The 3 R’s of Virginia Retirement System Disability
Years ago, most anyone could have told you that the 3 R’s of education are “reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic.” Those subjects are still thought to be the foundations of education. In Virginia Retirement System disability, the 3 R’s are not separate components but instead reflect a statement that must be followed to win: RIGHT RECORDS REQUIRED!
Let’s repeat that. In Virginia Retirement System disability, one of the most important things to remember if you are going to win your case is “Right Records Required.” In other words, you must make sure that VRS has the most supportive records available and that they are not conflicting. Read our article on the basics of filing a VRS claim here.
The Virginia Retirement System looks evaluates disability claims through its Medical Review Board. The Board is made up of four independent physicians who are given the duties of investigating the claims and then submitting their expert recommendations to VRS. When evaluating disability claims, the Medical Review Board must determine whether 3 conditions exist. Those conditions are:
(1) the VRS member is and has been mentally or physically unable to perform his or her job since filing the VRS application
(2) the member’s disability from the job is likely to be permanent; and,
(3) the member should be retired.
In Social Security Disability, the opinion of the disabled person’s treating physician is supposed to carry the greatest weight when there are conflicting medical opinions. However, with VRS disability, the Medical Review Board has to resolve any conflict in the medical records.
In a nutshell, what this means is that, to win at VRS, you have to make sure your medical opinion records from your doctors are supportive and not in conflict with each other. If there are conflicts in the medical records, the VRS Medical Review Board gets to decide which records they will believe. They get to decide whether they believe you are disabled. If there is a conflict in the medical records, there is a good chance that the Medical Review Board will not rule in your favor.
If the Medical Review Board rules against you, an appeal to a Virginia Circuit Court is frequently an uphill battle. In fact, if you lose your case at the Medical Review Board level, a Virginia Circuit Court must view the facts in the case in the light most favorable to VRS. In this situation, it can seem like the cards are stacked against. you.
Read more about VRS claims in our article “Virginia Retirement System Red Tape”
How To Make Sure Your Records Are In Agreement?
Winning disability from the Virginia Retirement System can be a difficult and complex task. Since, you might only get one shot at winning VRS, you need to make sure your claim is filed correctly and completely. Because the process can be so confusing, it is easy to make errors or leave out something which VRS thinks is important. Making a mistake on the application or at the independent fact finding level can be disastrous for your claim.
Talk To An Experienced VRS Disability Lawyer
At the Ritchie Law Firm, we develop a strategy to obtain the most supportive medical opinions and records possible. We build your VRS case from the beginning with that idea in mind. Then, armed with the strongest medical record possible, we are prepared to present your case at the VRS Medical Review Board.
Your legal team at the Ritchie Law Firm has the experience to handle your VRS disability case and get you the benefits you are seeking. Talk to us about your case. We’ll talk to you for free with no strings attached. There will be no pressure to hire us if you’d rather handle the case on your own. But, most importantly, you’ll get the information you need to make sure your VRS disability claim is handled properly and without costly mistakes. Click here or call us today for a free case evaluation.