How to Appeal a VA Disability Claim

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Appeal your VA disability claim through a regional office.
Appeal your VA disability claim through a regional office. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Veterans receive disability compensation based on injuries or other issues that occurred as a direct result of military duty. Benefits are determined based on percentage the veteran is disabled. The VA determines this percentage on a scale of 0 to 100 percent. The higher the rating, the more benefits the individual will receive. If you are denied the level of benefit you think you deserve, the appeal process to receive a new decision or higher rating can take anywhere from one year up to multiple years as of 2010.

Visit the facility where you obtained your physical examination for your VA case and ask for a copy. If you cannot obtain a copy of your report, visit the Freedom of Information Office and ask for a copy.

Read the report to determine that all of your ailments were included in the report. Note any issues not included in the report or any discrepancies of information listed in comparison to your ailments or information provided to the doctor during the examination.

Submit a Notice of Disagreement to the Board of Veterans Appeals at your local VA regional office. The Notice of Disagreement is a handwritten letter indicating your unhappiness with the original claim and reason. Indicate whether you would like your case to be reviewed by a Decision Review Officer who will review your case and help in setting up a hearing if necessary.

Obtain the contact information for your regional VA office through correspondence, phone book or online at va.gov. Mail the Notice of Disagreement statement within one year of receiving your original claim. The VA will mail you a Statement of the Case for you to review. Read the statement to determine what was used to decide the original outcome.

Submit VA Form 9 to your regional VA office if you are still unhappy with your outcome after reading the Statement of the Case. Contact the VA to obtain this form if they fail to include one with your Statement of the Case. You may also go online to obtain a VA Form 9.

Include the errors you believe the VA or examiner made and the results you expect from the outcome of the case. Return this form within 60 days of receiving your original decision letter.

Wait to receive paperwork indicating your court date with the Court of Veterans Appeals. Expect an informal court session that will include a limited number of representatives.

Provide the representatives with information you believe is important to the case, including anything the physical examiner may have excluded in his paperwork. The representatives then send this information to the Board of Veteran’s Appeals and you will receive a letter indicating the outcome of the hearing.

File an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims if you are unhappy with the results of the hearing. Contact your local VA regional office and speak with a representative from Veterans Services to help prepare you for the appeal. These representatives will help with providing you the proper forms and will give you the list of information you may need to file.

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