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VA’s New Forms Explained: How to File Appeals

VA’s New Forms Explained: How to File Appeals

Claims for disability compensation must be submitted on the application form that is specifically required by VA.  The legacy appeals system (i.e. the old appeals system) uses variations of VA Form 21-526, Veteran’s Application for Compensation and/or Pension, when it comes to filing claims.  However, there are several new forms that VA has introduced with Appeals Reform, including the following:

Each form corresponds to a review option, or lane, within the new appeals system.  It is important for claimants to fill out these forms accurately and completely in order to ensure their claims and appeals are being processed properly.  Here’s some information on how to do so:

VA Form 20-0995: Veteran’s Supplemental Claim Application

Claimants will be required to submit this form in order to initiate a supplemental claim for VA disability compensation.  VA has indicated this form is necessary to identify the issues that a claimant is dissatisfied with and then determine the claimant’s eligibility to apply for a supplemental claim.  The supplemental claim form is broken up into the following sections:

  • Claimant’s Identifying Information. This section requires claimants to fill out the following information: full name, Social security number, date of birth, current mailing address, telephone number, and benefit type (e.g. compensation, pension/survivors benefits, etc.).
  • Issue(s) for Supplemental Claim. In this section, claimants must list each issue decided by VA that they would like VA to review as part of the supplemental claim.  Each specific issue must be included along with the date of the VA decision notice in which it was originally denied or partially granted.  This section also includes a check-box to indicate if claimants will be opting in to the new appeals system following a Statement of the Case (SOC) or Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC) from the legacy appeals system.  By checking that box, claimants are electing to participate in the new system and withdrawing all eligible appeal issues listed on the form from the legacy system.
  • New and Relevant Evidence. To complete a supplemental claim, claimants must submit new and relevant evidence to VA or tell VA about new and relevant evidence to assist in gathering.  If claimants want VA to get federal records, such as treatment records from VA medical centers, claimants must list the name and location of the facility and the dates of the records.
  • Certification and signature. This section is mandatory and completion is required for VA to process the supplemental claim.  By signing, veterans are indicating that the information in the supplemental claim is true and correct.

VA Form 20-0996: Application for Higher-Level Review

Claimants will be required to submit this form in order to request a higher-level review of a VA decision on a claim for benefits.  VA has indicated this form is necessary to identify the issues that a claimant is dissatisfied with and then use this information to initiate a higher-level review by an agency adjudicator.  The higher-level review form contains the following sections:

  • Claimant’s Identifying Information. This section requires claimants to fill out the following information: full name, Social security number, date of birth, current mailing address, telephone number, and benefit type (e.g. compensation, pension/survivors benefits, etc.).
  • Higher-Level Review Options. Here, claimants have an option to check a box indicating that they would like to have the higher-level review conducted at the same office that issued the initial decision.  If this box is not marked, VA will take that as a request to have a different office conduct the review.  Additionally, this section presents the opportunity for claimants to request an informal conference with the higher-level reviewer.
  • Issues for Higher-Level Review. In this section, claimants must indicate each issue decided by VA for which they are requesting a higher-level review, along with the date of the VA decision notice in which it was originally denied or partially granted.  The “opt-in from SOC/SSOC” check-box is present in this section in an application for higher-level review as well.
  • Certification and Signature. Similar to other VA forms, this section is used to finalize the claimant’s request for review.

VA Form 10182: Decision Review Request: Board Appeal (Notice of Disagreement)

Claimants will be required to submit this form in order to appeal one or more previously decided issues to the Board.  Importantly, all appeals to the Board must be submitted directly to the Board and will no longer be accepted by any Regional Office.  To be accepted by the Board, a complete Notice of Disagreement must identify the specific determination with which the claimant disagrees, and must indicate if the claimant requests to have a hearing before the Board, an opportunity to submit additional evidence, or neither.  According to VA, this form is necessary to permit claimants to appeal to the Board.  The new Notice of Disagreement under Appeals Reform is organized as follows:

  • Personal Information. Like the Veteran’s Supplemental Claim Application and the Application for Higher-Level Review, the Notice of Disagreement requires claimants to fill out the following information: full name, Social Security number, date of birth, current mailing address, and telephone number.
  • Board Review Option. In this section, claimants must select which Board docket they want their appeal processed under: (1) direct review by a Veterans Law Judge; (2) evidence submission reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge; or (3) hearing with a Veterans Law Judge.  Claimants are only permitted to check one of the review boxes.
  • Specific Issue(s) to be Appealed to a Veterans Law Judge at the Board. Here, claimants must list each issue decided by VA that they want to appeal to the Board, along with the date of the unfavorable VA decision notice.  The “opt-in from SOC/SSOC” check-box appears at the end of this section as well.
  • Certification and Signature. Claimants must sign and date the form to finalize their appeal to the Board.

Category: Veterans Law

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