Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

NOVA Comes to Pittsburgh!

The National Organization of Veterans Advocates (NOVA) will gather in the Steel City for its Spring 2014 conference from April 23rd-26th

QR attorney Michael V. Quatrini has been added to the conference planning team.

To learn more about NOVA, follow the following link:


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Congress Approves Benefits Increase

Disabled veterans will receive slightly larger benefit checks next year under legislation sent to President Barack Obama’s desk this week, but efforts to make such cost-of-living adjustments automatic failed again to win approval from Congress.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to give final approval to a bill giving disabled veterans and the survivors of deceased vets a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase.

The same measure was passed by the U.S. Senate in late October, so it now heads to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

View the entire article here:


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pittsburgh TV Reporter Paul Van Osdol Chronicles the Long Wait of QR Veteran

 Paul Van Osdol from Pittsburgh television station WTAE recently visited Quatrini Rafferty's office in Pittsburgh to interview our client, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. 

INVESTIGATIVE REPORT: Pittsburgh Vet's 50 year battle with the government | Investigations - WTAE Home

The Veterans Disability Compensation @ Quatrini Rafferty

Greensburg   Pittsburgh   Latrobe

Friday, June 7, 2013

"I Was Awarded Social Security Disability for My Service Connected Conditions...Does That Mean I Am Automatically Eligible for Unemployability Benefits (TDIU)?"

The short answer:   No.

Now the long answer...

The Social Security Administration and the Veterans Administration use different standards to determine whether someone is unable to work.

The Social Security Administration uses a five-step process to decide whether an individual is able or unable to perform "Substantial Gainful Activity" on a consistent basis.  What type of work did they do in the past?  How old is the individual? Can the individual show up for work eight hours a day for each of the five days per week?  Can they maintain concentration for 85-90% of the work day?  Would they miss too may days in a month?  

What is important to note is that an individual can be rendered "disabled" by the Social Security Administration and still be "able" to perform some level of work - maybe part-time work or, depending on age, full-time sedentary (age 50-54) or light (age 55-59) level work.  

What is also important to highlight is that the Social Security Administration may have based their decision on both service-connected and non-service connected conditions. 

In contrast, the Veterans Administration will evaluate only service-connected conditions.  Step one for the VA to determine eligibility for unemployability / TDIU (Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability) is to ask whether the veteran:

  • has a a single service connected disability rated at 60% or more, or
  • has two or more service-connected disabilities where the total rating is 70% and at least one disability is 40% or more.

If it is determined that the veteran meets the above criteria, the VA will then evaluate whether the veteran can perform a "substantially gainful occupation" due to their service-connected conditions.  Substantial gainful occupation has been defined by the Veterans Administration as an occupation that would provide a veteran with an annual income that exceeds the federal poverty level for one individual.

Note the distinction:  SSA is looking at whether you can perform "substantial gainful activity" of $1,000 or more per month, on a full-time basis, whereas the VA is trying to determine whether your service-related conditions preclude working at a poverty-level income. 

Make no mistake, an award from Social Security Disability is a helpful tool for pursuing a claim for unemployability/TDIU benefits.  However, it takes understanding the nuance between the two programs - something we know well from handling a large volume of both cases - to make sure the veterans receives the maximum amount of benefits.

If you have been denied unemployability benefits / TDIU by the VA, call (888-534-6016) or email our firm to set up a consultation at our offices in Greensburg, Pittsburgh or Latrobe.  We are also happy to speak over the phone to help you through the legal maze that is the VA.

- The Veterans Disability Law Group at Quatrini Rafferty

Greensburg     Pittsburgh     Latrobe

Note:  The above discussion is simple and generic.  Each case is different and requires a review of the facts by our office and most likely a consultation with medical/vocational resources. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A good start to the week...

Two remands from the Board of Veterans Appeals...sarcoidosis issue, and, combined back injury / GERD claim...

...and a successful application for benefits from the Pittsburgh Regional Office.


- Veterans Disability Compensation Group at Quatrini Rafferty

Greensburg     Pittsburgh     Latrobe

Monday, May 20, 2013

Diabetes Progressing to Neuropathy: Pain with Every Step

Sadly, as those with diabetes know, diabetic neuropathy of the hands and feet make the simple locomotive functions of life painful:

If your service-related diabetes has progressed into diabetic neuropathy, you may be entitled to increased benefits from the VA.

- Veterans Disability Law Group at Quatrini Rafferty

Greensburg      Pittsburgh       Latrobe 


Thursday, May 16, 2013

...and taking each opportunity to discuss the painful veterans backlog with the people in charge

Afternoon meeting with staff of Pennsylvania Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. to discuss our clients' experiences with the backlog, and, what we think can be done to right the ship


Taking Every Opportunity to Learn...

