Starting a VA Claim in North Carolina
The process of applying for VA disability 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 VSO (Veterans Service Organization).
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. 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). The forms must be signed and dated, packaged with any evidence you wish for the VA to consider, and either mailed to the VA Evidence Intake Center in Janesville, Wisconsin, or faxed to the VA at the number listed on the form.
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.
Once set, the effective date will not change regardless of how long it takes to fully adjudicate a claim, which may last several years depending on the individual claims you are filing. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran should receive back pay at the monthly rate they are entitled to from the final decision date all the way back to the effective date. It is also 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 have to reopen your claim resulting in a new effective date. This is one reason that we urge Veterans to appeal all VA decisions they disagree with, to keep the effective date in place and receive all the compensation for their disabilities that they earned. The effective date for each disability claim is independent, so an early effective date for a claim based on knee pain will usually not apply to an initial claim for PTSD submitted years later. See below for additional information about appealing VA decisions in North Carolina.
Submitting a VA Appeal in North Carolina
Unfortunately, the VA does not always make the correct decision for a Veteran’s initial disability benefits claim. If an initial claim is denied, rated too low, or given an improper effective date, you can appeal the decision. This is the first step in the VA claims process that a North Carolina VA disability lawyer from our team can step in and assist you. You can appeal in a number of different ways depending on how the decision was reached. An attorney from our team can diagnose your claim and help determine the best appeal route to pursue.
Berry Law can help you present the most compelling appeal for your case and has been a crucial part of helping Veterans get the compensation they sacrificed for, including back pay. Berry Law Firm has helped its clients recover over $100 Million in backpay over decades of client service. 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 VA claims are Federally adjudicated. Therefore, you do not actually need a VA disability lawyer in North Carolina. In fact, we have helped clients in North Carolina and every other state in America, along with Veterans in US territories and foreign countries. Some appeals processes can last years, 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.
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 North Carolina is located at: 251 N Main St, Winston-Salem, NC 27155.
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 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 North Carolina please contact a North Carolina VA disability lawyer at Berry Law Firm for more information and a free consultation.
Selecting a VA Accredited Attorney Serving North Carolina
Don’t assume that every North Carolina VA disability attorney is the same. 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 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. Some firms only recently added Veterans Appeals to their Social Security practice and are not invested in actually helping Veterans.
Oftentimes, 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 North Carolina VA appeals lawyer who has actually served in the military may help improve their understanding of your situation and eliminate the need to explain your military experiences to someone without similar experience. Nothing can replace the camaraderie developed through shared service experiences. 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.
Berry Law Firm: The Veterans Law Firm
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 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 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 lawyers from each branch, and feature both Officers and Enlisted, who left the service ranking between E2 and O6. Our Veterans have served in Vietnam, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, at sea, and elsewhere around the world, and combined have earned hundreds of awards, ribbons, and commendations for their service. Also on staff are members of the Reserves and National Guard still serving.
We combine our military and legal training to assist North Carolina Veterans with their legal needs. If you need help appealing your VA decision, contact a North Carolina VA disability lawyer at Berry Law Firm.
Serving Clients Throughout North Carolina
Our team is committed to helping Veterans in their fight for disability compensation. Berry Law Firm helps Vets from all over North Carolina, including those located in cities such as:
- Chapel Hill
- High Point
- Rocky Mount
- Wake Forest
Resources for Veterans in North Carolina
VSOs can help you file an initial claim. Some VSOs have special recognition from the VA for helping Veterans file claims. In fact, we often recommend Veterans seek the help of a local VSO when filing an initial claim. Some examples of VSOs include AMVETS, The American Legion, and VFW Posts.
VA Locations in North Carolina
Some of the VA facilities in North Carolina include:
Regional Benefit Office
- Winston-Salem, NC – Winston-Salem Regional Office
VA Medical Center
- Asheville, NC – Asheville VA Medical Center
- Durham, NC – Durham VA Medical Center
- Fayetteville, NC – Fayetteville VA Medical Center
- Salisbury, NC – Salisbury – W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center
Intake Site (Pre-Discharge Claims Assistance)
- Camp Lejeune, NC – Camp Lejeune
- Camp Lejeune, NC – Cherry Point MCAS
- Camp Lejeune, NC – New River MCAS
- Fort Bragg, NC – Fort Bragg
- Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC – Pope Air Force Base
- Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC – Seymour Johnson Air Force Base
- Fayetteville, NC – Fayetteville Dialysis Clinic
- Fayetteville, NC – Fayetteville Health Care Center
- Fayetteville, NC – Fayetteville Rehabilitation Clinic
- Greenville, NC – Greenville Health Care Center
- Hickory, NC – Hickory CBOC
- Raleigh, NC – Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Clinic
- Raleigh, NC – Brier Creek Dialysis Clinic
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
- Charlotte, NC – Charlotte CBOC
- Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Health Care Center
- Durham, NC – Durham Clinic
- Durham, NC – Hillandale Road Outpatient Clinics 1 & II
- Elizabeth City, NC – Albemarle Primary OPC
- Franklin, NC – Franklin CBOC
- Goldsboro, NC – Goldsboro Community Based Outpatient Clinic
- Hamlet, NC – Hamlet CBOC
- Jacksonville, NC – Jacksonville CBOC
- Kernersville, NC – Kernersville Health Care Center
- Morehead City, NC – Morehead City CBOC
- Pembroke, NC – Robeson County CBOC
- Raleigh, NC – Raleigh CBOC
- Raleigh, NC – Raleigh II CBOC
- Raleigh, NC – Raleigh III CBOC
- Raleigh, NC – Raleigh III Clinic
- Rutherfordton, NC – Rutherford County CBOC
- Sanford, NC – Sanford CBOC
- Supply, NC – Brunswick County
- Wilmington, NC – Wilmington HCC
- Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Vet Center
- Fayetteville, NC – Fayetteville Vet Center
- Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Vet Center
- Greenville, NC – Greenville, NC Vet Center
- Jacksonville, NC – Jacksonville Vet Center
- Raleigh, NC – Raleigh Vet Center
- Spindale, NC – Spindale Outstation
- Fayetteville, NC – Fayetteville (NC) Vet Center
- Jacksonville, NC – Jacksonville Vet Center
- Durham, NC – VISN 6: VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network