Veterans who have served their country may need assistance from the Veterans Affairs Administration (VA) after returning home. Unfortunately, applying for and being approved for benefits can be lengthy and complicated.
Sometimes, veterans may need to file VA disability appeals to receive the benefits they deserve.
For several reasons, injured retired servicemen and women might have to file a veterans appeal. One common reason is that the VA denies a claim for benefits to which the veteran believes they are entitled.
In these cases, it is often necessary to file an appeal to review the decision by a higher authority.
Alternatively, veterans may find their benefits reduced or terminated after being approved initially. This can also result in the need to file a VA disability appeal.
Often, new decisions on VA disability appeals are made based on changes in the veteran’s medical condition or financial situation.
VA Disability Compensation
If you’ve served in the military, you may be eligible for disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Disability payments are a monthly tax-free benefit paid to veterans who are disabled because of an injury or illness while on active duty or to veterans who develop a disability after leaving military service.
Compensation is not just for veterans injured or ill while in the military. Veterans with a service-connected disability may also be eligible for benefits even if they developed after they left the military.
Service-connected disabilities can include physical injuries and wounds, mental health conditions, and diseases caused by Agent Orange, burn pits, Camp Lejeune water contamination, or other environmental hazards.
Disability Rating Decision
The VA compensation a veteran receives depends on their level of disability. Veterans with a 100% disability rating receive the highest monthly payment, while those with a rating of 0% receive no monthly benefits.
In addition to the monthly payment, veterans with a service-connected disability may be eligible for additional benefits, such as healthcare and special adaptive equipment.
If you think you may be eligible for disability payments, applying as soon as possible is essential. The application process can be complicated, so working with a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) or another qualified representative is best.
The VSO can help you gather the evidence you need to support your claim and submit your application.
VA Disability Benefits
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a variety of benefits for military veterans with disabilities. The most common monthly benefits are the VA’s monthly payments to veterans who cannot work because of their disabilities.
These payments are called disability compensation through the VA system. Veterans with a rating of 10% are usually eligible for disability payments.
Disability payments are not the only benefit VA provides for veterans with disabilities. VA also offers health care programs, vocational rehabilitation, and housing assistance. In addition, VA may provide a death pension to the survivors of certain veterans who died from their disabilities.
Filing a VA Disability Claim
Approximately 1.3 million veterans receive disability payments from the VA. Filing a VA disability claim can be complicated and frustrating, but receiving the benefits you deserve is worth it.
To file a VA disability claim, you must gather all your medical evidence. This evidence should include records from your doctor, hospital, or clinic.
You should also provide copies of any records related to your military services, such as discharge papers or personnel files.
Once you have gathered your new evidence, you must complete and submit evidence using VA Form 21-526, “Application for Disability Compensation and Related Benefits.” You can submit additional evidence through the VA claim form online, by mail, or in person at a local VA office.
If your claim is denied, don’t give up! You can appeal the decision by completing and submitting a VA Form 9, “Application for Appeal of Denial of Service-Connected Disability Benefits.” The VA form can be submitted online, by mail, or in person at a local VA office.
Filing a VA disability claim can be difficult, but with the help of a qualified attorney, it can be much easier. An attorney can help you gather and submit evidence and complete the necessary forms.
They can also represent you at all stages of the VA disability appeals process.
My VA Benefits Claim Was Denied: VA Disability Appeals
If you have been denied VA disability benefits, you may feel confused and overwhelmed about your next steps. You may be wondering what your legal options are.
First, it is crucial to understand that the VA disability payment process is complex. There are many factors that the VA will consider when determining your eligibility for benefits, and each claim is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
If your claim was denied, it does not necessarily mean you are not eligible for benefits. There are several ways to challenge a denial, including filing an appeal with the VA or filing a lawsuit in federal court through the established VA disability appeals process.
If you decide to file an appeal, it is crucial to understand that there are several levels to overcome, and the VA disability appeals process can be lengthy. The best way to protect your rights and maximize your chances of receiving benefits is to speak with an experienced attorney specializing in VA disability law.
An attorney can help you understand the complex process and advise you on proceeding with your claim. If necessary, they can also represent you before the VA and in federal court.
Contact a local veterans’ advocacy group or an attorney specializing in VA disability laws to learn more about your legal options.
The VA Disability Appeals Process to Obtain All Deserved Benefits
In 2020, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) issued over 190,000 decisions on disability benefit claims. Of those Board of Veterans’ Appeals decisions, approximately 34,000 claimants were denied benefits.
If you are one of the many veterans who had their claim denied for benefits, don’t give up hope. The BVA is a powerful tool that can help support your denied claim.
The BVA is an appellate body that hears VA disability appeals of decisions made by the administration on disability benefit claims. If the VA denies your claim, you can appeal the decision to the BVA.
