It’s exhausting to have a Bellaire VA disability benefits claim denied at every level of appeal within the VA system. By the time you receive your final notification of denial from the Court of Appeals for Veterans claims, you may be ready to start the process all over again – if you aren’t ready to just give up.
However, even though it may not feel this way at every point in the process, the VA wants to ensure that every veteran who has earned disability benefits has the opportunity to prove their eligibility. Because of this, you can either start the claims process over from the beginning or in many situations, you can request the VA reopen your claim.
A claim can’t be reopened automatically. The veteran must be able to present the VA with new and material evidence sufficiently demonstrating that a mistake was made in prior determinations. We’ll talk about evidence in a separate article. In this article, we’ll review the kinds of claims and situations that qualify.
Which claims are eligible for reopening?
In order to be reopened, a claim must meet one of the two criteria:
- You’ve exhausted every level of appeal, including DRO, BVA and CAVC, and have been denied at every level.
- You missed the filing date for the appeal.
Not every type claim can be reopened—if a request for an increased disability rating or a VA pension has been denied, for example, the veteran must start the application process over from scratch. Types of claims that are eligible for reopening are for:
- Service-connected disability benefits
- Burial benefits
- Dependency indemnity compensation
For qualifying claims, there is no statute of limitations for when a claim can be reopened. If you have new material evidence for a claim that has been closed for 30 years, you may be able to reopen it.
However, be aware that your new effective date will correlate with the date the claim was reopened, not when it was originally filed. In order to maximize back pay, you’ll want to start the process as soon as possible.
Do you think the VA made a mistake in denying your claim for disability compensation? Don’t try to navigate the tricky process of reopening a claim without legal support. Talk to a dedicated Bellaire VA benefits attorney at Morgan & Weisbrod today to learn more. Call 877-898-1581or complete the online form today.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.