VA Disability Appeals in Florida

Service to country is a proud and honorable act, and it should be duly compensated, including lifetime coverage for disabilities incurred while in service.  Florida Veterans who served and were injured deserve the disability compensation that they are entitled to for their sacrifices.  Florida is home to approximately 1.6 million Veterans, and Census estimates calculate that roughly 25% of Sunshine State Veterans have a service-connected disability rating, well above the national average of 17%. Regardless, there are many more Veterans in Florida who suffered injuries in service yet do not have a VA disability rating. An experienced Florida VA disability lawyer from Berry Law can help you fight for the disability compensation you are entitled to. There are many steps to getting disability benefits, and this article is intended to help you understand and accelerate the process in Florida.

$123,959

Back Pay Recovered for
Army Veteran
in Florida

03/04/2019
$122,240

Back Pay Recovered for
Army Veteran
in Florida

01/14/2019
$298,273

Back Pay Recovered for
Navy Veteran
in Florida

12/31/2018

 

Starting a VA Claim in Florida

The process of applying for benefits is federal in nature and can be initiated from anywhere in the world.   Being stationed in Florida makes the process of filing in Florida obvious, but regardless of whether you served in Mayport or Myanmar you can apply from Florida.  To get started, you can use the VA’s website to begin an application, prepare paper forms to submit, or get help from a local Veterans Service Organization (VSO).

The first thing you will need to do is to complete VA Form 21-526EZ or you can start an application online through the VA eBenefits portal. You may need to submit additional forms or information based on the specifics of your situation.  For example, you may need to submit VA Forms 21-4142 and 21-4142a if you want the VA to assist in gathering medical evidence on your behalf, or you may need to submit additional forms if you are filing a claim for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or for Total Disability based upon Individual Unemployability (TDIU). The package of these forms can be submitted to the VA to get your claim going.

Initial claims can take a long time to process, although they can be expedited for certain reasons, including terminal illness, Veteran age over 75, homelessness, or financial hardship.  You may also be eligible to get certain processes advanced quicker if you were in a location named in a state of emergency.  For example, Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael were given Advancement on Docket status for January-April 2019.  Getting a claim sped up can improve total response time by months or years.

It is a good idea to put in an initial claim as soon as possible to set an early effective date for your claim. The effective date remains in place regardless of how long it takes to fully settle 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.  For example, if you started your claim in September 2010, but didn’t get your 70% rating until September 2014, you would be granted backpay for four years at 70%

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 wait too long to do so, 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 Florida.

The effective date for each disability claim is independent so an earlier effective date for a shoulder claim will usually not apply to an initial claim for PTSD submitted years later.

 

Appealing a VA Decision in Florida

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, the Veteran has the right to appeal.

There are many ways to appeal a ruling based on what you believe the VA’s error was. Berry Law will help simplify the process for our Veterans, creating well researched appeals that have helped Veterans recover over $100 Million in backpay owed to them by the government.

We have representatives in multiple cities, but the location of your attorney does not actually impact the process because it is Federal in nature. Therefore, a Florida VA disability lawyer does not need to be physically located in Florida to help you appeal your VA decision. Our team has helped Veterans in Florida, and every other state in America, along with Veterans in US territories and foreign countries.

The appeals process can be long, but if you have preserved your effective date by keeping appeals open, you are entitled to receive back pay for every month that elapsed during the process.

Most appeals begin with filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with your VA Regional Office. The NOD, usually due within one year of a rating decision, notifies the VA that you disagree with the decision that has been made. A NOD can simply state “I disagree” or can include substantial amounts of supporting evidence The Regional Office in Florida is located at: 9500 Bay Pines Blvd Bay Pines, FL 33744.

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 Florida, you can contact a Florida VA disability lawyer from Berry Law for a free consultation on what your best course of action may be.

 

Selecting a Florida VA Disability Lawyer

Don’t assume that every Florida VA disability attorney is equally equipped to help you bring firepower to your appeal. 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 represented Veterans with every type of appeal. 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. 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. 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 and 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.

Having lawyers who are Veterans themselves is sometimes important to other Veterans. Utilizing a Florida VA appeals lawyer who has served in the military 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?

Selecting the right firm can make a big difference in reaching the outcome you want. Contact a skilled Florida VA disability lawyer from Berry Law for help appealing your VA decision.

 

Berry Law Firm: The Veterans Law Firm

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 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 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 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 have served in Vietnam, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, at sea, and elsewhere around the world, and combined have earned hundreds of awards, ribbons, and commendations for their service. Also, on staff are 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. In 2019, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the Nebraska National Guard’s Regimental Training Institute.

