Starting a VA Claim in Alabama
The process of applying for benefits can begin from any location in the US, regardless of whether you served in that location.
You can use the VA’s website to apply, or seek the help of a VSO (Veterans Service Organization).
See a List of VSOs in Alabama
To get started, you need to complete VA Form 21-526EZ , or apply online through the VA eBenefits portal. If you want the VA to collect medical evidence on your behalf, you must also complete VA Forms 21-4142 and 21-4142a. Other relevant forms include VA Form 21-0781 or 21-0781a for PTSD claims, and VA Form 21-8940 and 21-4192 for Individual Unemployability (TDIU). The forms must be signed and dated, packaged with any evidence you wish for the VA to consider, and either mailed to the VA Evidence Intake Center in Janesville, Wisconsin, or faxed to the VA at the number listed on the form.
Initial claims generally take several months to process, so patience may be required.
It is a good idea to put in an initial claim as soon as possible to set an early effective date for your claim. Once set, the effective date will not change regardless of how long it takes to fully settle a claim, which can take years. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran should receive back pay at the monthly rate they are entitled to reaching from the final decision date all the way back to the effective date.
It is important to keep in mind that the effective date can be lost if you don’t maintain appeals for your claims. For example, if you have one year to file a notice of disagreement but miss the deadline, you may have to reopen your claim resulting in a new effective date. This is one reason it is so important to appeal decisions thoroughly, to keep the effective date in place and receive all the compensation for their disabilities that they earned. See below for additional information about appealing VA decisions in Alabama.
The effective date for each disability claim is independent so an early effective date for a claim based on knee pain will usually not apply to an initial claim for PTSD submitted years later.
Submitting a VA Appeal in Alabama
Unfortunately, the VA does not always make the correct decision for a Veteran’s initial claim. When initial claims are denied, given a lower-than-expected rating, or applied to an incorrect effective date, the Veteran has the right to appeal.
There are separate avenues for appeal depending on what kind of mistake the VA made. Berry Law helps Veterans cut through the red tape and file high quality appeals that have been a crucial part of helping Veterans get the compensation they sacrificed for, including back pay. Berry Law Firm has helped its clients recover over $100 Million in backpay over decades of client service.
We have attorneys and advocates in various locations throughout the US, but the location of your attorney does not actually impact the process because all claims are Federally adjudicated. So, your Alabama VA disability attorney does not need to be physically present in Alabama to represent you in your fight for disability compensation. We have helped clients in Alabama, and each of the other 49 states, along with Veterans living abroad.
Some appeals processes can last years, but as long as you have preserved your effective date by keeping appeals open, you are entitled to back pay for the whole period of the process.
The first type of appeal is usually a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). This form notifies the VA that you disagree with the decision that has been made. An NOD can simply state “I disagree”, or can include substantial amounts of supporting evidence The Regional Office in Alabama is located at: 345 Perry Hill Road Montgomery, AL 36109
The Regional Office responds to NODs with a Statement of Case (SOC), which outlines of the case and is sent to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). The BVA will issue a decision that may or may not satisfy the Veteran. If you feel that the BVA has made an incorrect ruling, the next step is to appeal to the CAVC.
If you would like help appealing a VA decision in Alabama you can contact an Alabama VA disability attorney at Berry Law to schedule a free consultation on what your options may be.
Selecting a VA Certified Appeals Attorney in Alabama
Not every Alabama VA disability attorney is the same. If you decide to hire an attorney to help with your claim, it is a good idea to select one that will continue working with you throughout the multi-year process, and who has experience with appeals at every step of the process. You may want to use a Firm with a long history of representing Veterans to make sure they will still be representing you if your case lasts for several years. Beware of firms that only began practicing Veterans Law after 2007 when it became more “profitable” for them.
The hardest aspect to select for is how effective your lawyer will be at presenting your case with research, evidence, and arguments. While number of years of practice can serve as a proxy, it’s hard to gauge work product until it’s done. Testimonials and reviews can provide additional insight that may help you determine how well the firm has done for other Veterans.
