result of that, you earned and deserve not only all of our respects, but these benefits that you were promised,Speaker 1:
Man, super good information in , in there across the board. What a great interview, great guy, big fan of Jim and his team over there. Taback they do this every day and all day. And, and whether you're in this area or not, they're people like him who have devoted their careers to helping veterans in your area, they're , they're EV they're everywhere. Please don't leave these benefits on the table and don't feel self conscious about seeking them out. And if you get an answer that you feel might not be just from the department of veterans affairs, don't be bashful about ensuring that they, that they got it right. And if they didn't making sure that they get it right, Appreciate you tuning in, see you next week. Thank you for listening to Wisconsin veterans forward, brought to you by the Wisconsin veterans chamber of commerce. Please visit firstname.lastname@example.org . Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast, leave a rating and review in whatever platform you're listening through.