Learn About Pension Appeals
The VA pension appeal process can be complicated because it is a system that involves several different steps. VA pension appeals go through a process known as an open record system, which allows veterans to submit additional evidence at any point during the VA pension benefits appeal, instead of just at the very beginning. Consequently, the VA pension appeal process can take a long time, since it is very likely the VA will have to go over additional evidence as it is submitted. The VA disability pension appeal process is the same as the normal VA pension benefits appeal process. Learn more about VA pension appeals by reviewing the following sections:
- Starting a VA pension claim appeal
- Representation for a VA pension claim appeal
- Providing evidence for a VA pension claim appeal
Starting a VA Pension Claim Appeal
Obtaining a VA pension appeal form is the first step in the appeals process. The VA pension appeal form can be acquired in person from any VA facility, by mail request or by printing from the internet. VA pension appeals may begin when the VA denies a veteran his or her pension claim application and sends the veteran a notice of disagreement. The notice of disagreement will provide an address to send the VA pension appeal form and an explanation of why the veteran's original pension request was denied in the first place. When getting ready to submit the VA pension appeal form, the petitioner should also include any additional evidence that can help the pension appeal. This could include documents such as doctor's notes or other medical records.
A VA pension benefits appeal must be submitted within one year from the date on which the veteran received the notice of disagreement. While it may be possible to file a VA pension benefits appeal after this deadline, the VA is under no legal obligation to honor these late requests.
Once the VA pension appeal process begins, veterans will receive more documents that relate to their pension appeals. These documents are known collectively as a statement of the case, and they contain all of the facts, laws, regulations and the original reasons for the VA's denial of the pension request. In addition to the statement of the case, the VA will send an Appeal to Board of Veterans Appeals form. The VA pension appeal process cannot officially continue until this form is completed.
Representation for a VA Pension Claim Appeal
When preparing for the VA pension appeal process, the veteran may opt for legal representation that can assist through the appeal. Veterans are able to request free legal assistance from the Veterans Service Organization. Veterans can also hire a lawyer to help with the VA pension appeal process if they are not happy with the representation from the Veterans Service Organization.
The VA pension appeal process also allows veterans to recruit agents to help with the appeal. Anyone familiar with how to submit a VA pension claim appeal can serve as an agent, and they do not actually need to have any license to practice law in the United States. Veterans who have undergone VA pension appeals themselves are the most common types of agents.
Providing Evidence for a VA Pension Claim Appeal
The VA pension appeal process is so complex because of the new evidence that is submitted. One of the first things that veterans may do after being denied is to seek out another doctor to provide a second medical opinion supporting their original claims. As part of the VA pension benefits appeal process, some veterans will also seek out their former superior officers for assistance with proving their military records.
For VA Pension appeals, Veterans do not need to worry about sending evidence that was part of the original pension claim. Veterans have two main methods for submitting new evidence: in writing or in person. With writing, VA pension claim appeals by veterans must provide copies of all the documents that relate to the case, along with written statements that explain why the new evidence is relevant to the case and how it can change the initial denial. In person meetings go through a similar VA pension benefits appeal process, with the main difference being that veterans are also able to bring in witnesses to make verbal statements. It can take a little longer to schedule an in-person appointment, since everyone involved will have to line up their schedules.
During the VA pension benefits appeal process, the VA will look through all of the new evidence that is submitted. When the VA is ready to make a decision, a representative will notify the veteran on the new ruling. If the veteran is still unsatisfied with the results, he or she can file another claim and start preparing new evidence.