VA Disability Appeals in Ohio
America’s Veterans should receive due compensation for any injuries suffered in service, including any of the 875,000 Veterans living in the great state of Ohio. Yet the Census Bureau estimates that only 13% of that group have a current service-connected disability rating, well below the national average of 17%. There are many more disabled Veterans in Ohio who lost abilities in war yet do not have a VA disability rating to compensate them for their loss. An Ohio VA disability attorney at Berry Law can help you in your battle for disability benefits.
Berry Law Firm has represented Veterans in every state and continues to challenge decisions at every VA Regional Office in the United States. It is our mission to defend Veterans’ rights, a cause driven in part by the fact that many of our staff are Veterans, and several have disability ratings with the VA. If you have been denied VA benefits, or received an inadequate rating or effective date, you may want to enlist the support of an Ohio VA disability attorney. Please read on to learn more about what our team of lawyers can do to help Veterans in Ohio.
Do you want to file for VA disability benefits? If you have met the eligibility criteria, then it’s pretty easy to get started. In fact, you can begin an Ohio VA disability claim from anywhere in the country, regardless of whether you live there, served there, have it listed on your DD-214, or listed it as your Home Of Record. The process of Federal, so Ohio Veterans claims are administered in the same pool as every other state.
You can use the VA’s website to begin an application, print paper forms to fill out, or use the services of a local Veterans Service Organization (VSO). See a List of VSOs in Ohio.
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) 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 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 may last several years depending on the individual claims. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran is entitled to back pay at the monthly rate they are entitled to reaching 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 wait too long to do so, you may be forced to reopen your claim resulting in a new effective date. This is one reason 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 Ohio.
Each individual disability claim has its own effective date based on when it was first claimed, 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.
Even the most thoroughly prepared claim for benefits may not yield the desired result for a Veteran during the first application. 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 separate avenues for appeal depending on what kind of mistake the VA made. Berry Law helps simplify the process for our clients, crafting well researched appeals that have 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 dedicated 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 claims are Federally adjudicated. IT is not necessary for an Ohio VA disability attorney to be physically located in Ohio. In fact, Berry Law has helped Veterans in Ohio and every other state in America, along with Veterans living abroad. Our dedicated staff can keep you informed regardless of where you are.
The appeals process can be long, but as long as you have preserved your effective date by keeping appeals open, you are entitled to back pay for the whole period of 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 Ohio is located at: 1240 East Ninth St. Cleveland, OH 44199.
(Does that address look familiar? It’s the same address as DFAS uses on your LES!)
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 Ohio please reach out to us for a free consultation on what your options may be.
Don’t assume that every Ohio VA disability attorney is identical. Attorneys have different specialties and areas of experience, and even within the disability community there are lawyers that prioritize different opportunities and tactics. 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 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. Some firms only recently added Veterans Appeals to their Social Security practice and are not invested in actually helping Veterans.
The hardest attribute to select for is how well your lawyer will perform when it comes to extensive research, well-structured arguments, and compelling evidence. Anyone can talk a good game, but you want to see results. While number of years that a lawyer has practiced 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. Has the firm helped people with similar circumstances? Would those clients recommend their lawyer to others?
Military service may also be important to you. Opting for an Ohio 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 without similar experience. Having shared military values with your law firm can make the process more comfortable and less stressful. Will your law firm understand the intense stress of combat and fully comprehend what you went through? An Ohio VA disability attorney from our team can help you fight for and maintain your VA compensation.
Finally, consider the values of the firm to see if they align with your own. This is a law firm that you may be tied to for a decade so be sure that they will be a good partner and have the same goals, priorities, and vision that you do.
Berry Law Firm was established by Vietnam Veteran John Stevens Berry, Sr. During a JAG tour in Vietnam, he successfully defended Green Berets against murder charges, among other courtroom victories for his fellow servicemembers, resulting in major news coverage and an elite reputation. While developing a criminal defense practice, he also represented many Veterans on a pro bono basis against the VA, dedicating himself to helping other Vietnam Veterans get justice. 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 Veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. 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. 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 wearing the uniform.
Our Ohio VA disability lawyers combine our military and legal training to assist Ohio Veterans in their fight for disability benefits.
Berry Law Firm helps Vets from all over Ohio, including cities such as:
VSOs in Ohio
Many Veterans utilize VSOs to file initial claims because certain legal circumstances do not allow an Ohio VA disability attorney from our team to help during this step in the process. Some VSOs have special recognition from the VA for helping Veterans file claims
Local chapters in Ohio include:
The American Legion in Ohio
VFW Posts in Ohio
Some of the VA locations in Ohio include:
INTAKE SITES (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.