It’s impossible to give an opinion without knowing all of the details of your veterans’ disability claim. In order to fully answer your question, based on the unique facts of your claim, we would suggest scheduling a case review with our firm so that we can get a more complete picture of your situation and then discuss the options that are available to you.
When a Veterans’ Disability Case Can be Reopened
A veterans’ disability claim can only be reopened if:
- Your claim was denied and the decision is final. In other words, the time to appeal the denial has expired.
- There is new and material evidence for you to present to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). New evidence is evidence that you have not yet presented to the VA in connection with your claim and material evidence is evidence that is directly relevant to your claim.
All of these conditions must be met for a veterans’ disability claim to be reopened.
Some Claims Can’t Be Reopened
Regardless of the specific facts of your claim, there are some types of claims that definitely aren’t eligible for reopening. For example, you may not reopen:
- Claims that aren’t for service-connected disability benefits, survivor benefits, or burial benefits
- Claims for pensions or an adjustment to your disability rating. In these situations you must file a new claim.
- Claims that haven’t gone far enough in the VA system. Reopening a claim is a last resort for veterans who’ve exhausted every level of appeal or missed the appeal-filing deadline.
Additionally, if you lack new and material evidence, your claim will not be reopened.
Make the Move That Is Right for You
Your goal is to get the veterans’ disability benefits you deserve. Persuading the VA to reopen a disability claim can be difficult without an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced with the system. Please call us directly or contact us through this website if you have any questions about your own claim.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.