A Notice of Disagreement (NOD) is a formal statement letting the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) know you disagree with its decision on your disability claim. When you apply for disability benefits, the VA sends you a letter with its decision. You can file a NOD if the VA denies your claim or approves you for less compensation than you deserve.

The paperwork to file your notice comes with your decision letter from the VA. The process for filing a NOD has strict rules you must follow to receive a favorable outcome. A veterans disability attorney from Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help you build the strongest possible case. Call today for a consultation: 401-331-6300.

How do I submit a NOD?

To submit a NOD, you must fill out VA Form 21-0958. The VA will include this form when it sends you its decision on your claim. The form asks for a lot of information, and how you fill it out can greatly affect your chance of a decision reversal. An attorney from Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can walk you through the process and ensure your NOD is effective.

Your NOD form is personalized to your specific claim. It includes blocks for each medical condition for which you applied and on which you received a rating decision. You can disagree with your decision or rating on more than one injury or illness.

Perhaps you filed a claim for both a knee injury and a chronic back condition. The VA rendered a favorable decision on your knee injury but denied your claim for your back condition. In this situation, you would fill out only the block on the NOD form that corresponds with your back condition.

It is important to read your decision from the VA thoroughly before filling out a NOD. You need to understand the rationale behind the VA’s decision before you can effectively counter it with your own argument. The VA often writes its claim decisions in unclear language that leaves room for interpretation, buried under pages of legalese. We can help you cut through it and respond with a winning argument.

What information should I include on a NOD?

An effective NOD features several pieces of information, all explained clearly and thoroughly. The first is the specific medical condition or conditions in question. Next, you must let the VA know on which grounds you disagree with its decision.

Your claim decision features three areas with which you can disagree. These are whether your condition is service related, the effective date of your award, and the evaluation of your disability.

Service Connection

If the VA feels your medical condition is unrelated to your military service, it can deny your claim on those grounds. You can disagree with the VA’s decision by providing evidence that your condition indeed stems from your service.

The process of doing this is often nuanced. It is rare that the VA makes a cut-and-dry mistake, such as attributing a back injury you sustained in combat to a different cause. What is more likely is that, for instance, you suffer an injury during service that leads to a secondary injury after serving.

The VA should cover secondary injuries that stem from service-connected primary injuries. But sometimes it denies such claims or awards a smaller amount than deserved. Our attorneys can help you put together a strong NOD to fight for your award.

Effective Date of Award

The effective date of your award typically should be your date of original claim. If the VA awards you an effective date you think is incorrect, our attorneys can help you determine if you have a compelling argument that your award date should be earlier. For instance, if you file a claim for service connection within a year of leaving active duty, the effective date of your award should be the day after your discharge. In some cases, the VA will disagree and set your award date much later, like the date of a VA examination. This would significantly impact the amount of retroactive benefits you receive. Therefore, it is important to get in touch with us as soon as possible.

Evaluation of Disability

The evaluation of your disability represents the most likely area of your disagreement with the VA’s decision. The VA uses a rating schedule to evaluate the severity of your symptoms and the level of medical care necessitated by your condition. This rating determines your compensation amount.

An effective NOD on the grounds of disability evaluation requires providing evidence of symptoms or medical complications more severe than indicated by the VA’s rating. The attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD will look into your medical records and help you build a convincing case on these grounds.

How long do I have to file a NOD?

The deadline to file a NOD is one year from the date of the VA’s notification letter included with its decision. The clock starts the date the VA mails your decision letter, not the date you receive it. In practice, it is unwise to wait until the deadline is near to file your NOD.

Review the VA’s decision as soon as you receive it, and decide if there is any part with which you disagree. Then contact a qualified veterans law attorney who can help you put together the strongest possible NOD.

What happens after I file a NOD?

When you file a NOD, you have two choices for how the VA reviews it. You can select the Decision Review Officer (DRO) process or the traditional process.

If you choose the first option, a DRO will review your original claim from scratch, plus any new evidence and information you provide with your NOD. The DRO might contact you with additional questions or request follow-up evidence during the review process.

If you select the traditional route, the VA will review the decision on your claim and determine if any error was made.

Which review route is preferable depends on your circumstances. Our attorneys have years of experience reviewing rating decisions and in filing appeals that result in the best outcomes for our clients.

The review process can take anywhere from a few months to a year or longer. The more evidence you provide up front, the faster the VA can review your NOD. Contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD to start the process and build your case: 401-331-6300.