VA Disability Appeals in Colorado
All of our Veterans should receive the benefits that they sacrificed for in the service of our country, and this includes Veterans in Colorado, home to approximately 400,000 Veterans. The Census Bureau calculates that roughly 25% of that group have at least one service-connected disability (the national average is 17%). However, there are others who may have incurred disabling injuries yet do not have a VA disability rating.
Berry Law Firm has represented Veterans and servicemembers in all 50 states. We pursue Veterans’ disability appeals at every VA Regional Office in the United States and are dedicated to ensuring Veterans’ rights are protected. If you have been denied VA benefits, or received an inadequate rating or effective date, you could benefit from the help of a Colorado VA-certified disability advocate. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in Colorado.
Getting started with a VA disability claim 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 get help from a local VSO (Veterans Service Organization). There are many VSOs in Colorado dedicated to supporting Veterans, and they are usually very skilled at submitting initial claims to the VA.
To get started, you need to complete VA Form 21-526EZ or apply online through the VA eBenefits portal. You can also submit VA Forms 21-4142 and 21-4142a if you want the VA to assist in gathering medical evidence on your behalf. Additional forms that you may need to submit include forms for PTSD (0781 or 0781a) and TDIU (21-8940 and 21-4192). Once completed, these forms can be submitted to the VA to get it reviewed.
Initial claims can take a long time to process, so patience is often necessary.
It is important to start your claim early 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 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.
It is important to keep in mind 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 be forced 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 Colorado.
Each individual disability claim has its own effective date based on when it was first claimed, 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.
Even the most thoroughly prepared claim for benefits may not yield the desired result for a Veteran’s initial claim. When initial claims are denied, given a lower-than-expected rating, or applied to an incorrect effective date, you can appeal the decision.
You can appeal in several different ways depending on how the decision was reached. The attorneys at Berry Law help simplify the process while crafting well researched appeals that have achieved desired outcomes for Veterans for decades.
We have representatives in multiple cities, but the location of your attorney does not actually impact the process because all claims are Federally adjudicated. We have helped clients in Colorado, and each of the other 49 states, along with Veterans in US territories and foreign countries.
The appeals procedure can be long, but if 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). The NOD, usually due within one year of a rating decision, 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 with this rating decision”, or can include dozens of pages of supporting material.
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 issue a decision that may or may not satisfy the Veteran. 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 are wanting help appealing a VA decision in Colorado, contact the team of attorneys at Berry Law for a free consultation.
Not every Colorado VA disability attorney is the same. If you decide to hire an attorney to help with your claim, you should pick one that will stick with you for the duration of your case, 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. Some firms only recently added Veterans Appeals to their Social Security practice and are not invested in helping Veterans.
The most difficult trait to evaluate is how well your lawyer will perform when it comes to extensive research, well-structured arguments, and compelling evidence. 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.
Military service may also be important to you. Selecting a Colorado VA appeals lawyer who has deployed or mobilized may help improve understand of your situation and reduce the amount of time that you need to spend explaining how the military works. 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. While developing a criminal defense practice, he also helped Veterans with legal work, particularly supporting fellow Vietnam Veterans who had been disabled in service. His son, John S. Berry, Jr., is now the Managing Partner of the Firm, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Nebraska National Guard, where he held multiple Command positions 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.
In our ranks are Veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. 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 have served in Vietnam, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, at sea, and elsewhere around the world, and have the accompanying ribbon racks of sustained superior service to the country. Also, we have staff who were members of the Reserves and National Guard.
We bring both our passion for the military and our passion for the law to help Colorado Veterans in their fight for disability benefits.
Berry Law Firm helps Vets from all over Colorado, including cities such as:
VSOs in Colorado
Many Veterans utilize VSOs to file initial claims.
The VA recognizes some VSOs to help prepare and present claims to the VA.
VSOs are often great advocates for Veterans seeking VA Disability benefits.
Some of the local chapters in Colorado include:
The American Legion in Colorado
VFW Posts in Colorado
A few of the VA facilities located in Colorado that are helpful
for Veterans seeking VA Disability Compensation are:
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