VA Disability Appeals in Connecticut
Veterans who were injured in service deserve fair compensation, but may need a VA disability attorney to help them receive the correct amount. Connecticut is underrepresented in receiving VA disability claims. Of the approximately 220,000 Veterans in Connecticut, roughly 11% of that group have at least one service-connected disability (trailing far behind the national average of 17%). Meanwhile, there are many more who have suffered injuries yet do not have a VA disability rating.
At Berry Law Firm we represent Veterans from coast to coast. We pursue Veterans’ disability appeals at every VA Regional Office in the United States, and take great pride in defending Veterans’ rights. If you have been denied VA benefits, or are unhappy with your rating decision, you could benefit from the help of a Connecticut VA disability attorney. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in Connecticut.
Getting started with a VA disability claim can begin from any location in the country, regardless of whether you served in that location.
You can apply directly online through the VA, or seek the help of a VSO (Veterans Service Organization).
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 can take a long time to process, so patience may be required.
It is important to start your claim early to establish an early effective date. Once set, the effective date will not change regardless of how long it takes to fully adjudicate 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 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 get all the compensation you are entitled to. See below for additional information about appealing VA decisions in Connecticut.
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 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 can help you present the most compelling appeal for your case, and has 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 it is Federal in nature. Berry Law has helped Veterans in Connecticut, and every other state in America, along with Veterans in US territories and foreign countries.
The appeals process can be long, 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). 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”, or can include dozens of pages of supporting material. The Regional Office in Connecticut is located at: 555 Willard Ave. Newington, CT 06111.
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 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 Connecticut please reach out to us for more information and a free consultation.
Don’t assume that every Connecticut VA disability attorney is identical. if you choose to get help from an attorney for preparing and submitting 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. A lengthy history of practicing Veterans law is a good indication that a Law Firm will not abandon you in the middle of an appeals process. 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 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.
It’s also important to many Veterans to have lawyers who are themselves Veterans. Opting for a Connecticut VA appeals lawyer who has deployed or mobilized can make communicating about difficult issues easier and reduce the amount of time that you need to spend explaining how the military works. Having shared military values with your law firm can make the process more comfortable and less stressful. Will your law firm understand the intense stress of combat?
Finally, consider the values of the firm to see if they align with your own. This is a law firm that you may be tied to for a decade so be sure that they will be a good partner.
Berry Law Firm was founded in 1965 by John Stevens Berry, Sr., who spent part of his time in the Army serving in Vietnam. During a JAG tour in Vietnam, he successfully defended Green Berets against murder charges, among other courtroom victories for his fellow servicemembers, earning him significant national praise. While developing a criminal defense practice, he also represented many Veterans on a pro bono basis against the VA. 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 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.
In our ranks are Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force Veterans. We have lawyers from each branch, and are proud to have 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 members of the Reserves and National Guard still wearing the uniform.
John Berry received the Patriot Award from the ESGR, and the firm has been named as “Military and Veterans Law Firm of the Year” by multiple agencies.
We combine our military and legal training to assist Connecticut Veterans with their legal needs.
Berry Law represents Veterans throughout Connecticut, including cities such as:
VSOs in Connecticut
VSOs can help you with a variety of services, including filing an initial claim.
The VA recognizes some VSOs as accredited to help prepare and present claims to the VA.
Local chapters in Connecticut include:
AMVETS Posts in Connecticut
American Legion Posts in Connecticut
VFW Posts in Connecticut
Some of the VA locations in Connecticut are:
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