If your Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claim was denied, you may be discouraged and curious about what to do next. It is quite common for initial disability claims to be denied, and the good news is that you can file an appeal. The appeal process begins with a Notice of Disagreement (NOD), a document you file with the VA.
Like any claims process, there are steps you must follow, and certain paperwork you must complete. Below is some helpful information for completing your VA disability claim appeal.
Appealing a Veterans Disability Claim Denial
When you file an NOD, you are requesting an appeal with the VA. Important considerations that could impact your appeal include:
- Deadlines: There is a one-year deadline for appealing a claim denial. The one year period begins on the date the denial notice was sent to you, not the date you received it or filed an NOD.
- Forms: The appropriate form to use for an appeal is VA Form 21-0958. Using the wrong form will delay your appeal.
- Information: When you file the NOD paperwork, avoid the temptation to provide too much information. Yes, you are frustrated and you want an opportunity to express your thoughts. You will have the opportunity to express your disagreement. Providing too much information in the paperwork can also limit the appeal issues you may qualify for.
- Type of Appeal: You will have the option of choosing to appeal to a Decision Review Officer (DRO) or the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). If you choose the DRO, he or she can make a decision without a BVA review. If you are denied again, you still can appeal to the BVA. If you appeal to the BVA, you may not have the opportunity to appeal again.
- Filing: Sign the NOD paperwork and make a copy for yourself. The original should be filed with the regional VA office indicated on the denial letter. Send the NOD certified and request a receipt.
If you have questions or are unsure of your legal rights, contact The Law Offices of George S. Henderson for help.