VA Disability Appeals in Rhode Island
Rhode Island Veterans worked hard to serve their country, and Berry Law exists to serve them in their times of legal need. All Veterans deserve the compensation that they sacrificed for in the service of our country, including the 72,000 Veterans living in Rhode Island. While many of these Veterans are receiving adequate disability compensation, there remain a large number of Rhode Island Vets who are not being compensated for their service-connected injuries.
This article is intended to help you understand the process and options for seeking VA disability treatment and payment. No two cases are identical, and our team is ready to discuss your situation to see if we can help.
The attorneys of Berry Law have represented Veterans from coast to coast, including in America’s smallest state. We fight for Veterans’ disability appeals at every VA Regional Office in America, 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 a Rhode Island Veterans disability appeal attorney. This article will cover:
- Starting a VA Claim in Rhode Island
- Appealing a VA Decision in Rhode Island
- Selecting a VA Disability Appeals Attorney
- Berry Law: Veterans Serving Veterans
- Serving Clients from Across Rhode Island
- VA Facilities in Rhode Island
Starting a VA Claim in Rhode Island
Getting started with a VA disability claim can be initiated from anywhere in the world, regardless of whether you served in that location. Whether you were stationed at the Naval War College in Newport, or have retired to Providence, you can get Rhode Island disability benefits for service-related injuries.
To get started, you can use the VA’s website to apply, or use the services of a local VSO (Veterans Service Organization). If applying on your own, you need to complete VA Form 21-526EZ (https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-526EZ-ARE.pdf) or you can start an application 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 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 should be submitted to the VA for processing.
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 settle out your claim, which can take years depending on the appeals process. 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 permanently 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 leading to the establishment of a new effective date. One reason that Veterans fight so hard to appeal VA decisions is to keep the original effective date in place and get all of the compensation you are entitled to. Keep reading to learn more about appealing VA decisions in Rhode Island.
Appealing a VA Decision in Rhode Island
Even the most thoroughly prepared claim for benefits may not yield the desired result 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.
You can appeal in a number of different ways depending on how the decision was reached. Berry Law helps Veterans cut through the red tape and file high quality 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 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. We have helped clients in Rhode Island, 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.
Most appeals begin with filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with your VA Regional Office. This form 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 Rhode Island is located at: 380 Westminster St. Providence, RI 02903.
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 conduct their own review to reach a decision. 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 Rhode Island please contact the team of attorneys at Berry Law Firm for a free consultation on what your options may be.
Selecting a VA-certified Disability Appeals Attorney
Don’t assume that every Rhode Island 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 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.
The hardest aspect to select for 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 themselves Veterans. Opting for a Rhode Island VA appeals lawyer who has military experience can make communicating about difficult issues easier and reduce the amount of time that you need to spend explaining how the military works. 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: Veterans Serving Veterans
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 Veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. We have lawyers from each branch, and feature both Officers and Enlisted, who left the service ranking between E2 and O6. Our Veterans served during every major conflict since Vietnam, 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 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 bring both our passion for the military and our passion for the law to help Rhode Island Veterans in their fight for disability benefits.
Serving Clients from Across Rhode Island
Berry Law Firm helps Vets from all over Rhode Island, including locations such as:
- East Providence
- Brown University
- Naval War College
- University of Rhode Island
- Central Falls
VA Facilities in Rhode Island
Examples of VA locations located in Rhode Island are:
- VA Regional Offices in Rhode Island: 380 Westminster St. Providence, RI 02903
- Providence VA Medical Center, 830 Chalkstone Ave., Providence, RI 02908
- Providence Vet Center, 2038 Warwick Ave., Warwick, RI 02889
- Middletown Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), One Corporate Place, Middletown, RI 02842