America’s Veterans deserve compensation for disabilities that are the result of their military service, including Veterans living in Missouri, where there are approximately 480,000 Veterans. The Census Bureau estimates that 16% of that group have at least one service-connected disability (the national average is 17%). This means that there are Veterans who may have incurred disabling injuries yet do not have a VA disability rating. A Missouri VA disability lawyer from Berry Law could help you fight for the disability compensation you are entitled to.
At Berry Law Firm we represent Veterans in all 50 states. We fight for Veterans’ disability appeals at every VA Regional Office in America and take great pride in defending Veterans’ rights. If you have been denied VA benefits or are unhappy with your rating decision, you may want to enlist the support of a Missouri VA certified attorney. The following article is meant to help you understand the Veterans’ disability benefits process in Missouri.
The process of applying for disability benefits can be initiated from anywhere in the US, regardless of where you live. 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 that you may need to submit include forms for PTSD (0781 or 0781a) and TDIU (21-8940 and 21-4192). 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 of age, homelessness, or financial hardship.
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 adjudicate a claim, which can take years. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran is entitled to back pay for every month that has passed since the effective date, which can be multiple years in some instances. 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. This is one reason why it is so important to appeal decisions thoroughly, 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 Missouri.
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 filed years later.
Even the most thoroughly prepared claim for benefits may not yield your desired result for disability benefits. If an initial claim is denied, rated too low, or given an improper effective date, the Veteran has the right to appeal. You can appeal in a number of different ways depending on how the decision was reached. A Missouri VA disability lawyer from Berry Law can help you appeal your decision and get the compensation you are entitled to.
Berry Law helps simplify the process for our clients, crafting well researched appeals that have achieved desired results for Veterans 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. So, you do not need a VA disability lawyer in Missouri. In fact, Berry Law has helped Veterans in Missouri and each of the other 49 states, along with Veterans in US territories and foreign countries.
The appeals process can be overwhelming, 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. 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 Regional Offices in Missouri are located at: Charles F. Prevedel Federal Builing, 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132.
The Regional Office responds to NODs with a Statement of Case (SOC), which outlines 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 in Missouri please reach out to a Missouri VA disability lawyer on our team for a free consultation on what your options may be.
Not every Missouri VA disability attorney is identical. If you choose to have an attorney help you prepare and submit 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. 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.
Sometimes, the most difficult trait to determine is how effective your lawyer will be at presenting your case with research, evidence, and arguments. While the 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 Veterans themselves. Selecting a Missouri VA appeals lawyer who has deployed or mobilized can facilitate better communication and eliminate the need to explain your military experiences to someone without similar experience. Fellow Veterans often make great wingmen when it comes to helping you work through difficult situations. When it’s time to fix bayonets and charge a position, will your attorney understand? Selecting the right firm can make a big difference in reaching the outcome you want. A Missouri VA disability lawyer from our team will help you fight for the disability benefits you deserve, just like we have done for thousands of other 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, resulting in major news coverage and an elite reputation. 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 serving in both Bosnia and Iraq during Active Duty periods. John has helped grow the firm while keeping its roots in military work ethic and values. The firm now employs Veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. We have attorneys hailing from each branch, and we are proud to have both Officers and Enlisted who left the service ranking between E2 and O6. Our Veterans served during every major conflict since Vietnam, and we have the accompanying ribbon racks of sustained superior service to the country. We also have Reservists and National Guardsmen still serving. Recently, 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. We combine our military and legal training to assist Missouri Veterans in their fight for disability benefits. If you need assistance with your VA claims appeal, contact a Missouri VA disability lawyer from Berry Law today.
A Missouri VA disability lawyer from Berry Law Firm will help Veterans throughout Missouri appeal their VA decision, including Veterans located in:
Unfortunately, our team is unable to help with the initial claim filing process, but we urge you to seek the assistance of a VSO. VSOs can help you file an initial claim. In fact, certain VSOs are recognized by the VA to help Veterans file claims. VSOs include: AMVETS, The American Legion, and VFW Posts.
Some of the VA locations in Missouri are listed below:
VA Health Care System
VA Medical Center
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
Regional Benefit Office
Intake Site (Pre-Discharge Claims Assistance)
Records Management Center
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