All of our Veterans are entitled to compensation for the sacrifices they made while defending the United States, including Veterans living in Oregon. As of now, there are approximately 323,500 Veterans living in Oregon. The Census Bureau estimates that 18% of that group have at least one service-connected disability (the average state is 17%). However, there are many more who have suffered injuries yet do not have a VA disability rating. An Oregon VA disability attorney from Berry Law can help ensure that you are receiving the VA disability compensation you are entitled to.
At Berry Law Firm, we represent Veterans and servicemembers in all 50 states. We pursue Veterans’ disability appeals at every VA Regional Office in the United States and take significant 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 an Oregon VA disability lawyer. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in Oregon.
A VA disability claim can be initiated from anywhere in the country, regardless of where you served. You can apply directly online through the VA or use the services of a local 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. 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, Veterans over 75 years old, homelessness, or financial hardship.
It is important to start your claim early to set an early effective date for your claim. Once set, the effective date will not change regardless of how long it takes to fully adjudicate a claim, which can take anywhere from months to years depending on the case. The effective date is important because the Veteran is entitled to back pay at the monthly rate for every month since the decision was made all the way back to their effective date.
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. 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 earned. See below for additional information about appealing VA decisions in Oregon. An experienced Oregon VA disability attorney can advise you on whether or not you have the correct effective date and can fight to have it moved back if the VA made an error.
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 an initial claim for PTSD submitted years later.
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, the Veteran has the right to appeal. This is the first step in the process where an Oregon VA disability attorney from Berry Law can help.
There are separate avenues for appeal depending on what kind of mistake the VA made. Berry Law helps Veterans cut through the red tape and file high quality appeals that have helped Veterans recover over $100 Million in backpay owed to them by the government.
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. So, an Oregon VA disability attorney does not need to be physically located in Oregon to help you with your claim. In fact, our team has helped Veterans in Oregon and each of the other 49 states, along with Veterans in US territories and foreign countries.
Some appeals processes can last years, but if you have preserved your effective date by keeping appeals open, you are entitled to back pay for the entire time your claim has been opened.
The first type of appeal is usually a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). 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 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 Regional Office in Oregon is located at 100 SW Main St., Floor 2, Portland, OR 97204. The BVA will review the material to make its own determination. If you are unsatisfied with the BVA decision, you can then appeal to the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) for further adjudication.
If you would like help appealing a VA decision in Oregon, please reach out to an Oregon VA disability lawyer on our team for a free consultation on what your options may be.
Not every Oregon VA disability lawyer 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. 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 aspect to determine is how effective your lawyer will be at presenting your case with research, evidence, and arguments. 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.
You may also want to focus on attorneys who have served in the military. Utilizing an Oregon VA appeals lawyer who has served in the military can make communicating about difficult issues easier and reduce the amount of time that you need to spend explaining how the military works. Having a “battle buddy” or “shipmate” who has been in similar circumstances may make you more comfortable opening up about your experiences and individual needs. Will your law firm understand the intense stress of combat? An Oregon VA disability attorney at Berry Law will look for every opportunity to increase your disability rating.
Making the right decision on hiring a law firm can make a significant difference for the outcome of your case.
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. 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. His son, John S. Berry, Jr., is now the Managing Partner of the Firm and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Nebraska National Guard, where he held multiple Command positions after earlier Active Duty tours in both Bosnia and Iraq. John has built a Firm that lives on military tradition and values.
On our staff are Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force Veterans. We have lawyers from each branch, and feature both Officers and Enlisted, with service ranks ranging from E2 – O6 (including an E9). Our Veterans have served in Vietnam, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, at sea, and elsewhere around the world, and have the accompanying ribbon racks of sustained superior service to the country. Also on staff are Reservists and National Guardsmen still attending drill and occasionally mobilizing.
John Berry and Berry Law have received the Patriot Award from the ESGR for our efforts made to support emolyee participation in the National Guard and Reserve forces through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed. The firm has also been named as “Military and Veterans Law Firm of the Year” by multiple agencies.
Our Oregon VA disability attorneys both passion for the military and passion for the law to help Oregon Veterans with their legal needs. If you need help appealing a VA decision, please contact our team at (888) 883-2483 today to see how we can help.
Berry Law represents Veterans throughout Oregon, including cities such as:
Certain legal restrictions prevent us from filing an initial claim on behalf of Veterans. However, VSOs can help you file an initial claim. Some VSOs have special recognition from the VA for helping Veterans file claims. For your convenience, we have listed the VA health care locations below.
VA Health Care System
VA Medical Center
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
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