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Veterans Law

Should I Appeal a Denied Claim or File a New VA Claim?

Jenna Zellmer

June 4, 2017

Updated: November 20, 2023

Should I Appeal a Denied Claim or File a New VA Claim?

The process of appealing a denied claim from the VA can be lengthy, but it is often the only effective way to get the benefits to which you are entitled. Filing an appeal is the only way to preserve the effective date you are assigned  when you initially filed your claim, which could potentially be worth tens of thousands of dollars if you eventually win your appeal.

Depending on your situation, you may be interested in filing a new claim, reopening an old claim, or appealing a claim denial. Each of these situations is unique and has its own set of requirements for the filing process.

Filing a New Claim

There are a few situations in which you can file a new claim.  You can file if you recently received a new diagnosis of a condition you believe is related to military service.  You can also file a new claim if  your service-connected disability has worsened since you received  the original grant of benefits and you are seeking an increased rating.  . In any of these situations, you will need to file a new claim and go through the claims process. Your effective date will be the date you submit your Intent to File.

Reopening a Claim

A reopened claim is a claim for which the benefits could not be granted by the VA and the decision has become final, meaning it can no longer be appealed. This occurs if you do not file your Notice of Disagreement (NOD) within one year of receiving the VA’s decision letter or you do not file the VA 9 appeal after the Statement of the Case (SOC) is issued.

The VA will not reopen a claim unless you submit new and material evidence. “Material” means that the evidence must be relevant and directly related to the issue that caused your claim to be denied. This standard limits your ability to reopen a previously-denied claim.

The effective date for a reopened claim will usually be the date you filed the request to reopen the claim.

Filing an Appeal

Filing an appeal is appropriate when you have a legitimate reason to believe that the VA should have given you a higher rating or an earlier effective date, or when the VA improperly denied service-connection for your disability. You will preserve your original effective date as long as you file your Notice of Disagreement (NOD) within one year of the VA’s decision.

For help navigating the appeals process, consult with an experienced veterans law attorney.

The attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick have over 25 years of experience helping veterans get the benefits they deserve. Call our office at 401-331-6300 to receive your no-cost case consultation.

About the Author

Bio photo of Jenna Zellmer

Jenna joined CCK in January of 2014 as an appellate attorney, was named Managing Attorney in September of 2019, and now serves as a Partner at the firm. Her law practice focuses on representing disabled veterans at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

See more about Jenna