America’s Veterans are entitled to due compensation that they sacrificed for while defending America, including Veterans living in Arkansas, home to roughly 238,000 Veterans. The Census Bureau calculates that roughly 19% of these Veterans have a service-connected disability rating (the average state is 17%). However, there are others who may have incurred disabling injuries yet do not have a VA disability rating. An Arkansas VA disability attorney from Berry Law could help you fight for the disability benefits you deserve.
Berry Law Firm has represented Veterans and servicemembers in every state. We fight for Veterans’ disability appeals at every VA Regional Office in America, and are dedicated to ensuring Veterans’ rights are protected. If you have been denied VA benefits, or are unhappy with your rating decision, you may want to enlist the support of an Arkansas Veterans disability appeal attorney. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in Arkansas.
Getting started with a VA disability claim can begin from any location in the US, regardless of where you served.
You can apply directly online through the VA, or use the services of a Veterans Service Organization (VSO).
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. Additional forms may be required if you are filing a claim for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or for Total Disability based upon 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 important to start your claim early to establish an early effective date. The effective date remains in place regardless of how long it takes to fully adjudicate a claim, which may last several years depending on the individual claims. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran is entitled to back pay at the monthly rate they are entitled to reaching from the final decision date all the way back to the effective date.
You should also know that the effective date can be lost if you don’t maintain appeals for your claims. For instance, if you have 90 days to file a VAF-9 but miss the deadline, you may have to reopen your claim resulting in a new effective date. One reason that Veterans fight so hard to appeal VA decisions is to keep the effective date in place and get all the compensation you are entitled to. See below for additional information about appealing VA decisions in Arkansas.
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 a gastrointestinal claim initially filed years later.
Despite a solid claim, the VA Regional Office may nonetheless make an improper decision for a Veteran’s initial disability benefits claim. If an initial claim is denied, rated too low, or given an improper 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 simplify the process for our clients, crafting well researched appeals that have achieved desired results for Veterans for decades.
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. Berry Law has helped Veterans in Arkansas, and every other state in America, along with Veterans in US territories and foreign countries.
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. NODs can be as simple as filling out the form and commenting “I disagree”, or can include dozens of pages of supporting material. The Regional Office in Arkansas is located at: 2200 Fort Roots Drive, Building 65 North Little Rock, AR 72114.
The Regional Office will reply with a Statement of Case (SOC), which presents the state of the case and is sent to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). The BVA will review the material to make its own determination. If you are unsatisfied with the BVA decision, you can then appeal to the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) for further adjudication.
If you would like help appealing a VA decision in Arkansas please contact the team of attorneys at Berry Law Firm for more information and a free consultation.
Not every Arkansas VA disability attorney is equally equipped to help you bring firepower to your appeal. If you would like to use an attorney, you should pick one that will stick with you for the duration of your case, and who has represented Veterans with every type of appeal. 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. Some firms only recently added Veterans Appeals to their Social Security practice and are not invested in actually helping Veterans.
The hardest aspect to select for is how effective your lawyer will be at presenting your case with research, evidence, and arguments. More experience often translates to superior work product, but not always. You may want to read reviews and testimonials from a potential law firm before signing up. You may also want to ask about the level of research they perform on each individual case and what some of their most effective arguments have been in the past.
You may also want to focus on attorneys who have actually served in the military. Utilizing an Arkansas VA appeals lawyer who has military experience can facilitate better communication and eliminate the need to explain your military experiences to someone without similar experience. Nothing can replace the camaraderie developed through shared service experiences. Will your law firm understand the intense stress of combat?
Lastly, you may want to gauge responsiveness to your inquiry to see how likely the attorney is to help quickly when you really need it.
Berry Law Firm was founded in 1965 by John Stevens Berry, Sr., who spent part of his time in the Army serving in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, Berry successfully defended the Green Berets in a highly publicized murder case, earning him significant national praise. After leaving the service, he opened his own firm focused on criminal defense, but where he also helped Veterans with legal work, particularly supporting fellow Vietnam Veterans who had been disabled in service. The firm is now run by John S. Berry, Jr., who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the National Guard, after earlier Active Duty tours in both Bosnia and Iraq. John has helped grow the firm while keeping its roots in military work ethic and values.
The firm employs Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force Veterans. We have attorneys hailing from each branch, and feature both Officers and Enlisted, with service ranks ranging from E2 – O6 (including an E9). Our Veterans served during every major conflict since Vietnam, and combined have earned hundreds of awards, ribbons, and commendations for their service. We also have Reservists and National Guardsmen still wearing the uniform.
We combine our military and legal training to assist Arkansas Veterans with their legal needs.
Berry Law represents Veterans throughout Arkansas, including in:
VSOs in Arkansas
VSOs can help you file an initial claim. Certain VSOs are recognized by the VA to help Veterans file claims.
VSO locations in Arkansas include:
The American Legion
Examples of VA locations in Arkansas include:
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