America’s Veterans should receive compensation for the sacrifices they made while serving our country, including Veterans living in Minnesota, home to approximately 366,990 Veterans. The Census Bureau estimates that 20% of that group have at least one service-connected disability (the average state is 17%). However, there are many more who have suffered injuries yet do not have a VA disability rating. A Minnesota VA disability attorney from Berry Law can help ensure that you are receiving the disability compensation you are entitled to.
The attorneys of Berry Law have represented Veterans in every state. We fight for Veterans’ disability appeals at every VA Regional Office in America and take significant pride in defending Veterans’ rights. If you have been denied VA benefits or are unhappy with your current rating decision, you could benefit from the help of a VA certified attorney in Minnesota. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in Minnesota.
The process of applying for benefits 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 Veterans Service Organization (VSO).
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 can take a long time to process, although they can be expedited for certain reasons, including terminal illness, Veterans over 75 years old, homelessness, or financial hardship.
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 can take years in some cases. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran is entitled to back pay for every month from their effective date to the date the claim was granted.
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 receive all the compensation they are entitled to. See below for additional information about appealing VA decisions in Minnesota.
Each individual disability claim has its own effective date based on when it was first claimed, so an earlier effective date for a shoulder claim 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. When initial claims are denied, given a lower-than-expected rating, or applied to an incorrect effective date, you can appeal the decision. This is where you can get assistance from a dedicated Minnesota VA disability attorney.
There are separate avenues for appeal depending on what kind of mistake the VA made. 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. In fact, a Minnesota VA disability attorney does not have to be physically present in Minnesota to help a Veteran with their appeal. Our team has helped clients in Minnesota 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 back pay for the entire time the claim was open.
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. An NOD can simply state “I disagree” or can include substantial amounts of supporting evidence. The Regional Office in Minnesota is located at: 1 Federal Dr. – Fort Snelling, St. Paul, MN 55111-4050.
The Regional Office will reply with a Statement of Case (SOC) that presents the state of the case and is sent to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). The BVA will conduct their own review to reach a decision. 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, please contact a Minnesota VA disability attorney at Berry Law for more information and a free consultation.
Not every Minnesota VA disability lawyer is the same. 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 experience with appeals at every step of the 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 for several years. Beware of firms that only began practicing Veterans Law after 2007 when it became more “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.
It’s also important to many Veterans to have lawyers who are themselves Veterans. Opting for a Minnesota 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 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? The Minnesota VA disability attorneys on our team will fight for you during every step of the appeals process.
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 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. 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 earlier Active Duty tours in both Bosnia and Iraq. 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 feature both Officers and Enlisted personnel, 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 members of the Reserves and National Guard 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. Our Minnesota VA disability lawyers will use our military and legal training to assist Minnesota Veterans in their fight for disability benefits.
A Minnesota VA disability attorney from Berry Law will represent
Veterans throughout Minnesota, including cities such as:
VA Health Care System
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
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