Veterans who currently live in Kansas City and were injured while serving are entitled to disability benefits. Veterans are entitled to compensation for injuries and disabilities that arose in service. However, the VA often denies initial claims. If you have been denied a claim for disability benefits or received a lower than expected rating decision, an experienced Kansas City Veterans disability attorney at Berry Law can help.
Berry Law is committed to helping Veterans in their fight for disability compensation. Why? The team at Berry Law is full of Veterans. Founded in 1965 by Vietnam Veteran, John Stevens Berry, Sr., Berry Law has been fighting for the rights of Veterans for over 50 years. The firm is now run by Army Veteran John S. Berry, Jr., and features attorneys from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. If you need a team you can count on, contact a Kansas City VA disability lawyer at Berry Law today.
Filing a VA Claim in Kansas City
You can apply for disability benefits from anywhere in the world, regardless of where you currently reside or where you served. The Kansas City VA disability lawyers at Berry Law cannot help with filing an initial claim.
We often recommend Veterans seek the assistance of a local Veterans Service Officer (VSO) when submitting their initial claim.
Veterans wishing to file a claim for disability benefits have three options:
- Complete VA Form 21-526EZ (Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits) and submit it to the Department of Veterans Affairs Claims Intake Center in Janesville, Wisconsin.
- Visit the nearest VA regional office and get assistance from a Veterans Service Officer.
- Apply online through the VA’s eBenefits website.
After submitting your claim, it generally takes 6+ months to receive a rating decision. However, you can expedite your claim if:
- You are terminally ill
- You are over 75 years old
- You are homeless
- You are facing financial hardship
There are certain benefits for starting your claim for Veterans disability benefits as soon as possible. Once you submit your claim, you will be given an effective date based on the day the VA received your claim.
The effective date is important because this is the day you are entitled to begin receiving compensation once your claim is granted. So, if it takes 5 years and multiple appeals to win your claim, you will be entitled to compensation for the 5 years that elapsed since your effective date.
It is important to remember the effective date will not change unless you fail to keep your appeals open. Therefore, Veterans need to continually appeal unfavorable decisions, to maintain their effective date and ensure they receive the full compensation they’re entitled to.
If you submit a claim for a different disability later, that disability will be given an effective date.
Appealing a VA Claim in Kansas City
In a perfect world, Veterans would be granted disability benefits after their initial claim. As most Veterans know, this rarely happens. Veterans who have their claim for benefits denied or receive an unfavorable decision have the right to appeal.
This is the first step in the claims process that a Kansas City Veterans disability attorney at Berry law can help.
Berry Law has helped thousands of Veterans across the country successfully appeal their rating decisions. The attorneys and staff understand what is needed to get a claim approved, and they have experience fighting for Veterans.
Recently, the VA implemented the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, otherwise known as AMA. AMA gives Veterans a tactical decision when appealing to the claim.
You can appeal your claim in one of three lanes:
Supplemental Claim Lane – The supplemental claim lane allows you to submit additional evidence to support your claim. The VA will then issue a decision in approximately 125 days. This is one of the most common appeal lanes under AMA.
Higher Level Review Lane – The higher-level review lane allows you to ask the VA to have a more senior-level claims adjudicator review your decision. This review is “de novo,” meaning prior decisions hold no weight. This lane does not allow you to file additional evidence.
Board of Veterans Appeals Lane – The Board of Veterans Appeals lane gives a Veteran more options when appealing. Under the BVA lane, you can ask for a direct review without submitting supplemental evidence, submit additional evidence in support for your claim, or request a hearing in front of a Veterans Law Judge.
Each lane has its advantages and disadvantages. A skilled Kansas City VA disability lawyer at Berry Law could help you determine which lane is most effective for your appeal.
Selecting a Kansas City Veterans Disability Attorney
Unfortunately, not all Kansas City Veterans’ disability attorneys are the same. When selecting an attorney for your appeal, there are certain things you should look for.
When did your attorney/law firm start appealing Veterans claims? Some law firms only began appealing claims on behalf of Veterans in 2006, once it became more profitable to them.
Is your attorney VA-accredited? Attorneys can receive accreditation from the VA for helping prepare, present, and prosecute claims. The attorney must undergo a formal application and training process to receive the certification required.
Does your law firm have good reviews and testimonials? Although they may be skewed reviews and testimonials and reviews can provide a good proxy for a firm’s work product and client satisfaction.
Do you want fellow Veterans fighting for you? Sometimes it is easier to communicate with somebody who understands what you went through. Veterans often want to seek counsel from other Veterans, as they share similar experiences and understand the problems a Veteran has.
Berry Law: The Veteran Law Firm
The team at Berry Law has been defending Veterans for over 50 years. As a team full of Veterans, Berry Law is committed to helping those who served. They have helped thousands of Veterans successfully appeal unfavorable rating decisions.
The Veterans disability attorneys at Berry Law have been accredited by the VA to help Veterans in their fight for disability benefits. The firm features attorneys from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
The team at Berry Law is dedicated to fighting for Veterans. If you need assistance appealing your VA rating decision, call Berry Law today.