America’s Veterans are entitled compensation for the injuries that occurred while they were defending our country, including Veterans living in Kentucky, home to approximately 279,153 Veterans. The Census Bureau calculates that roughly 33% of these Veterans have a service-connected disability rating (the national average is 17%). However, there are others who may have incurred disabling injuries yet do not have a VA disability rating. A Kentucky VA disability lawyer from Berry Law may be able to help you in your battle for VA disability benefits.
Berry Law Firm has represented Veterans in every state. 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 a Kentucky VA disability lawyer from Berry Law. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in Kentucky.
The process of applying for benefits can be initiated from anywhere in the country, regardless of whether you served in that location. You can apply directly online through the VA or use the services of a Veterans Service Organization (VSO).
To get started, you need to complete VA Form 21-526EZ, or apply online through the VA eBenefits portal. You can also submit VA Forms 21-4142 and 21-4142a if you want the VA to assist in gathering medical evidence on your behalf. 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. Some claims can take more than 150 days to process.
It is important to start your claim early to establish an early effective date. 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. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran should receive back pay at the monthly rate they are entitled to, extending the final decision date all the way back to the effective date.
You should also know 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. This will mean that you will be given a new effective date, which will decrease the disability back pay you receive. One reason that Veterans fight so hard to appeal VA decisions is 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 Kentucky.
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 disability benefits claim. If an initial claim is denied, rated too low, or given an improper effective date, the Veteran has the right to appeal. This is the step in the process where a Kentucky VA disability lawyer from Berry Law can step in and assist.
There are separate avenues for appeal depending on what kind of mistake the VA made. The Kentucky VA appeals lawyers at Berry Law help Veterans cut through the red tape and file high quality appeals that have achieved results for our Veteran clients for decades. We have representatives in multiple cities, but the location of your attorney does not actually impact the process because it is Federal in nature. This means that a Kentucky VA disability lawyer does not need to be physically located in Kentucky to help Veterans with their appeals. Berry Law has helped Veterans in Kentucky 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 receive back pay for every month that elapsed during 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 a form and commenting “I disagree” or can include dozens of pages of supporting material. The Regional Office in Kentucky is located at: 321 West Main St., Louisville, KY 40202.
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 issue a decision that may or may not satisfy the Veteran. If you are unsatisfied with the BVA decision, you can then appeal to the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) for further adjudication. If you would like help appealing a VA decision in Kentucky, please reach out to a Kentucky VA disability lawyer from our team at (888) 883-2483 for more information and a free consultation.
Don’t assume that every Kentucky VA disability attorney is identical. If you would like to use an attorney, 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. 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 determine is how effective your lawyer will be at presenting your case with research, evidence, and arguments. 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.
It’s also important to many Veterans to have lawyers who are themselves Veterans. Choosing to work with Kentucky VA appeals attorney who has military experience may help improve understand of your situation and eliminate the need to explain your military experiences to someone without similar experience. Having shared military values with your law firm can make the process more comfortable and less stressful. When it’s time to fix bayonets and charge a position, will your attorney understand? Making the right decision on hiring a law firm can make a significant difference for the outcome of your case. A dedicated Kentucky VA disability lawyer from Berry Law will ensure that your rights are protected.
Berry Law Firm was founded in 1965 by John Stevens Berry, Sr., who spent part of his military career 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 served during every major conflict since Vietnam and have the accompanying ribbon racks of sustained superior service to the country. The staff also features members still serving in the Reserves and National Guard.
We use our military and legal training to assist Kentucky Veterans in their fight for disability benefits. A dedicated Kentucky VA disability lawyer from Berry Law will help you fight for the disability benefits you deserve.
Berry Law Firm helps Vets from all over Kentucky, including those located in:
If you have been denied disability benefits or been given a poor disability rating by the VA, please contact an experienced Kentucky VA disability lawyer from Berry Law at (888) 883-2483 to assist you in the battle for your benefits.
Some VA health administration resources for Veterans in Kentucky are listed below:
VA Health Care System
VA Medical Center
Intake Site (Pre-Discharge Claims Assistance)
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