At The Bainbridge Firm, we are committed to unwavering advocacy for all our clients. Our firm’s VA-accredited attorney, Casaundra L. Johnson, is committed to guiding you through every step of the intricate appeals process and helping you secure the VA disability benefits you deserve.
VA Claim Process Accreditation and Training
The VA has an accreditation program for all representatives which exists for the purpose of ensuring that veterans and their family members receive appropriate representation in their claims for VA benefits.
Like claims agents and Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), attorneys are required to obtain accreditation through the VA before representing veterans in matters before the Department of Veterans Affairs. Attorneys must be legally accredited before advising claimants on specific benefits, directing claimants on how to complete applications, or otherwise assisting in the preparation, presentation, or prosecution of any claim for VA benefits.
Attorneys must apply for accreditation through the VA’s Office of General Counsel and complete at least three (3) hours of qualifying continuing legal education within the first 12-months of becoming accredited. To maintain accreditation, attorneys are required to complete at least three (3) hours of continuing legal education every two (2) thereafter.
The VA also provides extensive online training that includes comprehensive courses that cover the legal intricacies and procedural nuances of the claims process. Attorneys must successfully complete this training, be fingerprinted, and pass an extensive federal background in order access to the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), which is the VA’s electronic claims management system. VBMS is an invaluable tool for VA-accredited attorneys because it provides electronic access to a veteran’s entire claim file (c-file) and is updated every time a new document is added.
When to Seek Our Expertise in VA Benefits Application Process
While VSOs and claims agents are instrumental in initiating the benefits application process, there are scenarios where consulting an accredited attorney can be crucial. If you’re facing communication challenges, have been denied service connection, disagree with your assigned ratings, or are dissatisfied with the outcome of your original claim or recent appeals, it’s time to consider our assistance.
Comprehending Service Connection
Service connection is the bedrock of veterans’ benefits claims, establishing the link between your military service and the condition for which you’re seeking compensation. Our veterans’ attorney has the knowledge and proficiency to handle diverse conditions related to your military service, ranging from physical ailments like cancer to psychological challenges such as PTSD.
Navigating the VA Appeals Landscape
On February 19, 2019, the VA officially implemented the new VA appeal system, the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (AMA) which restructured the way veterans’ disability compensations claim are processed. The AMA system requires veterans to choose one of three different decision review options, often called appeal lanes, when filing an appeal.
Each appeal lane has different advantages and disadvantages. Our veterans’ attorney uses a strategic approach to appeals that is tailored to the specifics of each case. With experience navigating the AMA appeals system, our accredited attorney will guide you in choosing which appeal lane is most suitable for the evidence, issues, and nuances of your case:
- Supplemental Claim/Appeal: Leveraging new evidence, we bolster your case by presenting compelling additional information.
- Higher-Level Review (HLR) Appeal: Ideal for reevaluating existing evidence, this option includes informal conferences with Decision Review Officers to provide clearer context.
- Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA): Reserved for complex cases, this route entails additional waiting time but can be essential for intricate scenarios.
Our goal is to maximize the probability of success while minimizing unnecessary delays.
Track Record of Success
We take immense pride in our accredited attorney’s ability to secure favorable outcomes for many veterans. For instance, our veterans’ attorney helped a veteran establish service connection for PTSD that was not claimed for several decades after separating from the military, get an increased rating to 70%, and ultimately secure individual unemployability compensation.
Through a meticulous approach to appeals, our accredited attorney has helped numerous other veterans achieve success in their claims and obtain the benefits they deserve for themselves and their families.
Transparent Fee Structure
We charge a 20% contingency fee. This contingency fee structure means you only pay an attorney fee if you are awarded back pay. The VA will automatically deduct our fee, equal to 20% of your retroactive benefits, from your back pay and pay the fee to our office.
Remaining Current and Dedicated to Your Rights
Our veterans’ attorney stays current with evolving veterans’ law and regulations, through continuing legal education courses, ongoing VA training, and NOVA, and by actively seeking information through research and other veteran-oriented organizations.
Our dedication to veterans’ rights is driven by a commitment to treating each client as part of our own family. We provide open communication through letters, phone calls, and emails so you can discuss your concerns, ask questions, and stay informed about the progress of your case.
If you’re a veteran seeking your rightful benefits, reach out to The Bainbridge Firm today for seasoned and empathetic legal assistance. Your service deserves recognition, and we’re honored to help you secure the benefits you’ve earned.