Learn About Appealing Disability Denials

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Many veterans wonder how to appeal a decision regarding veterans disability benefits when officials deny compensation. The veterans disability compensation eligibility appeal process can proceedafter the VA sends a letter denying a veteran’s disability compensation claim. The claimant must initiate the VA disability compensation appeal process by sending a letter called a Notice of Disagreement to the VA. Along with the Notice of Disagreement, the claimant must provide the additional evidence the VA has requested, complete the forms that were incomplete or comply with any directives noted in the denial letter. In many instances, the VA denies claims because of lack of evidence or incompleteness of the application. In order to continue with a VA disability claim appeal, the claimant must follow a series of steps and processes. To learn more aboutthe veterans disability benefits appeal process and how to appeal a decision regarding veterans disability benefits, refer to the topics below:

  • How to appeal a decision regarding veterans disability benefits
  • The VAdisability compensation appeal process

How to Appeal a Decision Regarding Veterans Disability Benefits

The VA disability compensation appeal processbegins with the Bureau of Veterans Affairs, which maintain a listing of the types of decisions eligible for appeal by the veteran. The most popular VA disability claim appeals include appeals regarding service-connected disability benefits, education assistance, burial benefits and survivor’s benefits. Additionally, the VA disability claim appeal can accept some of the decisions and appeal a part of the decision. For example, the veteran agrees with the decision to determine that he or she is disabled, but may disagree with the amount awarded. However, a VA disability claim appeal cannot be made for most medical determinations that have been made by physicians.

The VA disability compensation appeal process has two avenues that the claimant may choose to pursue. The veteran may choose to petition to have a (DRO) Decision Review Officer review the particulars of the case, include evidence provided. Or, the claimant can file the VA disability claim appeal to have Board of Veterans review the claim. The BVA will review the case and then provide a ‘de novo’ decision regarding the claim and disability compensation eligibility. Both types can be pursued at the same time, if the claimant so chooses.

The VA Disability Compensation Appeal Process

Step One: Notice of Disagreement

Applicants can initiate the VA disability compensation appeal process after receiving a denial letter stating why the VA denied the claim. If, after reading through the veterans disability compensation eligibility appeal process denial letter, the veteran determines that there has been a mistake made, then the veteran must write a letter stating the error. Likewise, VA disability compensation appeal process may require the veteran to take corrective measures to provide more evidence or information by furnishing a letter giving the additional evidence. This letter is the Notice of Disagreement, in legal terms, and must be written on a form that will be provided along with the denial letter.

Step Two: Mail the Notice of Disagreement

This step in the VA disability compensation appeal process may appear to be a simple step, the records may have moved to another VA office.Knowing where to send the NOD is an important part of how to appeal a decision regarding veterans disability benefits. Sending the NOD to the VA facility where the veteran initially filedand where the VA made the decision is not always the correct choice. Denied applicants must submit the NOD letter to the location of the records no later than one year after receiving the denial letter.

Step Three: The Review

Next in the VA disability compensation appeal process is the review. In this phase, the DRO or the RSVR will look over the claimant’s file and additional evidence. This review is undertaken by a new set of representatives and no deference will be given to the first verdict. If the VA disability claim appeal is found to be supported, then the appeals process ends and the claimant winshis or her appeal. However, if the VA disability claim appeal is denied a second time, then a Statement of Case will be issued to the claimant.

Step Four: VA Form 9

If the claimant wishes to learn how to file further appeals because he or she still believes the decision to be in error, he or she can take the VA disability claim to the Board of Veteran’s Appeals. The BVA will be summoned by the completion and submission of Form 9. The claimant has 60 days in which to file Form 9.

Step Five: The Hearing

Once the claimant has resubmitted the VA disability claim appeal along with the Form 9 requesting a hearing, a date will be set. The date can be months in the future, so claimants are urged to prepare for a long wait. Once the hearing takes place, the actual determination of the Board will be mailed to the claimant within a few weeks of the hearing.