It’s also important to many Veterans to have lawyers who are themselves Veterans. Utilizing an Alabama VA appeals lawyer who has deployed or mobilized can facilitate better communication and reduce the amount of time that you need to spend explaining how the military works. Fellow Veterans often make great wingmen when it comes to helping you work through difficult situations. Will your law firm understand the intense stress of combat?
Making the right decision when hiring an Alabama VA disability attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
Contact a Dedicated Alabama Veterans Disability Attorney
Berry Law Firm was established by Vietnam Veteran John Stevens Berry, Sr. During a JAG tour in Vietnam, he successfully defended Green Berets against murder charges, among other courtroom victories for his fellow servicemembers, resulting in major news coverage and an elite reputation. After leaving the service, he opened his own firm focused on criminal defense, but where he also represented many Veterans on a pro bono basis against the VA. The firm is now run by John S. Berry, Jr., who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the National Guard, after serving in both Bosnia and Iraq during Active Duty periods. John has helped grow the firm while keeping its roots in military work ethic and values.
On our staff are Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force Veterans. We have attorneys hailing from each branch, and feature both Officers and Enlisted, who left the service ranking between E2 and O6. Our Veterans served during every major conflict since Vietnam, and have the accompanying ribbon racks of sustained superior service to the country. Also on staff are Reservists and National Guardsmen still wearing the uniform.
An Alabama VA disability attorney from Berry Law will bring both passion for the military and passion for the law to help Alabama Veterans in their fight for disability benefits.
Serving Clients Throughout Alabama
Berry Law represents Veterans throughout Alabama , including in:
- Phenix City
- Vestavia Hills
Resources for Veterans in Alabama
VSOs in Alabama
VSOs can help you file an initial claim. The VA recognizes some VSOs to help prepare and present claims to the VA.
Local chapters in Alabama include:
- Mims-Russell Memorial AMVETS – Post 21, located in Athens, Alabama
- Wiregrass Area, AMVETS Service Center – Post 23, located in Opp, Alabama
- Lower Alabama AMVETS – Post 2018, located in Elberta, Alabama
The American Legion
- Matthew Blount Post 555, Pelham AL
- Fowl River Post 250, Theodore AL
- Locust Fort Post 2014, Locust Fort AL
- Ryan Winslow Post 911, Hoover AL
- Ronald G. “Rock” Rhoades Post 201, Huntsville AL
- Millbrook Post 133, Millbrook AL
- Cook Clements Post 73, Enterprise AL
- Madison Post 229, Madison AL
- Carlisle B. Grisham Post 49, Athens AL
- Bay Minette Post 188, Bay Minette AL
- Fletcher-McCollister Post 135, Phenix City AL
- Post 88, Mobile AL
- Clayton E. Moneymaker, Post 237, Huntsville AL
- Gulf Shores Post 44, Gulf Shores AL
- Fairhope Post 199, Fairhope AL
- Thomas R. Mackin Post 20, Selma AL
- Morgan County Post 15, Decatur AL
- Wallace-New Post 76, Mobile AL
- Sylacauga Post 45, Sylacauga AL
- McCray-Moody Post 34, Tuscaloosa AL
- Wetumpka Post 7, Wetumpka AL
- Madison Post 229, Madison AL
- VFW Post 4767 (Park-Miller Post) Aliceville, Alabama
- VFW Post 924 (George N. Meredith Post) Anniston, Alabama
- VFW Post 6226 (Arab Post) Arab, Alabama #NUM!
