American’s Veterans are entitled to due compensation for injuries that occurred in service, and this includes Veterans in Indiana, where there are approximately 397,715 Veterans. The Census Bureau estimates that 31% of these Veterans have a service-connected disability rating (the national average is 17%). However, there are many more who have suffered injuries yet do not have a VA disability rating. An Indiana VA disability lawyer from Berry Law can help ensure that you receive the disability compensation you deserve.
Berry Law Firm has represented Veterans from coast to coast. 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 are unhappy with your rating decision, you could benefit from the help of an Indiana VA disability lawyer. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in Indiana.
- Starting a VA Claim in Indiana
- Appealing a VA Decision in Indiana
- Selecting a VA Disability Appeals Attorney
- Berry Law: Veterans Serving Veterans
- Serving Clients Throughout Indiana
- Resources for Indiana Veterans
Starting a VA Claim in Indiana
The process of applying for benefits 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 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. 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). Once completed, these forms can be submitted to the VA. Initial claims generally take several months to process, so patience may be required.
It is important to start your claim early so you will set an early effective date for your claim. The effective date remains in place regardless of how long it takes to fully adjudicate a claim, which may last several years depending on the individual claims you are filing. The effective date is important because the Veteran is entitled to receive back pay at the monthly rate 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 miss the appeal deadlines 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 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. 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. Some appeals processes can last years, but as long as 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.
Submitting a VA Appeal in Indiana
Unfortunately, the VA does not always make the correct decision for a Veteran’s initial disability benefits claim. If an initial claim is denied, rated too low, or given an improper effective date, you can appeal the decision. This is the first step in the process where an Indiana VA disability lawyer from Berry Law can assist.
You can appeal in several different ways depending on how the decision was reached. Berry Law helps Veterans cut through the red tape and file high quality appeals to help them get the disability compensation they deserve.
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. With this in mind, you do not need to have an Indiana VA disability lawyer physically located in Indiana to assist with your appeal. In fact, we have helped clients in Indiana and every other state in America, along with Veterans living abroad.
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. 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 Indiana is located at: 575 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.
The Regional Office will reply with a Statement of Case (SOC). The SOC 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 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 Indiana, you can contact a VA appeals attorney at Berry Law at (888) 883-2483 for more information and to get a free case evaluation.
Selecting a VA Certified Lawyer Serving Indiana
Not every Indiana VA disability attorney is identical. If you decide to hire an attorney to help with your claim, it is a good idea to select one that will continue working with you throughout the multi-year process 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. Some firms only recently added Veterans Appeals to their Social Security practice and are not invested in actually helping Veterans.
The hardest skill to gauge 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 an Indiana VA appeals lawyer who has deployed or mobilized can make communicating about difficult issues easier and eliminate the need to explain your military experiences to someone without similar experience. Nothing can replace the camaraderie developed through shared service experiences. When it’s time to fix bayonets and charge a position, will your attorney understand? An Indiana VA disability lawyer from Berry Law will fight for you during every step of the appeals process.
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: 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. 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 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 serving in both Bosnia and Iraq during Active Duty periods. John has built a Firm that lives on military tradition and values.
On our staff are Veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. We have lawyers 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. We also have Reservists and National Guardsmen still wearing the uniform. Berry Law also 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.
Our team utilizes our military and legal training to assist Indiana Veterans with their legal needs.
Serving Clients from Across Indiana
Indiana VA disability lawyers from Berry Law represent Veterans throughout Indiana, including those located in cities such as:
- Fort Wayne
- South Bend
- Terre Haute
- Terre Haute
If you have been denied disability benefits or were given a poor rating, please contact a skilled Indiana VA disability lawyer from our team so we can begin fighting with you for the disability benefits you earned while serving our country.
Resources for Veterans in Indiana
VSOs in Indiana
Because our Indiana VA disability lawyers are unable to assist with the filing an initial claim, we recommend you seek the help of a VSOs recognized by the VA to get your claim started.
Local chapters in Indiana include:
- Post 6 – Gary, IN
- Post 15 – Cedar Lake, IN
- Post 64 – Whiting, IN
- Post 66 – South Bend, IN
- Post 91 – Monticello, IN
- Post 102 – Flower, IN
- Post 555 – Kokomo, IN
- Post 911 – Rolling Prairie, IN
- Post 5 – Marion, IN
- Post 12 – Muncie, IN
- Post 23 – Hartford City, IN
- Post 26 – Pendleton, IN
- Post 33 – Fort Wayne, IN
- Post 55 – Fort Wayne, IN
- Post 57 – Albion, IN
- Post 2919 – South Whitley, IN
- Post 2 – Terre Haute, IN
- Post 9 – Evansville, IN
- Post 49 – Owensburg, IN
- Post 61 – Rockville, IN
- Post 84 – Evansville, IN
- Post 222 West Terre Haute, IN
- Post 1791 – Evansville, IN
- Post 2000 – Bloomington, IN
- Post 7 – North Vernon, IN
- Post 11 – Connersville, IN
- Post 13 – West Harrison, IN
- Post 38 – Greensfork, IN
- Post 99 – Indianapolis, IN
- Post 509 – Columbus, IN
VA Locations in Indiana
VA Health Care System
- Fort Wayne, IN – VA Northern Indiana Health Care System
VA Medical Center
- Fort Wayne, IN – VA Northern Indiana Health Care System-Fort Wayne Campus
- Indianapolis, IN – Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center
- Marion, IN – VA Northern Indiana Health Care System – Marion Campus
- Bloomington, IN – Bloomington Mental Health Outpatient Clinic
- Crown Point, IN – Adam Benjamin, Jr. OPC
- Edinburgh, IN – Wakeman VA Clinic
- Evansville, IN – Evansville Health Care Center
- Terre Haute, IN – Terre Haute Mental Health Outpatient Clinic
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
- Bloomington, IN – Bloomington VA Clinic
- Goshen, IN – Goshen VA Outpatient Clinic
- Greendale, IN – Lawrenceburg (Dearborn) Community Based Outpatient Clinic
- Indianapolis, IN – Indy West VA Clinic
- Lafayette, IN – West Lafayette VA Clinic
- Martinsville, IN – Martinsville VA Outpatient Clinic
- Mishawaka, IN – St. Joseph County VA Clinic
- Muncie, IN – Muncie VA Outpatient Clinic
- New Albany, IN – New Albany VA Clinic
- Peru, IN – Peru Community Based Outpatient Clinic
- Richmond, IN – Richmond Community Based Outpatient Clinic
- Scottsburg, IN – Scott County VA Clinic
- Shelbyville, IN – Shelbyville VA Clinic
- Terre Haute, IN – Terre Haute VA Clinic
- Vincennes, IN – Vincennes Community Based Outpatient Clinic
- Crown Point, IN – Gary Area Vet Center
- Evansville, IN – Evansville Vet Center
- Fort Wayne, IN – Fort Wayne Vet Center
- Indianapolis, IN – Indianapolis Vet Center
- South Bend, IN – South Bend Vet Center
- Indianapolis, IN – Homeless Team, Veteran Health Indiana
- Indianapolis, IN – Indianapolis YMCA VA Clinic