To the uninitiated, the lives of servicemen and women often seem like a series of daring missions and high-octane action. However, they seldom see the life behind the uniform – a life filled with physical and emotional challenges, often carried forward into civilian life as disabilities. I, too, am a Marine with an honorable discharge and a story to tell. This is my journey from a 10% disability rating to a 100% VA (Veterans Affairs) disability rating, a journey I couldn’t have made without Berry Law.
Before we get into my personal story, it’s important to understand what a 100% VA disability rating means. The VA rates disabilities from 0% to 100% in 10% increments to reflect the severity of a disability. A 100% rating signifies that the VA recognizes a veteran’s disability as total and permanent. This rating is not easy to achieve; it requires extensive medical evidence demonstrating the total impairment of a veteran’s ability to work due to service-connected disabilities.
It means you are eligible for the maximum monthly compensation VA offers. This includes not only monetary benefits, but also additional services such as vocational rehabilitation, education assistance, home loan guaranty, insurance, and medical care. However, achieving this rating can be an uphill battle, fraught with bureaucratic red tape and lengthy appeals processes. This is where a knowledgeable and experienced attorney can make all the difference.
When I was discharged from the Marines, I had a dislocated left shoulder, a disability that seemed minor compared to the invisible battle scars I carried with me. The VA initially rated me at 10% disability – a mere token acknowledgment of my sacrifice. I knew I needed help to fight for the benefits I was rightfully entitled to, so I began an online search for a suitable attorney.
This search led me to Berry Law, a veteran-owned law firm specializing in VA disability claims. The firm was founded by John Stevens Berry Sr., who served as a combat officer in Vietnam. He, along with his son, John S. Berry Jr., built a team of attorneys, many of whom are veterans themselves. They’ve been fighting for veterans’ rights not only in the US but across the globe for over 50 years. Having walked the same path, they understood my struggle in a way few could.
Working with Berry Law was a remarkably smooth process. They took care of my needs and provided expert representation. They helped gather all the medical evidence required to demonstrate the severity of my condition. They represented me effectively, and most importantly, they believed in me. They believed that I, like every other veteran, deserved recognition for my sacrifices.
A buddy of mine from the Marines once told me, “Never stop fighting.” As a Marine, I knew what it meant to fight. But this was a different battlefield. In the convoluted labyrinth of legal and medical jargon, I found my adversary not in the form of a human enemy, but a system that seemed indifferent to my struggle.
Berry Law was my ally in this battle. Through their relentless pursuit of justice, they were able to elevate my VA disability rating from 10% to 100%. When I received the news, I was overjoyed. It was a hard-fought victory, an acknowledgment of the struggles I faced, and a testament to the unwavering resilience instilled in me as a Marine.
This achievement was not just about the monetary benefits. It was about getting the recognition that my service, my sacrifice, and my struggle were real and impactful. I can’t put into words the sense of validation and relief that came with this achievement. It was a momentous occasion, a day of victory not just for me, but for all servicemen and women fighting similar battles.
The journey to achieving a 100% VA disability rating can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. My experience with Berry Law taught me that having the right team by your side can make all the difference. They were my allies, my advocates, and my confidants in this battle.
So to any fellow veterans grappling with the VA disability claims process, I share my buddy’s advice: “Never stop fighting.” Your service, your sacrifices, and your struggles deserve acknowledgment. Don’t be afraid to seek help. As I’ve learned, there are people who understand, and they’re ready to fight alongside you. I found my allies at Berry Law, and I hope my story helps you find yours.
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