- VFW Post 7016 (Atmore Post) Atmore, Alabama
- VFW Post 5404 (E. W. Allgood Memorial Post) Auburn, Alabama
- VFW Post 3568 (Bradley-Mc Dowell Post) Bay Minette, Alabama
- VFW Post 1762 (Bailey Rogers Post) Bessemer, Alabama
- VFW Post 668 (Kelly Ingram Post) Birmingham, Alabama
- VFW Post 6837 (Jimmy Harris Post) Boaz, Alabama
- VFW Post 6173 (Brookside Memorial Post) Brookside, Alabama
- VFW Post 7055 (Brundidge Post) Brundidge, Alabama
- VFW Post 3223 (Lenoir-Lawley Post) Butler, Alabama
- VFW Post 3193 (Chilton County Post) Clanton, Alabama
- VFW Post 2214 (Howard F. Paddock Post) Cullman, Alabama
- VFW Post 6020 (Francis J. “Frank” Ballard Post) Daleville, Alabama
- VFW Post 4190 (Lanier-Hine Post) Decatur, Alabama
- VFW Post 3073 (Wiregrass Post) Dothan, Alabama
- VFW Post 5035 (Harper-Mc Clellan Post) East Tallassee, Alabama
- VFW Post 5658 (Kichler-Pippen Post) Elberta, Alabama
- VFW Post 6683 (John Wiley Brock Post) Enterprise, Alabama
- VFW Post 5850 (Eufaula Memorial Post) Eufaula, Alabama
- VFW Post 5660 (Gaston-Lee Post) Fairhope, Alabama
- VFW Post 10774 (Falkville Post) Falkville, Alabama
- VFW Post 5406 (James Black-Nichols Brothers Post) Fayette, Alabama
- VFW Post 5140 (Florence Post) Florence, Alabama
- VFW Post 5180 (Ft.Mitchell Post) Fort Mitchell, Alabama
- VFW Post 3128 (De Kalb County Post) Fort Payne, Alabama
- VFW Post 2760 (Whorton-Dykes Post) Gadsden, Alabama
- VFW Post 8600 (Wilson Parris Post) Gadsden, Alabama
- VFW Post 10408 (Crawford Abel Post) Glencoe, Alabama
- VFW Post 5173 (The Guntersville Memorial Post) Guntersville, Alabama
- VFW Post 4543 (Hayes-Pannell Post) Haleyville, Alabama
- VFW Post 4623 (Hand Brothers Memorial Post) Heflin, Alabama
- VFW Post 2702 (Gentry-Isom Post) Huntsville, Alabama
- VFW Post 5162 (South Huntsville Post) Huntsville, Alabama
- VFW Post 5355 (Frank Coxwell Jr. Post) Jackson, Alabama
- VFW Post 4850 (Marvin Lee Ferguson Post) Jasper, Alabama
- VFW Post 5377 (Marengo Memorial Post) Linden, Alabama
- VFW Post 9581 (Lineville Post) Lineville, Alabama
- VFW Post 5848 (Lisman Memorial Post) Lisman, Alabama
- VFW Post 5104 (Hughes-Mc Collum Post) Marion, Alabama
- VFW Post 49 (General Robert L. Bullard Post) Mobile, Alabama
- VFW Post 8485 (James C. Marshall Post) Monroeville, Alabama
- VFW Post 96 (Smith-Wynn Post) Montgomery, Alabama
- VFW Post 4176 (Arthur W. Ansley Post) Montgomery, Alabama
- VFW Post 10366 (Homer Mitchell Jr. Post) Montgomery, Alabama
- VFW Post 5732 (Pearson-Johnson-Owens Post) Opelika, Alabama
- VFW Post 6622 (Opp Post) Opp, Alabama
- VFW Post 4448 (Ozark Post) Ozark, Alabama
- VFW Post 4758 (Pell City Post) Pell City, Alabama
- VFW Post 1349 (Tri-County Memorial Post) Prattville, Alabama
- VFW Post 6652 (Ragland Post) Ragland, Alabama
- VFW Post 4388 (Red Level Post) Red Level, Alabama
- VFW Post 5568 (Reform Post) Reform, Alabama
- VFW Post 5226 (Price-Wilsey Post) Robertsdale, Alabama
- VFW Post 5846 (East Lauderdale Memorial Post) Rogersville, Alabama
- VFW Post 5184 (Kelley-Dickinson Post) Russellville, Alabama
- VFW Post 7320 (J. L. Thomas Post) Saraland, Alabama
- VFW Post 6073 (Fallen Comrades Post) Scottsboro, Alabama
- VFW Post 3016 (Selma Post) Selma, Alabama
- VFW Post 4919 (Thomas G. Karg Post) Sheffield, Alabama
- VFW Post 8640 (Long-Hodges-Lowe Post) Sheffield, Alabama
- VFW Post 4426 (Orma Lee Sorrells Post) Slocomb, Alabama
- VFW Post 5228 (William Earl Stone Memorial Post) Smiths, Alabama
- VFW Post 3229 (Springville Post) Springville, Alabama
- VFW Post 10564 (North Jackson Post) Stevenson, Alabama
- VFW Post 4261 (Conner-Davis Post) Talladega, Alabama
