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Veteran (VA) Disability Lawyer Serving Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Veterans with injuries or illnesses stemming from their military service may be entitled to VA disability compensation. The amount of disability benefits a veteran may be granted depends on the severity of their injuries, as well as a number of other factors such as if they have eligible dependents or receive other military, service, or needs-based benefits.

VA may deny a claim based on insufficient evidence, filing errors, or presumed changes in your health. However, denied claims are not the only reason you may wish to appeal VA’s decision on your claim. You may also wish to file an appeal if you believe your assigned disability rating should be higher. For assistance with an appeal, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD at (844) 549-4500. A veteran (VA) disability lawyer serving Tuscaloosa, Alabama may be able to help.

Types of VA Appeals

In the new system under the Appeals Modernization Act (AMA), you can now appeal initial VA decisions in one of three ways. You can file a supplemental claim, request a higher-level review, or file a Notice of Disagreement requesting a board appeal. We will discuss each of these options below.

Supplemental Claims

Choose a supplemental claim if you want to add new evidence relevant to your case or identify new evidence that needs to be reviewed. A VA reviewer will decide whether the new evidence you provide or identify is grounds for a change of VA’s initial case determination.

A supplemental claim should be filed within 12 months of the date printed on your decision letter so that you do not miss out on benefits that you may be entitled to receive.

New evidence is anything relevant to your case that the VA did not have before the latest decision was made. Relevancy is determined by whether information can be used to prove or disprove your condition.

You can either submit such evidence yourself or ask VA to obtain it from an approved medical center. File your supplemental claim by filling out the Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim (VA Form 20-0995), selecting the appropriate benefits in Part I on the form and stating the issues that you want reviewed in Part II. Provide all new and relevant evidence and submit your claim. Claims can be submitted in person at a VA regional office or by mail to the designated VA processing facility.

Higher-Level Reviews

You can request that a senior VA employee review your case if you disagree with VA’s decision. If they find that an error was made, your decision may be changed. You can request higher-level reviews for decisions made on initial or supplemental claims. You have 12 months from the date printed on your decision letter to request a higher-level claim review, but it is important to note that you cannot request a higher-level review of a decision issued from a request for higher-level review.

Additionally, you are not allowed to submit any new evidence as part of your higher-level review, but you or your representative can speak with your reviewer to tell them why you believe your initial decision should be overturned. Senior reviewers may try to reach you to discuss your case but will proceed with reviewing your case and issuing a decision if they cannot reach you or your authorized representative after two attempts.

You can request a higher-level review by filling out VA Form 20-0996, Decision Review Request: Higher-Level Review. Select a type of benefit in Part I, request an informal conference with your reviewer in Part II if you would like to speak with them, and state the issue(s)that you would like reviewed in Part III. Like supplemental claims, applications for higher-level reviews can be submitted in person at a regional VA office or by mail. You can also fax your application to the designated VA office.

Board Appeals

With a Board appeal, your appeal will be reviewed by a judge who is an expert in veterans law. You can choose this option to appeal an initial claim decision, a supplemental claim decision, or a higher-level review request decision, but you cannot request two successive board appeals for a single claim. You have 12 months from the date on your rating decision letter to request a Board appeal unless you have a contested claim.

When filing a Board appeal, you must choose from one of the following three dockets:

  1. Direct Docket: Request a direct review in which a judge with expertise on veterans law will review your claim using evidence that you already submitted. You are not allowed to submit new evidence and you cannot have a hearing.
  2. Evidence Docket: Submit more evidence for review.
  3. Hearing Docket: Request a hearing, at which you may present new and relevant evidence if you choose. Your hearing will be conducted either virtually from your home, via videoconference from a VA location near you, or in-person at VA’s Board Appeals Office in Washington, D.C.

If you would like to request a board appeal for your case, fill out VA Form 10182–Decision Review Request: Board Appeal. Mark the relevant options to indicate the type of review you wish to have and note which issues you want to appeal. Submit your form as you would a supplemental claim or higher-level review application.

Contact the Office of Veteran (VA) Disability Attorneys to Learn More Today

The veteran (VA) disability team at CCK serving Tuscaloosa, Alabama can review your case and determine whether we can assist you with your appeal. We have the knowledge and experience needed to appeal wrongful benefit denials by VA.

For a complimentary review of your claim, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD at (844) 549-4500.