All of our Veterans should receive the benefits that they earned while serving our country, and this includes Veterans in Tennessee, home to approximately 484,901 Veterans. The Census Bureau calculates that roughly 16% of that group have at least one service-connected disability (the average state is 17%). However, there are many more who have suffered injuries that do not have a VA disability rating. A Tennessee VA disability lawyer could help you fight for the disability benefits you are entitled to.
Berry Law Firm has represented Veterans and servicemembers in every 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 could benefit from the help of a Tennessee Veterans disability appeal attorney. The following article is meant to help you understand the Veterans’ disability benefits process in Tennessee.
You can get started with a VA disability claim from any location in the world, regardless of where you served. You can use the VA’s website to apply or seek the help of a local 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. 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). Once completed, these forms can be submitted to the VA. Initial claims generally take several months to process, but they can be expedited for certain reasons, including
It is important to start your claim early to set an early effective date. The effective date is important because it 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 relevance is that the Veteran should receive back pay at the monthly rate they are entitled to for every month that has passed since 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 miss the deadline, you may have to reopen your claim leading to a new effective date. One reason that Veterans fight so hard to appeal VA decisions is to keep the effective date in place and ensure that they will receive all the compensation for their disabilities that they deserve. See below for additional information about appealing VA decisions in Tennessee.
Each individual disability claim has its own effective date based on when the claim was first submitted, 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.
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, the Veteran has the right to appeal. This is the first step in the process where a Tennessee VA disability lawyer from Berry Law can step in and help.
There are separate avenues for appeal depending on what kind of mistake the VA made. Berry Law can help you present the most compelling appeal for your case, and we have helped Veterans recover over $100 million in backpay owed to them by the government. We have representatives in multiple cities, but the location of your attorney does not actually impact the process because it is Federal in nature. This means that you do not actually need a VA disability lawyer in Tennessee to help you appeal the VA’s decision. Actually, our team has helped Veterans in Tennessee and each of the other 49 states, along with Veterans living abroad.
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. 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. 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 Tennessee is located at: 110 9th Ave., Nashville, TN 37203.
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 Tennessee please contact a Tennessee VA disability lawyer from Berry Law.
Don’t assume that every Tennessee VA disability attorney is equally equipped to help you bring with 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 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 “profitable” for them.
One of the most difficult talents to assess 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. We often find that Veterans want assistance from attorneys who have actually served in the military. Utilizing a Tennessee 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 a similar background. 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?
Lastly, you may want to gauge responsiveness to your inquiry to see how likely the attorney is to help quickly when you really need it. A Tennessee VA disability from our team will respond to your inquiries and work with you to create an effective appeal for your claim.
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. While developing a criminal defense practice, he also helped Veterans with legal work, particularly supporting fellow Vietnam Veterans who had been disabled in service. 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 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. 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, with service ranks ranging from E2 – O6 (including an E9).
Our Veterans served during every major conflict since Vietnam, and combined have earned hundreds of awards, ribbons, and commendations for their service. We also have Reservists and National Guardsmen still serving. 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 combine our military and legal training to assist Tennessee Veterans in their fight for disability benefits.
A Tennessee VA disability lawyer can help represent Veterans throughout Tennessee, including those who are located in:
VA Health Care System
VA Medical Center
Community Based Outpatient Clinic
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