That's why one La Jolla law firm is on a mission to help as many veterans as possible get the help they need.
Since 2014, Veterans Law Group has helped hundreds of wounded warriors navigate the often difficult claims process to receive over $40 million towards their benefits. According to CEO Amanda Mineer, the group usually works with veterans dealing with orthopedic injuries, mental disease (such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression), and health concerns related to Agent Orange.
“We work with them to get a higher percentage rating or granting,” Mineer said, adding that common problems veterans face is a mix of VA bureaucracy and a lack of concentration from the veterans due to their disabilities.
"Many of our veterans are struggling with PTSD or traumatic brain injuries, which can affect the concentration and patience needed to go through that kind of paperwork.”
While there are a lot of organizations out there that can help veterans fill out the paperwork necessary to file, the Veterans Law Group takes it a step further. Mineer says her group helps them organize what medical records are needed to prove their case and how to increase their chances of approval.
“Our perspective is to really be an advocate for them,” she said. "I would say that our job is to make it easy for the VA to grant their case. Put all the ducks in a row, highlight the things that need to be highlighted and make it easy.”
Mineer said she was first inspired to get into this kind of work after she witnessed the kind of hardships that can occur for veterans first hand. A friend of her's was deployed to Iraq for 18 months. When he got back, she said he was a “different person,” and struggled from PTSD.
“When he first got out of the military, he came down to San Diego, and I remember driving with him and seeing a veteran on the street with a cardboard sign. And he said to me, 'I don't understand why there are all these homeless people that are veterans. There's so much help for them at the VA.’”
“Fast forward a couple of months later, and he was trying to get help from his education benefits to his disability payments. He got and lost several jobs over a period of three years and was staying in my house because he had nowhere else to go. Then he realized why it was so hard.”
Mineer helped her friend get Individual Unemployability benefits through the VA so he could find some stability and live on his own. That's when she realized she wanted to continue to help other veterans.
“He’s doing better. He still struggles with PTSD, and it definitely didn’t solve all of his problems, but if I can at least help get them financial stability then they can turn around and look at ways to get treatment. But it’s hard to get that when you’re worried about money and feeding your kids.”
While Mineer is fighting the good fight for disabled veterans on a daily basis, she said there are little things everyone can do to make sure they feel the appreciation they deserve.
“The biggest thing is acknowledging veterans for their service,” Mineer said. “Picking up their lunch or buying them a drink, it’s all simple stuff but it’s helpful.”
For more information about the Veteran’s Law Group, visit veteranslaw.com.