If you find that your disability claim was denied by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), filing an appeal could be your best chance to obtain the benefits you need. However, dealing with this process can be challenging without the right legal counsel. A veterans’ disability appeals lawyer could help you understand this process and advise you on pursuing your claim.
A denial of a VA disability claim does not mark the end of a veteran’s chances of recovering benefits. After every denial, there are a series of steps available to appeal this decision. The most important thing for a former servicemember to do is to not give up on the process after receiving the letter of denial.
Any veteran who sees their claim denied should maintain copies of all correspondence from the VA, including the decision letter which describes the reason for the denial. This document is important for the success of a former servicemember’s appeal.
Ultimately, the most important step to prepare for the VA disability appeals process involves hiring an attorney. The process of appealing a disability benefits denial is complex, and even minor errors can have devastating effects on a veteran’s chances of success. A lawyer could maximize the chances of a favorable appeal following a veteran’s disability benefits denial.
There are three different decision review options for former servicemembers to appeal decisions made by the VA on or after February 19, 2019. As long as the claim is continuously pursued, meaning all appeals are filed within one year of the decision, the effective date will remain intact. While a vet may choose to go through this process alone, it is not recommended. An experienced attorney could guide former servicemembers throughout their appeals by offering legal advice and advocacy every step of the way.
The first decision review option is a supplemental claim. A veteran can file a supplemental claim if they have new and relevant evidence that was not considered at the time of denial. New evidence is evidence not previously part of the record, and relevant evidence is information that can prove or disprove a matter at issue in an appeal.
The next appellate option is a higher-level review. A senior reviewer takes a new look at the veteran’s claim and determines whether the VA’s decision can be overturned based on a difference of opinion or an error. New evidence cannot be submitted with this review option.
The final decision review option is a Board appeal. This appeals the claim to a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. There are three options to choose from with a Board appeal. First, a veteran may request a direct review. A judge will review the appeal based on evidence already submitted with no hearing. Second, former servicemembers may submit more evidence for a judge to review within 90 days of the appeal being filed. The third and final option is to request a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge. Additional evidence can be submitted at the hearing or within 90 days after the hearing.
A denied disability claim is not the end of your chances for recovering VA disability benefits. With the right approach during an appeal, you could see a reversal of your denial. If you are ready to keep fighting a denied claim, a veterans’ disability appeals lawyer could help. To learn more, call today for a confidential evaluation.