In some cases, you may be disappointed with the response to your veterans’ disability claim. Your claim may be denied by your VA regional office – or they may decide that your disability rating and payment is lower than you believe it should be. It is important to understand that the Department of Veterans Affairs does make mistakes – even they admit to a 16 percent error rate – and that your claim could have been wrongfully denied or decided.
If you believe that the decision the VA regional office made regarding your disability is not accurate, it is vital that you file an appeal and fight for the benefits that you deserve. What are the steps in this process?
- Write your VA office announcing your wish to appeal. As soon as possible after receiving your denied claim (or wrong claim), you should file a letter of disagreement with your local office. This letter simply has to state that you disagree with the decision and would like to appeal.
- Submit Form 9 to the Board of Appeals. Within 60 days of sending your official letter of disagreement, you must submit Form 9 to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). This is your official appeals paperwork.
- Find and authorize your representation. It is an excellent idea to get help with your appeal – a veterans’ disability attorney, agent, or veterans’ service organization can help you collect evidence in your case and prove to the Board that a mistake was made on your claim.
- Request an official board hearing. During your hearing you will have the opportunity to lay out your case with the help of your representative.
- Wait for your response. Unfortunately, it can take a number of months to hear the result of your appeal. If you still disagree with the Board’s decision, you can appeal again, this time to the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals for Veterans Claims.
It can be disheartening to receive a VA benefits claims’ decision that does not accurately reflect your disability. Because the appeals process can be long and complicated, and because the final decision so greatly impacts your life, it is vital that you have an experienced and knowledgeable advocate at your side. At Morgan & Weisbrod, our Texas disability claims attorneys are here to help guide you through the process and get you the results you need. Contact us today and get the assistance you deserve.
by Carl M. Weisbrod Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law