This post is for those who disagree with the decision on their VA disability claim and tells you how to appeal. That said, the process to appeal changed sometime back in February 2019, and so, here’s how you should go about it, or what all guidelines you need to follow to get the decision reviewed –
Currently, there are three ways in which veterans and consultants for veterans may appeal for a decision review. These include –
- Adding new and more relevant evidence – a Supplemental Claim
- Asking to get it reviewed by a senior reviewer – a Higher-Level Review
- Appealing to a Veterans Law Judge – a Board Appeal
Supplemental claims are chosen by consultants for veterans, when they’re adding in new evidence that supports the veterans’case or when they want evidence reviewed. A reviewer goes through the evidence and determines whether it changes the decision.
While you can file for a Supplemental Claim anytime (when you have new evidence), it’s best if you do so within a year from the date of the original decision. Supplemental Claims are generally settled within an average of 125 days.
As the name implies, this process is merely asking for another review of the same evidence. In this, a senior reviewer goes through the evidence and the case, and determines whether the decision can be changed based on an error on the VA’s part or even on the basis of a difference of opinion. The process allows veterans or even the consultants for veterans to speak with the reviewer on the phone to tell them why they think the decision should be changed.
Veterans can go for a Higher-Level review of a decision on an initial claim or even on Supplemental Claim. Like Supplemental Claims, this may also take about 4-5 months. That said, consultants for veterans have a period of one year from the date of the decision letter to file for it.
In such cases, a judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C. reviews the appeal. The Board’s goal for deciding appeals with no new evidence is about a year. However, veterans or even consultants for veterans have the option to add new evidence for the judge to review. There’s more to it! People also have an option to request a hearing with a judge, either in person or by video conference from a VA location nearby.
Veterans can file for a Board Appeal post receiving the decision letter, or even after a Supplemental Claim or a High-Level Review. However, people can’t request two Board Appeals in a row.