All of our Veterans should receive benefits for the injuries they received because of their time in service, and this includes Veterans in South Carolina, where there are roughly 391,660 Veterans. The Census Bureau estimates that 19% of these Veterans have a service-connected disability rating (the national average is 17%). However, there are others who may have incurred disabling injuries yet do not have a VA disability rating. A South Carolina VA disability lawyer can help you fight for the disability benefits you are entitled to.
Berry Law Firm has represented Veterans in all 50 states. We pursue Veterans’ disability appeals at every VA Regional Office in the United States and are dedicated to ensuring Veterans’ rights are protected. If you have been denied VA benefits or are unhappy with your rating decision, you could benefit from the help of a South Carolina VA disability attorney. Please read on to learn more about how we can help Veterans in South Carolina.
The process of applying for benefits can be initiated from anywhere in the world, regardless of where you served. You can apply directly online through the VA or seek the help of a 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 generally take several months 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. The effective date remains in place regardless of how long it takes to fully settle a claim, which may last several years depending on the individual claims. The importance of the effective date is that the Veteran should receive back pay at the monthly rate for every month back to their 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.
The effective date for each disability claim is independent, so an earlier effective date for a shoulder claim will usually not apply to an initial claim for PTSD submitted years later. See below for additional information about appealing VA decisions in South Carolina.
Unfortunately, the VA does not always make the correct decision for a Veteran’s initial claim. If an initial claim is denied, rated too low, or given an improper effective date, you can appeal the decision. There are separate avenues for appeal depending on what kind of mistake the VA made. Berry Law’s South Carolina VA disability lawyers help Veterans cut through the red tape and file high quality appeals. These appeals have helped Veterans recover over $100 Million in backpay owed to them by the government. You can see some of our case results here.
We have attorneys and advocates in various locations throughout the US, but the location of your attorney does not actually impact the process because it is Federal in nature. So, you do not need a VA disability lawyer in South Carolina. A Veterans benefits attorney can help you with your claim no matter the location. In fact, our team has helped Veterans in South Carolina and every other state in America, 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. 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 in South Carolina is located at: 6437 Garners Ferry Rd, Columbia, South Carolina.
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 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 South Carolina, please contact the a South Carolina VA disability attorney at Berry Law Firm for a free consultation.
Don’t assume that every South Carolina VA disability attorney is identical. If you choose to get help from an attorney to appeal your rating decision, 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. 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. Beware of firms that only began practicing Veterans Law after 2007—when it became more “profitable” for them.
It is sometimes difficult to determine how effective your lawyer will be at presenting your case with research, evidence, and arguments. While number of years of practice can serve as a proxy, it’s hard to gauge work product until it’s finished. Testimonials and reviews can provide additional insight that may help you determine how well the firm has done for other Veterans. Military service may also be important to you. Utilizing a South Carolina VA appeals lawyer who has actually served in the military may help them understand 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. When it’s time to fix bayonets and charge a position, will your attorney understand? A South Carolina VA disability lawyer from Berry Law will work with you to get your appeal approved.
Making the right decision on hiring a law firm can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.
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, 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.
In our ranks are Veterans from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. We have attorneys hailing 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. They 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. In fact, John Berry received the Patriot Award from the ESGR for his commitment to employing servicemembers. The firm has been named as “Military and Veterans Law Firm of the Year” by multiple agencies. A South Carolina VA disability lawyer from our team will bring our passion for the military and our passion for the law to help you with your VA claim.
Berry Law Firm helps Vets from all over South Carolina, including those located in:
Below are a list of VA resources for Veterans living in South Carolina.
VA Health Care System
VA Medical Center
Community Service Programs
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
Intake Site (Pre-Discharge Claims Assistance)
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