We combine our military and legal training to assist Florida Veterans in their fight for disability benefits. A Florida VA disability lawyer from Berry Law Firm helps Vets from all over Florida, including those in cities such as:

    • Jacksonville
    • Miami
    • Tampa
    • Orlando
    • St. Petersburg
    • Hialeah
    • Port St. Lucie
    • Cape Coral
    • Tallahassee
    • Fort Lauderdale
    • Pembroke Pines
    • Hollywood
    • Miramar
    • Gainesville
    • Coral Springs
    • Clearwater
    • Palm Bay
    • Pensacola
    • Mayport

Resources for Veterans in Florida

VSO Locations in Florida

Unfortunately, certain legal circumstances do not allow a Florida VA disability lawyer from Berry Law to help file an initial claim. However, many Veterans utilize VSOs to file initial claims. Some VSOs have special recognition from the VA for helping Veterans file claims

Local chapters in Florida include:

AMVETS 

  • Post FL-0001, St Petersburg
  • Post FL-0004, Tampa
  • Post FL-0012, Pensacola
  • Post FL-0023, Naples
  • Post FL-0029, Destin
  • Post FL-0030, Orlando
  • Post FL-0040, Key Largo
  • Post FL-0045, St Augustine
  • Post FL-0047, Panama City Beach
  • Post FL-0067, Clearwater
  • Post FL-0081, Ft Myers
  • Post FL-0099, Ocala
  • Post FL-0200, Okeechobee
  • Post FL-0550, Zephyrhills
  • Post FL-1776, Tallahassee

 

American Legion Posts in Florida

  • Post 245, Boca Raton
  • Post 24, Bradenton
  • Post 348, Cape Canaveral
  • Post 51, Chattahoochee
  • Post 22, Cocoa Beach
  • Post 98, Coral Gables
  • Post 50, Daytona Beach
  • Post 65, Delray Beach
  • Post 296, Destin
  • Post 36, Fort Lauderdale
  • Post 38, Fort Myers
  • Post 16, Gainesville
  • Post 9, Jacksonville
  • Post 88, Jacksonville
  • Post 271, Jupiter
  • Post 332, Kennedy Space Center
  • Post 333, Key Largo
  • Post 28, Key West
  • Post 10, Kissimmee
  • Post 29, Miami
  • Post 31, Miami
  • Post 85, Miami Beach
  • Post 261, Miramar
  • Post 135, Naples
  • Post 27, Ocala
  • Post 64, Okeechobee
  • Post 259, Orange City
  • Post 19, Orlando
  • Post 66, Panama City
  • Post 33, Pensacola
  • Post 37, Saint Augustine
  • Post 14, Saint Petersburg
  • Post 30, Sarasota
  • Post 13, Tallahassee
  • Post 5, Tampa
  • Post 111, Tampa
  • Post 334, North Tampa
  • Post 8, Winter Haven

