All of our Veterans should receive disability compensation for injuries they sustained while defending America, and this includes Veterans in Guam, where there are approximately 10,000 Veterans. Veterans in Guam are entitled to the same disability benefits as those living in the continental United States. If you need help with your appealing your VA rating decision, contact a Guam VA disability lawyer from Berry Law to see how we can help.
The attorneys of Berry Law have represented Veterans from across the world. 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 a Guam VA disability appeals attorney. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in Guam.
- Starting a VA Claim in Guam
- Submitting a VA Appeal in Guam
- Selecting a VA Disability Appeals Attorney
- Berry Law Firm: Veterans Serving Veterans
- Serving Clients Throughout Guam
- VA Facilities in Guam
Starting a VA Claim in Guam
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 use the VA’s website to apply or seek the help of a local VSO (Veterans Service Organization).
To get started, you need to complete VA Form 21-526EZ or apply online through the VA eBenefits portal. You may need to submit additional forms based on your individual circumstances. 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). Once completed, these forms can be submitted to the VA.
It is important to note that initial claims can take a long time to process, so patience may be required.
You should file your claim as early as possible an early effective date. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran is entitled to back pay from the final decision date all the way back to the effective date. The effective date remains in place regardless of how long it takes to fully settle a claim, which can take years in some cases.
You should also know 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 have to reopen your claim leading to 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 they are entitled to. See below for additional information about appealing VA decisions in Guam.
The effective date for each disability claim is independent so an earlier effective date for a shoulder claim will usually not apply to a gastrointestinal claim initially filed years later.
Submitting a VA Appeal in Guam
Even the most thoroughly prepared claim for disability benefits may not yield the desired result for Veterans. If an initial claim is denied, rated too low, or given an improper effective date, the Veteran has the right to appeal. This is also the first step in the VA claims process that a Guam VA disability lawyer from Berry Law could help.
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.
There are several different ways to appeal a ruling based on what you believe the VA’s error was. Berry Law helps Veterans cut through the red tape and file high quality appeals that have 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 all claims are Federally adjudicated. Therefore, you do not actually need a VA disability lawyer in Guam to help fight the VA on your behalf. Berry Law has helped Veterans in many foreign countries and US territories, along with Veterans in every state in the US.
Most appeals begin with filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with your VA Regional Office. 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 Guam Vet Center is located in the First Hawaiian Bank Building at 400 Route 8, Suite 301, Maite, GU 96910.
The Veterans Affairs office will reply to your NOD 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, you can contact a Guam VA disability lawyer at Berry Law for a free consultation on what your options may be.
Selecting a VA-certified Disability Appeals Attorney
Don’t assume that every Guam VA disability attorney is the same. 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 experience with appeals at every step of the VA claims 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 several years. Beware of firms that only began practicing Veterans Law after 2007 when it became “profitable” for them.
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. 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. Selecting a Guam VA appeals lawyer who has military experience can facilitate better communication and reduce the amount of time that you need to spend explaining how the military works. Having a “battle buddy” or “shipmate” who has been in similar circumstances may make you more comfortable opening up about your experiences and individual needs. 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. A Guam VA disability lawyer could help you fight for the benefits you deserve.
Berry Law Firm: Veterans Serving Veterans
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. 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 built a Firm that lives on military tradition 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. 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. The firm has also been awarded the Platinum HIREVets medallion for our commitment to hiring, employing, and training Veterans.
We combine our military and legal training to assist Guam Veterans in their fight for disability benefits.
Serving Clients Throughout Guam
Berry Law represents Veterans throughout Guam, including in:
- Dededo Village
- Yigo Village
- Tamuning-Tumon-Harmon Village
- Mangilao Village
- Barrigada Village
- Santa Rita Vilage
- Mongmong-Toto-Maite Village
- Yona Village
- Agat Village
- Chalan Pago-Ordot Village
- Agana Heights Village
- Talofofo Village
Resources for Veterans in Guam
Some of the VA locations in Guam include:
- Maite – Guam Vet Center
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
- Agana Heights – VA Guam Community Based Outpatient Clinic
Intake Site (Pre-Discharge Claims Assistance)
- Tamuning – Guam Benefits Office