How to Appeal a VA Disability Decision

The VA’s decision regarding your disability benefits may be unsatisfactory. Unfortunately, you are not alone in this, as many veterans find their claims denied for various reasons. In this case, you are supposed to appeal the decision. Today, let’s see some information you should know if you want to appeal a VA benefits denial.

When appealing the decision with the VA regional office, which refused to grant you the benefits, you should prepare a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). You should also make sure that you file the appeal within the required time, which is a year from the date on the denial letter.


What Should be Included in the NOD

Stating that you were dissatisfied that the VA regional office denied your claim should be included in your NOD. Avoid detailing all your reasons since they might not assist in your appeal. The crucial thing is to state your intention to appeal clearly. Discuss more with a veterans disability lawyer to decide how you will do it. At this point, you are just announcing to the VA that you disagree with their decision.

You should ensure that you include the date of the denial letter in your notice of disagreement. You could also let the VA know that you are not limited to the few reasons you listed in your notice. Another thing that you should add to your NOD is that you are unhappy with all the decisions stated in the letter. Lastly, you must submit the NOD to the office that sent you. Keep the denial letter, the receipt, and a copy of your NOD. Then, following your lawyer’s advice, send the NOD to the VA.

Decide on the Type of Appeal to Use

There are two types of appeal. The first type of appeal is discussing your situation with a Decision Review Officer after getting a response from your VA regional office. The DRO is a VA senior-level employee who is there to manage post-decision appeals of disability award decisions.

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The other type of appeal is using the Board of Veterans Appeals. In this case, you should have a SOC from the VA regional office. What is a Statement of a Case? It is a document giving you information about the VA regional office’s decision to deny or partially deny your veterans disability benefits.

The problem with waiting for the Statement of the Case is that it takes a lot of time. This makes appealing with the DRO faster than appealing with the BVA. The problem is that a DRO might also deny you the disability benefits. Talk to your attorney about appealing the DRO’s decision to the BVA later if it happens.

What You Should Expect After Filing Your Appeal

Appeal to the DRO

When you request an appeal from the Decision Review Officer, the VA will send you a letter asking you to state detailed information regarding what you need the VA to change. If you don’t request a hearing, the DRO reaches a conclusion using the information in your file. When you request the hearing, you will attend it after submitting the information asked by the VA regional office. Do not do anything without backup and advice from your attorney.

Appeal to the BVA

When you choose an appeal to the BVA, you should wait for the Statement of the Case to be sent to you by the VA. After receiving the report on the case, you should file your appeal within sixty days from the day that you received the Statement of the Case. VA form 9 is used when appealing to the BVA. Filling out VA forms and going through all the motions and procedures can be challenging, so seek help from an attorney. When you finish filling out the form, your file is supposed to be submitted to the BVA by the VA. As you can imagine, this process takes some months. You will know that your file has been submitted when the BVA sends you a letter stating what you should do next.

Bottom Line

Suppose you follow the above information on how to appeal a VA disability decision; there are possibilities that the VA regional office will grant you the benefits you asked for depending on your disability rating. Nevertheless, do not go through the process alone, as many veterans are left out of the benefits system because they couldn’t manage the paperwork or didn’t know how to appeal the denials.

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