VFW Posts 

  • VFW Post 1005, Palm Bay Post, Palm Bay, FL
  • VFW Post 10084, Lake Panasoffkee Post, Lake Panasoffkee, FL
  • VFW Post 10095, Hilliard Post, Hilliard, FL
  • VFW Post 10096, Donald J. Lavery-Deltona-Orange City Post, Deltona, FL
  • VFW Post 10097, George D. Thiesen Memorial Post, Fort Myers Beach, FL
  • VFW Post 10127, North Ft. Myers Post, North Fort Myers, FL
  • VFW Post 10131, Cape Canaveral Post, Cape Canaveral, FL
  • VFW Post 10141, Palma Sola Post, Bradenton, FL
  • VFW Post 10148, The Minutemen Post, Cocoa Beach, FL
  • VFW Post 10174, St. Petersburg Post, St Petersburg, FL
  • VFW Post 10211, Upper Keys Post, Key Largo, FL
  • VFW Post 10304, Edward & James White Post, Clearwater, FL
  • VFW Post 10539, Okeechobee Big Lake Post, Okeechobee, FL
  • VFW Post 10554, Fort Pierce Northside Post, Fort Pierce, FL
  • VFW Post 10555, Emerald Coast Post, Panama City Beach, FL
  • VFW Post 10556, Simpson-Galla-Ferraro Memorial Post, Boca Raton, FL
  • VFW Post 11179, Fort Meade Post, Fort Meade, FL
  • VFW Post 1339, West Tampa Post, Tampa, FL
  • VFW Post 1590, Harold E. Waldron Post, Daytona Beach, FL
  • VFW Post 1608, William Alexander Mc Allister Post, Miami, FL
  • VFW Post 1658, Higgins-Sutherland Memorial Post, Palm Harbor, FL
  • VFW Post 1689, Jacksonville Post, Jacksonville, FL
  • VFW Post 1966, Robert Leak Agee Post, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • VFW Post 1988, Green Cove Springs Post, Green Cove Spgs, FL
  • VFW Post 2007, West Palm Beach Post, West Palm Beach, FL
  • VFW Post 2009, Rolling Greens Post, Ocala, FL
  • VFW Post 2093, Orange County Post, Orlando, FL
  • VFW Post 2185, Wainwright Post, Panama City, FL
  • VFW Post 2391, St. Augustine Post, Saint Augustine, FL
  • VFW Post 2811, Alachua County Post, Gainesville, FL
  • VFW Post 2824, Peace River Post, Arcadia, FL
  • VFW Post 3233, Sarasota Sunshine Post, Sarasota, FL
  • VFW Post 3282, John E. Mealy Memorial Post, Port Orange, FL
  • VFW Post 3308, Leon County Post, Tallahassee, FL
  • VFW Post 3461, Daytona Post, Daytona Beach, FL
  • VFW Post 3559, Miami Beach Post, Miami Beach, FL
  • VFW Post 39, Lawrence Melzer Tate Post, Saint Petersburg, FL
  • VFW Post 3911, Southernmost Post, Key West, FL
  • VFW Post 4143, Harry E. Carroll Post, Riviera Beach, FL
  • VFW Post 4209, Mc Cullough-Mixson Post, Ocala, FL
  • VFW Post 4225, Kissimmee Memorial Post, Kissimmee, FL
  • VFW Post 4228, Edward T. Cribbins Memorial Post, Titusville, FL
  • VFW Post 424, Hatton-Gillette-Douglas Post, Tampa, FL
  • VFW Post 4254, Harold C. Buck Memorial Post, Bonita Springs, FL
  • VFW Post 4283, Major Francis E. Dade Post, Dade City, FL
  • VFW Post 4289, Haynes-Hedrick Post, Winter Haven, FL
  • VFW Post 4305, West Orange Post, Winter Garden, FL
  • VFW Post 4337, Eugene Quinn Post, Inverness, FL
  • VFW Post 4351, Byrd-Wallace Post, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • VFW Post 4353, Greater Pine Island Post, Pine Island, FL
  • VFW Post 4407, Bruce J. Bell Memorial Post, Gulf Breeze, FL
  • VFW Post 471, George A. Brendla Post, Miami, FL
  • VFW Post 4761, General Daniel ‘Chappie’ James Post, Jacksonville, FL
  • VFW Post 4910, Wildwood Post, Oxford, FL
  • VFW Post 492, Mid-Point Cape Coral Post, Cape Coral, FL
  • VFW Post 5046, Fairways Post, Orlando, FL
  • VFW Post 5405, Winter Springs Post, Winter Springs, FL
  • VFW Post 5718, Ray Renuart Post, Coral Gables, FL
  • VFW Post 5968, Orange Park Post, Orange Park, FL
  • VFW Post 6021, Walter R. Mickens Post, Key West, FL
  • VFW Post 6827, Sunshine City Post, Saint Petersburg, FL
  • VFW Post 6931, James M Newton Post, Davenport, FL
  • VFW Post 706, Thomas F. Welch Post, Pensacola, FL
  • VFW Post 7369, Naples Memorial Post, Naples, FL
  • VFW Post 7938, Largo Post, Largo, FL
  • VFW Post 8116, Brevard County Post, Cocoa, FL
  • VFW Post 8182, Hardin-Mulkey Post, Pompano Beach, FL
  • VFW Post 8189, Dumas-Hartson Post, Crystal River, FL
  • VFW Post 8193, Opa Locka Post, Opa Locka, FL
  • VFW Post 8330, Souers-Knuck-O Rourke Post, Hialeah, FL
  • VFW Post 8463, Harney Point Post, Cape Coral, FL
  • VFW Post 8696, Palm Coast Post, Palm Coast, FL
  • VFW Post 8857, Del Tura Post, North Fort Myers, FL
  • VFW Post 9272, Seminole Post, Seminole, FL
  • VFW Post 9528, Buckhead Ridge Post, Okeechobee, FL

 

VA Facilities in Florida

A few of the VA locations located in Florida are:

  • St. Petersburg Regional Office, 9500 Bay Pines Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL 33744
  • Intake Site at NAS Pensacola, Fleet and Family Support Center, Pensacola, FL
  • Intake Site at Naval Hospital Pensacola, Pensacola, FL 32511
  • Intake Site at MacDill Air Force Base, Bldg. 1078, Tampa, FL, 33621
  • Intake Site at Patrick Air Force Base, Viera, FL 32940
  • Intake Site at Eglin Air Force Base, Airman and Family Readiness Support Center, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32542
  • Intake Site at Hurlburt Field, Airman and Family Readiness Center, Hurlburt Field, FL 32544
  • Intake Site at NAS Jacksonville Department of Veterans Affairs, Jacksonville, FL 32217
  • Intake Site at NAS Key West
  • Intake Site at Mayport Naval Station, Branch Medical Clinic, Mayport, FL 32228
  • Intake Site at NAS Whiting Field, Fleet and Family Support Center, Milton, FL 32570
  • Intake Site at Naval Support Activity–Panama City, Fleet and Family Support Center, Panama City, FL 32407