- VFW Post 5106 (Benson-Jackson-Mathers Post) Thomasville, Alabama
- VFW Post 4328 (Robert H. Miller Post) Tillman’S Corner, Alabama
- VFW Post 8362 (Town Creek Memorial Post) Town Creek, Alabama
- VFW Post 6022 (South Tuscaloosa County Post) Tuscaloosa, Alabama
- VFW Post 4545 (Harris-Mosley-Tressville Post) Tuskegee, Alabama
- VFW Post 5980 (Walker Banks Perry and Smith Post) Union Springs, Alabama
- VFW Post 4572 (Smith-Leonard Post) Wetumpka, Alabama
VA Facilities in Alabama
A few of the VA facilities in Alabama include:
- Montgomery Regional Office 345 Perry Hill Road Montgomery, AL 36109
- Intake Site at Fort Rucker ACAP Center Fort Rucker, AL 36362
- Intake Site at Maxwell Air Force Base Maxwell-Gunter Transition Services Maxwell Air Force Base, AL 36112
- Intake Site at Redstone Arsenal Military Personnel Office Redstone Arsenal, AL 35758
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: Montgomery Office 603 Interstate Park Drive Montgomery, AL 36109
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: Birmingham Office 950 22nd St. North, #777 Birmingham, AL 35203
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: Huntsville Office 400 Meridian St. Huntsville, AL 35801
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: Mobile Office 900 Western America Circle #104 Mobile, AL 36609
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: Daleville Office 807 Donnell Blvd., #1 Daleville, AL 36322
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: Pensacola Office 1009 N. 12th Ave. Pensacola, FL 32501
- Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: Fort Walton Beach Office 411 NE Racetrack Road Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
- Alabama National Cemetery 3133 Alabama 119 Montevallo, AL 35115
- Fort Mitchell National Cemetery 553 Alabama 165 Fort Mitchell, AL 36856
- Mobile National Cemetery 1202 Virginia St. Mobile, AL 36604
- Birmingham VA Medical Center (Medical Center), Birmingham, AL
- Central Alabama Veterans HCS West Campus (Medical Center), Montgomery, AL
- Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center (Medical Center), Tuscaloosa, AL
- Central Alabama Veterans HCS East Campus (Medical Center), Tuskegee, AL
- Dothan Mental Health Clinic (Outpatient Clinic), Dothan, AL
- Selma OPC (Outpatient Clinic), Selma, AL
- Bessemer CBOC (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Bessemer, AL
- Birmingham VA Clinic (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Birmingham, AL
- Childersburg CBOC (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Childersburg, AL
- Dothan CBOC (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Dothan, AL
- Wiregrass CBOC (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Fort Rucker, AL
- Gadsden CBOC (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Gadsden, AL
- Guntersville CBOC (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Guntersville, AL
- Huntsville Clinic (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Huntsville, AL
- Jasper Clinic (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Jasper, AL
- Mobile OPC (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Mobile, AL
- VA OPC Monroeville (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Monroeville, AL
- Anniston/Oxford Clinic (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Oxford, AL
- Shoals Area (Florence) Clinic (Community Based Outpatient Clinic), Sheffield, AL
- Birmingham Vet Center (Vet Center), Hoover, AL
- Huntsville Vet Center (Vet Center), Huntsville, AL
- Mobile Vet Center (Vet Center), Mobile, AL
- Montgomery Vet Center (Vet Center), Montgomery, AL