Steps You Need to Take to Appeal a Veterans Benefits Decision

Sep 17, 19 Steps You Need to Take to Appeal a Veterans Benefits Decision

Getting a denial letter from the Veterans Administration can be aggravating and discouraging. Don’t despair. It’s not uncommon for claims to be denied the first time. You can appeal by filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with the VA. You have a year from the date the letter was sent to file. A skilled veterans benefits lawyer in Louisiana can guide you through this process.

Getting Started

There’s a specific form to use when filing your appeal, VA Form 21-0958. Although in the past you could file a Statement in Support of Claim, these days only form 21-0958 will do.

The natural temptation is to argue. Fight it. Don’t give any detailed explanation of where you think your denial letter was in error. You will eventually have the opportunity to do this, but here is not the place. The purpose of your NOD is solely to preserve the right of appeal against the denial. If you get bogged down in details, you may lose the ability to appeal issues you do not mention or may not yet be aware of.

What to Include

Simply state that you disagree with all the VA’s decisions in the denial letter and intend to appeal those decisions. Include the date of the denial letter and the ratings decision. If you do decide to state specific issues, although that’s not a good idea, state clearly that there are other issues as well.

What’s Next

You will then have to make determinations about the type of appeal. Will it be through a decision review officer (DRO) or the board of veterans appeals (BVA)? You must then file the NOD at the Veterans Affairs office that sent the denial letter.
If you fail to mention an issue in your NOD, you would have to produce new material evidence on appeal showing that the VA made a clear legal error. In other words, you might have to file a whole new claim. Keep this document general to avoid that fate.

Your veterans benefits lawyer in Louisiana can guide you through this complex process. Contact Jackson & MacNichol Attorneys at Law to find out more.

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