Appealing a Decision from the Department of Veterans AffairsVeterans of the United States military served our country bravely. Those who have been injured or developed a serious medical condition during their time in the military may be eligible for compensation of lost wages and medical bills. Unfortunately, the Department of Veterans Affairs is an organization like any other that pays disability benefits and they routinely deny claims.
The Coye Law Firm's disability attorneys and staff are determined to help veterans get the compensation they deserve for serving our country. If your claim for veterans disability benefits has been denied, you have the right to file an appeal. With our help, you can get benefits to make up for your lost wages due to disability.
See here for the packet "How Do I Appeal?" from the Board of Veterans' Appeals.
Deadline for AppealYou have one year from the time you receive the VA's decision to file an appeal. Unlike decisions made by the Social Security Administration, the VA's decision is considered final after one year and cannot be reopened.
How to AppealThe first step in appealing a decision made by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs is to write a letter to your local VA office. There is no form to file an appeal, instead you or your attorney can write a statement that specifically outlines why you disagree with the decision on your benefits.
Once the VA processes your appeal request, they send you a letter called the Statement of the Case, along with VA Form 9. The Statement of the Case tells you why your claim and/or appeal have been denied. Form 9 is what you need to fill out and return to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs in order to continue the appeals process. You have 60 days from receiving this package to return Form 9 and notify the VA that you wish to continue your appeal.
Request a HearingOnce the VA acknowledges that they received your request for an appeal, you have 90 days to request a hearing and obtain representation from an experienced disability attorney. The Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) will review your case, which can take up to two or more years due to their case load. People living under "exceptional circumstances" such as terminal illness, foreclosure, or bankruptcy may have their appeals reviewed sooner if they provide "convincing proof."
Claimants may also choose to have a personal hearing between themselves, their attorney, and a VA official. This is a formal meeting that gives you the opportunity to tell someone how your disability affects your life by providing testimony and evidence. An attorney can help you make a strong case before you meet with a VA official. This face-to-face meeting often saves time and provides a favorable outcome for denied claims. If your claim is denied by a Decision Review Officer (DRO), you can still appeal to the BVA.
You will receive a decision about your appeal in the mail at your home address. If you further disagree with the decision, you may appeal again. This time, the case goes to the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals for Veteran Claims. You need to file a notice of appeal within 120 of receiving the unfavorable decision.