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Veterans Benefits Appeal Process

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Any veteran who is not satisfied with a determination on their VA benefits claim is permitted to appeal the decision. If you have a denied VA claim you have three options: Reapply for benefits, request a review of the decision, or file a VA benefits appeal. The VA benefits appeal process has set deadlines and it is important that those are met by claimants. Additionally, given that veteran' benefit claim and appeals regulations can change, if your VA claim has been denied, you may wish to contact a VA benefits attorney to assist in filing your appeal.


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VA Benefits Denial and VA Claim Appeal

When a claimant' application for benefits has been denied, an appeal can be made to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA). If a claimant is not satisfied with the decision from the BVA, they have the option of appealing to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).

Regardless, VA denied benefits should be addressed as soon as possible. Veteran' Benefits attorney Ben Stewart says that, because there are continually new regulations, veterans should consider a veteran' benefits attorney who is familiar with tracking changes in the law regarding VA lawsuits and VA denied disability.

For instance, a recent Supreme Court decision (Henderson v. Shinseki) determined that the 120-day Limit to File an Appeal to the CAVC can be extended and an appeal to the CAVC will not necessarily be dismissed for missing the deadline. However, the claimant must have a good reason for filing late, such as an inability to meet the deadline due to health problems.

"File now,"Stewart advises. "Even if your claim is denied, you can start the claims period. That way, if it is accepted later, your benefits will go back to the original date when the claims were denied."On its website the VA encourages veterans to seek legal representation and has established that a claimant "will be accorded full right to representation in all stages of an appeal by a recognized organization, attorney, agent, or other authorized person."And it helps to find an attorney who advocates for veterans.

What to do if Your VA Appeal is Denied: The VA Appeals Process
Your attorney may file a Notice of Disagreement with the VA regional office if your claim has been denied by your local VA office. It must be submitted within a year from the denial date. A Statement of the Case will then explain how the VA decided your claim.

Reopening the Case Your denied claim can be reopened only if you have obtained "new and material"evidence relating to the claim. Evidence will only be considered new if it relates to the original case and was not included in the claims folder at the time the BVA reviewed the case.

If the VA denies your filed appeal it will provide you with a specific form that you must complete to make an appeal to the BVA. You then may choose to attend one of the following hearings:
  • an in-person hearing with a BVA member, held in Washington, DC
  • an in-person hearing with a BVA member, held at a local VA office;
  • a teleconference hearing.

At the hearing you will have the opportunity to explain the reasons for the appeal and to submit additional evidence. You may also have legal representation present during any stage of the appeal process.

For more information visit a detailed Overview of the Appeals Process for Veterans' Claims

Veterans Benefits Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered similar damages or injuries, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
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