You may be disappointed by the decision of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Your disability claim may have either been:
- Denied, or
- Awarded, but for much less than you believe is appropriate and fair.
Fortunately, you have options and your pursuit of fair disability benefits is not over yet.
But Your Time to Pursue an Appeal Is Limited
There are several steps you may need to take to protect your rights and each has a strict deadline associated with it. After your veterans’ disability claim has been denied by your regional VA office, you may:
- File a Notice of Disagreement within one year of the date of the letter notifying you of the decision on your initial claim. This appeal goes to your regional office and asks that office to reconsider your claim.
- Once you file the Notice of Disagreement, the VA will reply with a Statement of the Case. If you disagree with the findings in the Statement of the Case, you have either one year from the date of the letter notifying you of the decision on your original claim or 60 days from the date on the letter that came with your Statement of the Case to file an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. You have the right to use whichever of these two deadlines provides you with more time.
- If the Board of Veterans’ Appeals denies your request, you can file a new claim or make a motion for the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to reconsider your appeal. There are no time limits if you take these actions.
- If the Board of Veterans’ Appeals denies your request, you also have the right to appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims. You have 120 days from the date of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision to file with the court.
While looking over these deadlines, keep in mind that the faster you move through the appeal process steps, the faster you will receive your decision and benefits. Because the process can take so long and because there are often delays, taking the necessary steps toward your appeal as quickly as possible will minimize the time you will wait.
Don’t Appeal Alone
You have the right to work with an experienced Veterans’ disability lawyer to help you get the fair recovery you deserve. Please contact us via this website or by phone to discuss your appeal options before it is too late to take action.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.