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When do I Need to File an Appeal for Veterans Disability?

Published on July 3rd, 2019

You have one year from the date on the denial letter you receive from the VA to start the appeals process. Since the appeals process can take three to four years in many cases, it’s best to send in your Notice of Disagreement (NOD) as soon as possible to get a head start on the process. It’s also best to go through the appeals process with an experienced veterans disability lawyer. Not only will this ease your stress, it will increase the likelihood of success.

At Jackson & MacNichol, we have a proven track record of helping disabled veterans successfully appeal the denial of their compensation claims. Whether the VA denies that your disability is service related or gives you a low disability rating, we can help you appeal the decision to get you the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation about your case, call us today at 800-524-3339.

What Does the VA Disability Claim Appeals Process Look Like?

If you have applied for benefits based on multiple disabilities, carefully review your denial letter to determine if the VA reached a decision about all of your disabilities. Sometimes, it may take them longer to reach a decision about one or more of your medical conditions, in which case you may receive several denial letters. Alternatively, you may get denied compensation for one disability and granted compensation for another.

You must begin the appeals process by sending in a notice of disagreement, or NOD, which is VA Form 21-0958 if you have a claim filed before February 15, 2019. (There is a new, separate appeal process with a new NOD form under a new law for cases filed after February 15, 2019.) The NOD must be mailed or delivered to the VA within one year of the date of the denial letter. You can only appeal issues that you mention in the NOD, so generally it is a good idea to say that you are appealing all issues decided in the VA’s decision, in order not to restrict the issues you can raise later on in the process. This the point at which you can benefit from professional assistance with your appeal. 

After the initial review of your NOD, the VA will send you a Statement of the Case (SOC), which will state the decision of the reviewers, and the facts and laws that led them to their conclusion. If the SOC is still not in your favor, you have the opportunity to appeal again, but this time to the Bureau of Veterans Appeals (BVA). You have 60 days from the date of the SOC to file your appeal with the BVA, which you must do by filing a VA Form 9 or a letter explaining why the Statement of the Case was wrong.

Even if the BVA rejects your appeal, all is not lost. You can still take your case to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. You have 120 days after the BVA issues its decision to request this additional appeal. At this point, your case will likely be three or four years old. But it’s important that you do not give up on your case until you have exhausted all of your options. It’s not uncommon for a disability compensation claim to get denied several times before prevailing in the end.  Unfortunately, if you do not appeal and simply start over with a new claim you will lose all the potential back benefits for the period prior to starting the new claim.

Talk to a Veterans Benefits Lawyer Today

If you have received a denial letter after filing a disability claim with the VA, the time to act is now. You may have a year to file your NOD, but you should make every effort to get file as soon as possible.  The first step in the process is speaking with an experienced disability claim appeals lawyer. Call Jackson & MacNichol today at 800-524-3339 for a free consultation about how to successfully file a veterans disability appeal.


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