Your appeal starts when you submit your Notice of Disagreement (NOD). If you disagree with any aspect of the VA’s rating decision regarding your claim for disability compensation, you will need to submit your NOD within one year of the date of your decision letter.
You may be frustrated after receiving a decision that you believe to be incorrect or unfair, but it is important to know that you have options. Filing a NOD will appeal that unfavorable decision, while preserving the effective date of your original claim. However, it is important to know how to correctly and completely file your NOD. If you do not provide the right information or explain your story clearly, you could complicate your appeals process.
When to Submit a Notice of Disagreement
There are four main reasons that you should submit your NOD:
- The VA grants your claim, but you disagree with the effective date in your decision;
- The VA grants your claim, but you disagree with disability rating assigned;
- The VA does not think your condition is service-connected, and you disagree;
- The VA does not think you are entitled to an increased rating, and you disagree.
Before you submit your NOD, you should attempt to determine whether you have a legal basis for your disagreement. The VA’s disability rating criteria are set by law and determined by your symptoms. The effective date and service requirements are determined by law as well. The regulations can be complex and difficult to understand, so you may want to consult with a veterans disability attorney at this point.
The VA makes many errors in applying the law, and you may be able to increase your rating or establish service connection by submitting additional supporting evidence. If you have a legitimate basis for filing an appeal, you can then begin completing your NOD.
How to Complete the Notice of Disagreement
The VA requires that all Notices of Disagreement be submitted on VA Form 21-0958. On your NOD, list the specific parts of the decision with which you disagree in the VA’s decision, whether it be service connection, effective date, disability rating, or other. If the rating decision you received addresses multiple conditions, you must be sure you list each condition separately and specifically indicate with which aspect of the VA’s decision you disagree .
Next, you have the option to include a narrative statement. This is your chance to tell the VA why they made a mistake. Be as specific as you can about why you disagree with the decision and why believe you are entitled to what you are appealing.
You also have the chance to submit new evidence at this point. You can submit evidence later on, but each additional evidence submission may delay your appeal, so it will save you time to send the VA everything it needs at once.
Finally, you can choose whether to have a decision review officer (DRO) review your case or have a traditional review performed. Your choice will depend on your specific case, so ask your veterans attorney which option is best for you.
If you need assistance with your appeal, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. Our veterans law practitioners have experience with every aspect of the appeals process. Call us at 401-331-6300 for a no-cost case evaluation.