Veterans in El Paso are entitled to disability compensation for injuries and/or disabilities they received in service. According to research conducted by the American Community Survey (ACS), there are approximately 48,200 Veterans living in El Paso. According to the same study, only 28% of those Veterans have a service-connected disability.
At Berry Law, we are committed to helping fellow Veterans in their fight for disability benefits. Founded in 1965 by Vietnam Veteran John Stevens Berry, Berry Law currently features attorneys from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.
We understand the struggle Veterans face when they return home from service, and we understand how difficult it can be to get disability compensation for injuries that occurred in service. If you have been denied disability benefits by the VA or given a lower than expected rating, we can help. Contact an El Paso VA disability lawyer on our team to receive a free case evaluation.
Starting a VA Claim in El Paso
If you are a Veteran in El Paso, you can start your VA claim in one of three ways. You can:
- Visit the VA’s eBenefits portal and complete your claim online.
- Fill out VA Form 21-526EZ (Application for Disability Compensation) and take it to a VA regional office or mail it to the VA Evidence Intake Center at PO Box 4444 in Janesville, WI 53547.
- Seek the assistance of a local Veteran Service Officer (VSO)
Veterans should understand the importance of submitting a claim as early as possible. The earlier the VA receives your claim, the earlier effective date you will be given. Why is this important?
Well, the effective date you are given is the date you will be paid back to when your claim is granted. For example, let’s say you have a claim for PTSD that has an effective date of March 12, 2010. After multiple appeals, your claim is finally granted on March 12, 2017.
Because your effective date is in March of 2010, you will be given a back pay award for every month that has passed since the effective date. In the example above, you would receive a lump sum payment for the 7 years of monthly compensation that passed since your effective date.
You should also understand that you can lose your effective date if you miss an appeal deadline. This is why it is so important for Veterans to continue to appeal their denials, to keep their claim open and preserve the effective date.
Utilizing an El Paso VA Disability Lawyer for Your Appeal
If you claim for VA disability benefits is denied or given a lower than expected rating, you do have the right to an appeal. This is the first step in the VA claims process that an El Paso VA disability attorney on our team can help.
Veterans appealing their rating decision have 3 options under the new Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (AMA). AMA gives Veterans different opportunities and tactical decisions when submitting an appeal. The Veteran can ask for a Higher-Level Review, appeal through the Supplemental Claim Lane, or appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA).
- Higher-Level Review: Under the Higher-Level Review lane, a Veteran is simply asking the VA to have a more senior-level claims adjudicator review their claim and offer a new decision. One of the drawbacks of this lane, however, is that Veterans are unable to submit additional evidence in support of their claim.
- Supplemental Claim Lane: Under the Supplemental Claim lane, a Veteran can appeal the VA’s decision by offering additional evidence in support of their VA claim.
- Appeal to the Board: When a Veteran appeals to the BVA, they are given additional options for their appeal. A Veteran can submit additional evidence, ask for a direct review, or request a hearing in front of a Veterans Law judge.
Each lane has its own advantages and disadvantages. A VA accredited lawyer serving El Paso could help determine which lane is most appropriate for your claim and draft an effective appeal on your behalf.
Selecting an El Paso VA Lawyer
Unfortunately, not all El Paso VA appeals lawyers are the same. When selecting an attorney, you should look at the online reviews and testimonials they have. These can provide a good proxy for other clients’ experiences with the firm.
At Berry Law, our team has helped thousands of Veterans appeal their VA decisions. However, the location of your attorney relative to you does not matter since VA claims are federal in nature.
This means that you do not actually need a VA lawyer in El Paso. In fact, we have helped Veterans in El Paso and other cities throughout the US, including some in foreign territories.
Our team understands how the appeals process works and we are committed to providing Veterans the firepower they need to get their claims approved. An experienced El Paso VA disability attorney at Berry Law could help you get the benefits you deserve.
Berry Law: The Veterans Law Firm
The VA claims process can be overwhelming and time consuming. On top of that, your claim could be well put together and still be denied.
At Berry Law, we care about providing Veterans the assistance they need for VA benefits because we are a team full of Veterans.
If you are a Veteran and you have been denied disability benefits, an El Paso VA disability lawyer on our team could help. Contact our team today to schedule a free case evaluation.