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How do I Appeal a Rating Decision or Higher Level Review Decision?

Published on April 16th, 2020

When you apply for veterans disability compensation, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork and the complicated procedures involved. Depending on how complex your case is, you may have to jump through a lot of hoops before getting your benefits. The VA recently streamlined its appeals process, but in doing so they have created great confusion by keeping some procedures while doing away with others. Basically, if you’ve get your decision on or after February 19, 2019, the new process applies to you.

At Jackson & MacNichol, we provide effective legal representation to veterans who are appealing the denial of their disability benefits. Some claims get denied as a result of a clerical error and may be quickly resolved in your favor. Other times, claims involve highly technical medical or legal issues or contested factual issues that require the assistance of an experienced lawyer. Before you begin the appeals process, find out how a lawyer can help by calling 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation.

Your Ratings Decision Represents the VA’s Initial Decision on Your Claim

After you file your disability claim, the VA will send you a Ratings Decision. This document will confirm that the VA has reviewed your claim, including the evidence you provided, and decided whether or not to grant you disability compensation. If the VA grants you compensation for your service related condition, the Rating Decision will include a disability rating for each condition along with its effective date.

If the VA denies your benefits for all or some of your claimed conditions, the Ratings Decision will briefly explain why. For older claims, the next step would be to file a notice of disagreement, or NOD, within one year of receiving the VA award letter accompanying the Ratings Decision, but this has changed for new claims.

The appeals process for new claims gives you three options. You can request a higher level review by an experienced VA adjudication staff person, file a supplemental claim with additional evidence, or start a formal appeal with the Bureau of Veterans Appeals, or BVA by filing an NOD on Form 10182. If you file a supplemental claim, the VA ratings staff will consider your claim again including your new evidence and decide whether to change its initial decision.

If you request a higher level review, you will receive a new decsion. After a higher level review, the reviewer will issue a written decision, telling you if they’ve decided to deny your claim for compensation. At that point you again have the option of filing the new NOD, Form 10182, which starts the appeals process to the BVA.

Call a Veterans Benefits Lawyer to Put Your Appeal on Track for Success

The VA’s original decision, and even the higher level review decision, may not include all of the legal and medical issues relevant to your appeal. An experienced veterans benefits lawyer can review your case to help you elect the best appeal option for you, as well as present additional argument and evidence that may help you win your case at a hearing before the Board. If you have received an unfavorable initial or higher level review decision (or a Statement of the Case), Jackson & MacNichol can help you with the next steps. Call us today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation about your case.


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