Veterans are entitled to disability compensation for the injuries that were a result of the sacrifices they made in the service of our country, including Veterans living in New Hampshire, home to roughly 113,000 Veterans. The Census Bureau estimates that 16% of that group have a service-connected disability rating (the national average is 17%). This means that there are Veterans who have incurred disabling injuries yet do not have a VA disability rating. An experienced New Hampshire VA disability lawyer from Berry Law could help you fight for the disability benefits you deserve.
Berry Law Firm has represented Veterans and servicemembers from coast to coast. 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, received an inadequate rating, or were given an improper effective date, you could benefit from the help of a New Hampshire VA-accredited disability attorney. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in New Hampshire.
The process of applying for benefits can be initiated from anywhere in the US, regardless of where you served or currently live. You can use the VA’s website to apply or use the services 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. You may need to submit additional forms based on your individual circumstances. 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, Veteran age over 75, homelessness, or financial hardship.
It is a good idea to put in an initial claim as soon as possible 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. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran should receive back pay from 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 have to reopen your claim resulting in a new effective date. 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. One reason that Veterans fight so hard to appeal VA decisions is to keep the effective date in place and receive all the compensation for their disabilities that they deserve. See below for additional information about appealing VA decisions in New Hampshire.
Despite a solid claim, the VA Regional Office may nonetheless make an improper decision for a Veteran’s initial claim. When initial claims are denied, given a lower-than-expected rating, or applied to an incorrect effective date, you can appeal the decision. There are several different ways to appeal a ruling based on the VA’s errors. This is the first step in the process that a New Hampshire VA disability lawyer from our team can help.
A New Hampshire VA disability lawyer from Berry Law can help Veterans cut through the red tape and file high quality appeals. We have helped thousands of Veterans achieve desired results for decades. 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. This means that it is not necessary to have a VA disability lawyer in New Hampshire. We have helped clients in New Hampshire and each of the other 49 states, 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. 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 New Hampshire is located at: 275 Chestnut St, Norris Cotton Federal Bldg, Manchester, NH 03101.
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 issue a decision that may or may not satisfy the Veteran. 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 New Hampshire, you can contact Berry Law for a free consultation on what your options may be.
Not every New Hampshire VA disability attorney is equally equipped to help you bring firepower to your appeal. If you decide to hire an attorney to help with your claim, you should pick one that will stick with you for the duration of your case 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 appeal. Beware of firms that only began practicing Veterans Law after 2007 when it became more “profitable” for them.
Sometimes 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. 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 Veterans themselves. Utilizing a New Hampshire VA appeals lawyer who has military experience may help improve their understanding of your situation and reduce the amount of time that you need to spend explaining how the military works. Fellow Veterans often make great wingmen when it comes to helping you work through difficult situations.
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 established by Vietnam Veteran John Stevens Berry, Sr. 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 helped Veterans with legal work, particularly supporting fellow Vietnam Veterans who had been disabled in service.
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 built a Firm that lives on military tradition and values. The firm employs Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force Veterans. We have attorneys hailing from each branch, and feature both Officers and Enlisted, with service ranks ranging from E2 – O6 (including an E9). Our Veterans served during every major conflict since Vietnam, and combined have earned hundreds of awards, ribbons, and commendations for their service.
We also have members of the Reserves and National Guard still wearing the uniform. 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 New Hampshire Veterans in their fight for disability benefits. Contact a New Hampshire VA disability lawyer today to see if we can assist you.
Berry Law represents Veterans throughout New Hampshire, including cities such as:
Many Veterans utilize VSOs to help file initial claims. Since we cannot assist during this initial step, we often recommend Veterans seek the assistance of a local Veteran Service Officer. In fact, some VSOs have special recognition from the VA for helping Veterans file claims. Common VSO locations in New Hampshire include AMVETS, The American Legion, and VFW Posts.
A few of the VA locations in New Hampshire include:
Regional Benefit Office
VA Medical Center
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
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.