Attending the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (N.O.S.S.C.R.) annual conference in Washington, D.C....great session on TBI and PTSD


- Veterans Disability Law Group at Quatrini Rafferty

Serving veterans in Pennsylvania, and the surrounding states, from our offices in Greensburg, Pittsburgh, and Latrobe

Monday, April 15, 2013

Veterans Resource Fair - Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Veterans Administration is hosting a resource fair for all veterans on May 21, 2013:

  • Vocational services
  • Healthcare info
  • VA eligibility
  • VA housing information

10:00 AM TO 2:00 PM


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) for Veterans & Work Injuries

Compensated Work Therapy (CWT)  is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) vocational rehabilitation program that provides veterans with work ready skills in an effort to launch them back into the workforce.  These experiences range from desk work to heavy labor, for which the veterans receive a steady paycheck from the Veterans Administration.  

Despite receiving a paycheck directly from the Veterans Administration, these working veterans are not considered "employees" of the VA.  Which means...what happens when a veteran is injured "on the job"? 

38 U.S.C. 1151 allows a veteran injured in the CWT program to receive compensation for injuries sustained in the course and scope of their duties in the program.

There are two ways to approach compensation for the work injury:

  • File a tort claim against the Veterans Administration outlining the standard damages associated with the work injury;
  • File a claim through the same disability system used for veterans seeking service-connected disabilities.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Def. Secretary Hagel to Focus On Earlier Onset Date for Camp LeJeune Chemical Exposure

Newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has pledged to help Marines find answers about three decades worth of contaminated drinking water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp LeJeune. 

Under the new law signed by President Obama last August, for the first time veterans and family members who lived or worked at the base from 1957 - 1987 can receive government-funded hospitalization and medical services for 15 specific ailments linked to contaminated water at the base.

Scientists from the federal government recently announced that they discovered contaminated water at two additional water distribution systems as far back as August 1953, four years earlier than previous findings. A detailed report on the sources of contamination is expected later this year from CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). For more information on ATSDR and the studies at Camp LeJeune, visit:

Veterans disability compensation is a full-time practice area at our offices in Greensburg, Pittsburgh and Latrobe.  In 2012, Quatrini Rafferty was able to obtain full service-connection, and a 100% disability percentage, for our client - a Camp LeJeune vet - by working with our clients treating oncologist and hematologist to get medical nexus reports.  For more information about veterans disability legal services at QR, please call us at 888-534-6016 or visit our Veterans Disability Benefits page.

Serving veterans in Pennsylvania, and the surrounding states, from our offices in Greensburg, Pittsburgh, and Latrobe

Monday, March 4, 2013

QR Gets Vietnam Vet Service-Connected for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Our client from Westmoreland County applied for, and was denied, service-connection for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  He had a previous unfavorable decision.  

The Army veteran served a year-long tour in Vietnam.

QR helped the client appeal his Ratings Determination to the Regional Office in Pittsburgh.  A hearing was held with a Decision Review Officer and which point testimony was taken from the veteran regarding his experiences and his treatment.

Working with the client's treating psychiatrist, QR was able to attack the thoroughness and credibility of the examinations performed by the Veterans Administration.  

Following the hearing, a favorable Statement of the Case was issued granting full service-connection.  The veteran was awarded an ongoing disability percentage, and, retroactive benefits back to the day of his application.



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Military Service Records: How Can I Get a Copy?

Many veterans, as they left the service, never received a copy of their service treatment records.  These documents are very important as they can reveal medical treatment for in-service conditions or disabilities.  They often times serve as the smoking gun for winning a service-connected benefit.

Most veterans can obtain free copies of their DD Form 214 (Report of Separation) and other military and medical records by requesting them online at the website of the U.S. National Archives.
Go to and click on "Veterans' Service Records", and follow the instructions.
OR GO DIRECTLY TO the Military Service Records page of the National Archives at:

Serving veterans in Pennsylvania, and the surrounding states, from our offices in Greensburg, Pittsburgh, and Latrobe

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Will the Looming Sequester Affect Veterans?

How will the looming sequester affect veterans?

Luckily, the White House has shielded VA disability benefits, veterans education funds, and health care services from the automatic spending cuts enacted by Congress. All of these benefits will continue uninterrupted.

However, other veterans programs are not so lucky:


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Camp LeJeune and Veterans Disability

From the 1950s through the 1980s, people living or working at the U.S. Marine Corps base in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals.
Under a law signed Aug. 6, 2012, Veterans and family members who served on active duty or resided at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between Jan. 1, 1957 and Dec. 31, 1987 may be eligible for medical care through VA for 15 health conditions:
   Esophageal cancer
   Breast cancer
   Kidney cancer
   Multiple myeloma
   Renal toxicity
   Female infertility
   Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
   Lung cancer
   Bladder cancer
   Myelodysplastic syndromes
   Hepatic steatosis
   Neurobehavioral effects

While none of the conditions above qualify for presumptive status, veterans may still pursue direct service connection through a medical nexus letter. 

In 2012, Quatrini Rafferty was able to obtain full service-connection, and a 100% disability percentage, for our client - a Camp LeJeune vet and current Westmoreland County resident - by working with our client's treating oncologist and hematologist to get medical nexus reports.

- Veterans Disability Law Group at Quatrini Rafferty