If you had your VA Disability denied, you may want to learn what to do next. If you have questions after reading the information below, give us a call. Woods & Woods never charges for VA Disability claim evaluations. Ask us all the questions you like about VA Disability for free. Get help by filling out the contact form or by calling toll-free (866) 232-5777.
VA Disability denied? Learn about appealing.
Below are the four main stages of getting your VA Disability appeal started. This is an oversimplified, condensed explanation of how to begin the VA Disability Benefits appeals process.
1. Denial or Low-Rating Received: The veteran or family member must first receive a denial of VA benefits or a low-rating to appeal. When this happens remain calm, many veterans are denied benefits or rated too low.
2. Notice of Disagreement (NOD): The Notice of Disagreement lets the Veterans Administration know that you disagree with their decision. Veterans and their family members must file the NOD within one year from the date the VA’s decision was made.
3. Statement of the Case (SOC): The Veterans Administration will send the Statement of the Case (SOC) to the veteran or their Veterans Disability lawyer. This often takes a while; sometimes around 200 days. The SOC should be reviewed carefully for any mistakes.
4. VA Form 9: If you wish to appeal, you must now file a Form 9 to begin the appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). You must meet the time limits for filing a Form 9 or you forfeit your right to appeal. You must now go through the rest of the appeal process.
Tips if your had your VA Disability denied.
Tip #1 Get new evidence for your appeal: After having your VA Disability denied, you should consider getting new VA Disability Benefits evidence. While you may feel the evidence you presented with your application was strong – the VA clearly thought otherwise. The VA has a duty to assist veterans in their claims, but lets be honest, your Decision Review Officer (DRO) isn’t really going to spend much time digging through your medical records.
Tip #2 Meet all the deadlines: After having your VA Disability denied, the clock starts ticking on your appeal period. Veterans have one year from the date of the VA Disability denial to file their VA Disability appeal. Once you file your appeal, there will be lots of deadlines to meet. Make sure you do not blow a deadline! If you do, your VA Disability Benefits claim may be considered closed. If that happens, you can re-file, but you are going to have to go through the initial application process again. Too many veterans miss a small deadline, don’t realize it, and screw up their own claim.
Tip #3 Double-check all your paperwork: You’re probably thinking, that isn’t a very helpful tip. But remember, many VA Disability Benefits claims go wrong because of small errors. The amount of paperwork overwhelms many disabled veterans. You don’t want to rush through your paperwork. Be thoughtful of what you are putting down on paper. Too many veterans have their VA Disability claims denied because of small errors. Take a small amount of time and double-check your paperwork.
Tip #4 Buddy statements are powerful: If you are missing records you should consider VA disability benefits buddy statements. Veterans can get VA Disability Benefits with lost service records. Buddy statements are essentially testimony from your friends and family that help prove a service-connected condition. Lets just say a veteran had their records destroyed in the 1973 St. Louis fire and can’t prove they were in Vietnam. Suppose that veteran has Agent Orange illnesses and can’t service-connect the illnesses because he can’t prove he was in Vietnam. That veteran should get statements from his friends and family, people he served with, or his commanding officers stating he was in Vietnam.
Tip #5 Expert reports can make or break a claim: One thing our VA Disability denial lawyers regularly do is hire experts for our clients’ claims. The reports written by these experts help prove (1) that the veteran’s impairments are service-connected, (2) that the veteran actually has these impairments, and (3) that these impairments have a negative affect on the veteran’s ability to work. Working with doctors outside the VA, psychologists, and vocational experts provide relevant medical evidence that disabled veterans are entitled to VA Disability Benefits.
Frequently asked questions after having your VA Disability denied.
How much is my VA Disability claim worth? Your VA Disability payments will depend upon the severity of your service-connected injuries. Your rating will also consider the number of service-connected impairments you have. Then the VA has a convoluted formula they use to total all your ratings into one “combined rating.”
What are the chances of having my VA Disability denied? Your chances of obtaining VA Disability Benefits depends solely upon the strength of your service-connected disability claim. Many veterans that had their VA Disability denied do not understand why they had their VA Disability denied. Sometimes the error in the claim was due to the veteran, while too often the mistake was made on the VA’s part of the claim.
How common are VA mistakes? The VA has denied millions of dollars in benefits, reports Military Times. The VA inspector generals office found the VA withheld $110 million in benefits. They also found that out of the 186,000 veterans “designated as housebound because of illness or injury,” 33,400 of them had errors in their payments.
What if I applied years ago and never heard back? This does occasionally happen to veterans. You may think you had your VA Disability denied, but really you could have an open claim. If you never received a decision, your claim could be pending and accruing VA Disability back pay.
I had my VA Disability denied, should I get a VSO?
For simple VA Disability claims: If you have a relatively simple VA Disability claim, a VSO is probably adequate to help you appeal. Veterans who are appealing for tinnitus and other 10% or 20% ratings can get the help they need from a VSO. Those veterans can get help at their local VSO or DAV.
For complicated VA Disability claims: Many VSO’s do not have the resources needed to handle complicated VA Disability claims. If you are trying to obtain Individual Unemployability Benefits or a 100 percent VA Disability rating we suggest you talk with a VA Disability lawyer. More complicated claims require better evidence, thorough briefs, case law research, etc.
VA Disability denied? Get help!
Woods & Woods VA Disability lawyers have filed thousands of appeals with the Veterans Administration. Our legal staff of over 85 people work on nothing but VA Disability Benefits claims. We have teams of lawyers, case managers, doctors, psychologists, vocational experts, and case analysts that will be involved in your appeal.
Get a free VA Disability claim evaluation. Want to learn more about appealing? You can talk to our VA Benefits appeals lawyers for free. Your VA Disability appeal evaluation is completely free. We will examine your claim and let you know what is the best course of action you should take. If you want an honest opinion of your clam, give us a call.
We only charge if we win your appeal. If you do hire our Veterans Disability Benefits lawyers, you only pay if you win your appeal. If your VA Disability appeal is not successful, you don’t owe us a penny.
Call just to get information. Want to have someone answer your questions about appealing? Talk to Woods & Woods Veterans Benefits lawyers and we’ll answer your questions at no cost to you. There is never an obligation to hire us just for asking questions. Remember, our VA certified disability attorneys are here to help disabled veterans!