Veterans who filed appeals before February 2019 are by default participating in the legacy appeals system. The legacy appeals system is structured linearly. Starting at the top and going down the line, the first step is to file a claim with your VA Regional Office. This can be done online through the VA website or by mail. Next, VA will issue a rating decision and send a decision packet to you. The packet contains details of the decision and award (if there is one). These details include whether service connection has been granted and, if it has, a disability rating and an effective date for the rating. The effective date, usually the same date of your claim submission, identifies from when you will start receiving compensation. If the date is in the past, you may receive retroactive benefits.
After being notified of the decision you can appeal it if you choose. Within one year of your rating decision, you must file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with the decision. From there, you will receive a Statement of the Case (SOC). This explains why your case was denied. If you disagree with the SOC you may choose to appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. You have 60 days from, the date of the SOC to file your appeal. A Substantive Appeal is filed using VA Form 9. If you do not submit any additional evidence, your appeal will be transferred to the Board. However, if with your appeal you submit any evidence or request that VA obtains additional evidence, your local VA office will review it and send a Supplemental Statement of the Case. The next step is optional, you may choose to have a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge. If you decide to have a hearing, a transcript of the hearing will be added to your file.
Your file will then wait in docket order for it to be reviewed by a Board member (also known as a Veterans Law Judge). When a decision has been made, VA will notify you that your appeal was granted, remanded, or denied. If you receive a denial and you disagree with the decision you may choose to file a Notice of Appeal with the U.S Court of Appeal for Veterans Claims (CVAC) within 120 days of the board decision.
To learn more, read the full blog here – VA Disability Compensation: an overview of the claims and appeals process