VA Disability Appeals in Delaware
All Veterans should receive compensation for injuries sustained in the service of our country that diminish their ability to work afterward, and this should obviously apply to Veterans living in Delaware, home to roughly 75,000 Vets. Yet the Census Bureau calculates that only 13% of these Veterans have at least one service-connected disability, well below the national average state of 17%. There are many Delaware Veterans who may have incurred disabling injuries yet do not have even the slightest VA disability rating.
At Berry Law Firm, we are committed to ensuring that any forgotten Veteran get the proper VA disability compensation. We represent Veterans and servicemembers in all 50 states in their fight for VA benefits, security clearance adjudication, and quality defense counsel in courts-martial. We fight for Veterans’ disability appeals at every VA Regional Office in America, and take great pride in defending Veterans’ rights as our primary mission. If you have been denied VA benefits, or are unhappy with your rating decision, you could benefit from the help of a Delaware VA disability attorney. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in Delaware.
Getting started with a VA disability claim can begin from any location in the world, regardless of whether you served in that location. You can start a claim in Delaware without having served in the state, or apply elsewhere if you did serve there.
You can apply directly online through the VA, or get help from a VSO (Veterans Service Organization) that is accredited to help you through the process. To get started, you need to complete VA Form 21-526EZ (https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-526EZ-ARE.pdf) 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, although they can be expedited for certain reasons, including terminal illness, Veteran age over 75, homelessness, or financial hardship. Knowing your rights early can help you get things processed faster.
It is a good idea to put in an initial claim as soon as possible to establish an early effective date. Once set, the effective date will not change regardless of how long it takes to fully settle a claim, which may take 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 would be 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 Delaware.
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.
Despite a solid claim, the VA Regional Office may nonetheless make an improper 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 several different ways to appeal a ruling based on what you believe the VA’s error was. Berry Law can help you present the most compelling appeal for your case and has helped Veterans recover over $100 Million in backpay owed to them by the government.
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 Delaware, 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 Delaware is located at: 1601 Kirkwood Highway Wilmington, DE 19805
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 Delaware you can contact Berry Law for a free consultation on what your options may be.
Don’t assume that every Delaware VA disability attorney is identical. 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. 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. Utilizing a Delaware VA appeals lawyer who has military experience 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?
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 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. 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 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 Veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. We have attorneys hailing from each branch, and are proud to have both Officers and Enlisted, who left the service ranking between E2 and O6. 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 on staff are Reservists and National Guardsmen still serving.
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 Delaware Veterans in their fight for disability benefits.
Berry Law represents Veterans throughout Delaware, including in:
VSOs in Delaware
Many Veterans utilize VSOs to file initial claims.
The VA recognizes some VSOs to help prepare and present claims to the VA.
VSO locations in Delaware include:
The American Legion in Delaware
VFW Posts in Delaware
Some of the VA facilities in Delaware include:
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