All of our Veterans should receive the benefits that they earned while serving our country, including Veterans living in Mississippi, where there are approximately 200,748 Veterans. The Census Bureau calculates that roughly 18% of these Veterans have a service-connected disability rating (the average state is 17%). However, there are many more who have suffered injuries but do not have a VA disability rating. A Mississippi VA attorney could help you fight the VA for the disability benefits you are entitled to.
At Berry Law Firm we represent Veterans in all 50 states. 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 received an inadequate rating or effective date, you could benefit from the help of a Mississippi Veterans disability appeal attorney. The following article is meant to help you understand the Veterans’ disability benefits process in Mississippi.
A VA disability claim can begin from any location in the world, regardless of where you served or where you currently live. You can use the VA’s website to apply or seek the help of a VSO (Veterans Service Organization).
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. Other relevant forms include VA Form 21-0781 or 21-0781a for PTSD claims, and VA Form 21-8940 and 21-4192 for Individual Unemployability (TDIU). Once completed, these forms can be submitted to the VA.
Initial claims can take a long time to process, so patience may be required. 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 can take years in some cases. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran is entitled to back pay for every month after their effective date. This means that although you are not currently receiving benefits because your claim has not yet been awarded, you are entitled to receive payments stretching back to your effective date if your claim is granted in the future.
It is important to keep in mind 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 wait too long to do so, you may be forced to reopen your claim resulting in 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 Mississippi.
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 the first step in the VA claims process where a Mississippi VA attorney from Berry law can help.
There are several different ways to appeal a ruling based on what you believe the VA’s error was. Berry Law helps simplify the process for our clients, crafting well researched 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. Even if you live in Mississippi, you do not need a VA disability lawyer in Mississippi to help you fight the VA’s decision. In fact, our team has helped Veterans in Mississippi and each of the other 49 states, along with Veterans living abroad.
The first type of appeal is usually a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). 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 Offices in Mississippi are located at: 1600 E Woodrow Wilson Ave., Jackson, MS 39216.
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 Mississippi, you can contact a dedicated Mississippi VA attorney from Berry Law for a free consultation on what your options may be.
Don’t assume that every Mississippi VA disability attorney is identical. if you choose to get help from an attorney for preparing and submitting 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. 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.
Perhaps the hardest aspect to measure is determining how effective your lawyer will be at presenting your case with research, evidence, and arguments. 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 a Mississippi VA appeals lawyer who has military experience may help improve understand of your situation and eliminate the need to explain your military experiences to someone who just doesn’t understand. 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? Making the right decision on hiring a law firm can make a significant difference for the outcome of your case. A Mississippi VA attorney from Berry Law will fight for you throughout every step of you appeals
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. After leaving the service, he opened his own firm focused on criminal defense, but where 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 helped grow the firm while keeping its roots in military work ethic and values. The firm employs Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force Veterans. We have attorneys hailing from each branch and are proud to have both Officers and Enlisted who left the service ranking between E2 and O6 (with an E9 on the team). Our Veterans served during every major conflict since Vietnam and have the accompanying ribbon racks of sustained superior service to the country. We also have members of the Reserves and National Guard still wearing the uniform.
At Berry Law, we combine our military and legal training to assist Mississippi Veterans in their fight for disability benefits. Contact a Mississippi VA attorney from our team to see how we can help.
Our Mississippi VA attorneys represent Veterans throughout the state, including cities such as:
Because a Mississippi VA attorney may not be able to assist with filing an initial claim, many Veterans utilize VSOs to get their claim started. Some VSOs have special recognition from the VA for helping Veterans file claims. Some examples of VSOs in Mississippi include:
Some of the VA facilities located in Mississippi include:
VA Medical Center
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
Regional Benefit Office
Intake Site (Pre-Discharge Claims Assistance)
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.