Learn How to Appeal an Educational Benefits Decision
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Veterans who apply for educational benefits should know how to appeal a decision regarding veterans education benefits, even if a veteran’s specific case never requires an appeal. Generally, the VA education benefits appeal process will begin when a veteran receives a denial letter for their claim. Once the letter has arrived, the applicant should review all of the reasons for the denial. For more information on the veterans education program appeal process and what to do, the following topics are available:
- How to Start an Appeal
- Appeal Process
Find Out How to Start an Appeal
The best way to start the veterans education and training benefits appeal process is to first decide if the claim stands a chance in an appeal case. Veterans who have received denial letters only have one year from the date on the rejection letter to file an appeal. If the veteran fails to submit a VA education and training claim appeal before the year is up, then the VA’s decision on the matter is final. For this reason, applicants are h2ly advised to review the letter to discover the reasons for the denial. If the veteran disagrees with the reasons for denial then he or she should begin a VA education and training claim appeal, which begins with the writing of a ‘Notice of Disagreement’ letter to the VA.
How the Appeal Process Works
Once the ‘Notice of Disagreement’ is filed, the formal VA education and training claim appeal will begin. The VA will review the ‘Notice of Disagreement’ and the VA education benefits appeal process will either allow the claim or instead mail back a Statement of the Case. This will detail all of the evidence the VA had for denying the claim, usually in the form of facts, regulations, laws, and reasons aiding the outcome of the decision. The VA will also send back a VA Form 9 to the applicant in case they wish to take the appeal up with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. If an applicant chooses to continue on with the VA education benefits appeal process, then they must complete the form and submit it to the VA before the one-year deadline mentioned in the denial letter. However, if the Statement of the Case was received by an applicant, they can choose to submit their VA education and training claim appeal to the VA 60 days from that date, or whichever date is later.
In addition to filling out the VA education and training claim appeal form, the applicant also has the option of requesting a Board hearing. However, most hearings that include a Board hearing will be lengthy as the board deliberates the decision. Board hearings are optional but some veteran’s prefer to have another party reviewing the case and giving their input on the matter.
During the veterans education program appeal process, an applicant is allowed to have legal representation. The VA has their own attorney-at-law to assist all applicants with the process, though while filing a veterans education and training benefits appeal process, representation is not required. If an applicant decides legal representation is the best course of action, there is a list of available representatives online. Also, depending on the legal representation an applicant selects, there may or may not be fees associated with the services provided. If an applicant selects VA education and training claim appeal assistance with someone from the Veterans Service Organization, then there will be small fees included. Attorneys not working for the VSO decide if a case will include fees or not, depending on the circumstances.
Evidence is an important part of how to appeal a decision regarding veterans education benefits case with the VA. Any important evidence should be submitted with the VA education and training claim appeal, but if the appeal has already been submitted, then applicants are advised to continue to submit evidence up until a decision has been made. Once the evidence is submitted, the board or the VA will review it. The criteria for evidence in the VA education and training claim appeal is that the VA cannot have seen it before and it is only relevant to the claim on hand. Evidence can either be submitted in writing or provided at the personal hearing with the VA. If an applicant chooses to submit their evidence for the VA education and training claim appeal in writing, they may send any written statements or documents along with a section in the letter of how this evidence should change the earlier decision.
If the applicant instead decides to provide documentation at the hearing, then they must not only request a hearing with someone from the VA. This will allow the petitioner to speak, bring in witnesses or hand in written evidence. Another option for the VA education and training claim appeal is to have a local hearing, though this option requires a letter to be sent to the VA to request the hearing. Once the request has been accepted for the VA education and training claim appeal, the VA will arrange everything and at the hearing will review the evidence presented and document the hearing with a written record.
Once all evidence has been submitted for the VA education and training claim appeal, the VA will review all forms of evidence submitted to them, including any local hearing records, should they apply. After all relevant documents have been reviewed in detail the Board will then decide if the VA education and training claim appeal should be granted or rejected. If the claim cannot be granted despite the VA education and training claim appeal, the VA will go ahead and forward all applicable evidence to an additional board for review.