The process for appealing a denied VA claim is the same whether your claim was completely denied, or your rating was not increased. To begin, you will have to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD).
You have one year from the date of the letter notifying you of the VA’s decision to file your NOD. You may need assistance with your NOD and all of the other steps of your appeal, so consider consulting with a veterans lawyer with experience in increased rating claims.
It may help your appeal if you provide additional evidence supporting your claim for an increased rating. It is best to submit all additional evidence when you submit your NOD. Otherwise, the VA will have to do a new review each time you submit new evidence, which will result in further delays during an appeals process that can already move quite slowly.
Upon receiving your NOD, the VA will review your claim again. You can request either a traditional review or a de novo review, in which a Decision Review Officer will review your entire claim from the start, including any new evidence you have submitted.
The Decision Review Officer will examine your case and either grant your appeal or provide you with a Statement of the Case (SOC). If any part of your claim is denied, you will receive an SOC that explains the reasons for the denial.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals
If you receive an SOC from the VA, you have 60 days to appeal your case to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). If you have not contacted a veterans lawyer, you may want to do so at this point.
To appeal an SOC, you must file a VA Form 9 which perfects your appeal to the BVA. Once again, you can submit additional evidence at this point, but keep in mind that each time you do, the VA will have to perform another review which can result in delays in your case being certified to the Board.. Each new review can substantially delay the process, so submit all evidence at once, if possible.
You also have the option of requesting a hearing before a Veterans Law Judge. During this hearing, you are able to give testimony to support your claim. These hearings are meant to provide you an opportunity to explain your story in person and why you believe you are entitled to VA benefits.
The Judge will not make a decision at the hearing. After reviewing all of the evidence, the Judge will decide whether to grant, remand, or deny each issue of your appeal.
If the Board of Veterans’ Appeals denied your claim and there are legal grounds to appeal to the Court of Appeals of Veterans Claims, you will have to file a Notice of Appeal with the Court within 120 days from the date of the BVA’s decision.
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