The BVA has the power to overturn the VA’s decision and award you benefits if it finds that the VA’s decision was wrong.
One of the advantages of appealing a denial to the BVA is that the BVA will review all of the evidence in your case, not just the evidence that the VA considered. You can submit new evidence to the BVA to support your claim.
The BVA will also consider any new evidence the VA has submitted since its decision.
Providing New and Relevant Evidence to the Board of VA Disability Appeals
If you are thinking of appealing a denial of benefits to the BVA, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of success:
- Submit additional evidence to the BVA (Board of VA Disability Appeals), including new evidence not considered by the VA and any new and relevant evidence submitted since the VA made its decision.
- Ensure your argument is clear and concise. The BVA is not required to overturn a VA decision simply because a claimant disagrees. The BVA will only overturn a decision if it finds that the VA’s decision was wrong.
- Get help from an attorney or veteran service organization. These organizations can help you gather all old together with new and relevant evidence to prepare your argument before submitting it to the BVA.
The Decision Review Process for Denied Veterans Claims
When a veteran’s disability claim is denied, the first step in the VA disability appeals process is to file a Notice of Disagreement. This document informs the VA of your intention to appeal to the board to reconsider the decision.
You must file the document t within one year of receiving the denial letter.
If an attorney represents you in the appeal process, they will likely file the Notice of Disagreement on your behalf. If an attorney does not represent you, you can file the notice letter or have someone else file it.
Statement of the Case
After you file the form, the VA will send you a Statement of the Case. This document summarizes the relevant evidence considered in deciding to deny your claim.
The Statement of the Case document also includes information about how to appeal the decision through the Veterans Benefits Program.
60-Day Time Limit
You have 60 days from receiving the Statement of the Case to submit your appeal. You can do this by filing Form 9, Appeal to Board of VA Disability Appeals. This form tells the Board of Veterans’ Appeals what you disagree with in the VA’s decision and why you believe your claim should be approved.
If an attorney represents you, they will likely file VA Form 9 on your behalf. If an attorney does not represent you, you can file Form 9.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals will review your VA claim and decide whether or not to approve your claim. If they decide in your favor, they will send a letter telling you your claim has been approved and what benefits you are entitled to receive based on the additional evidence.
What Percentage of VA Disability Appeals Are Approved?
In the past, the approval rates for VA disability appeals have been estimated to be around 30% to 35%. However, it’s essential to recognize that these figures can fluctuate and may not reflect the current situation.
The VA disability appeals process can be complex and often requires substantial evidence to support the claim.
Was your appeal to the board unsuccessful, and they decided against you? In that case, the Board of VA Disability Appeals will send a notification letter explaining their decision reviews and the next steps in the appeal process.
Is It Worth Appealing a VA Disability Claim?
Deciding whether to appeal a VA disability claim is a personal decision that depends on various factors. Here are some points to consider when determining if it’s worth appealing a VA disability claim:
- Strong evidence: If you have additional evidence that supports your claim and addresses the reasons for denial, it may be worth appealing.
- Potential benefits increase: Appealing can result in a higher disability rating and increased benefits.
- Financial considerations: If the potential benefits increase is significant and can provide you with much-needed financial support, appealing may be worth considering.
- Assistance from experts: Working with experienced attorneys specializing in VA disability claims and appeals can significantly improve your chances of success. Their expertise can help navigate the complex appeals process and present a compelling case on your behalf.
It’s important to note that each case is unique, and the outcome of an appeal can vary.
It may be helpful to consult with a veterans service organization or an attorney specializing in VA disability appeals to evaluate the specific details of your case and provide guidance on whether appealing is a viable option for you.
I Have a New Medical Condition! Do I File a Supplemental Claim Now?
If you have a new condition since the initial decision for VA benefits, you may need to file a new disability application or supplemental claim. The best way to find out is to contact a VA representative who can help you submit additional evidence to support your request for additional benefits.
They can help guide you through the process from the initial decision and tell you what steps to take.
Remember, it’s essential to keep your paperwork up-to-date and provide new information and additional evidence as soon as possible. This will help ensure that your supplemental claim is processed as quickly as possible.
The VA Disability Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act
In January 2017, Congress enacted the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act into law, designed to help speed up the process of veterans appealing their disability claims with the VA.
The newly enacted VA Disability Appeals Modernization Act creates a new system, including a three-lane appeal process, intending to resolve all VA appeals within a year.
Supplemental Claim Lane
The first lane is for veterans’ claims that can be resolved without further review. The second supplemental claim lane is for claims that need more information from the veteran or the VA.
The third higher-level review lane is for claims ready for a decision by the Board of VA Disability Appeals.
The new law creates a three-tiered system for appeals. Veterans can now choose from three options:
- An informal review of the VA decision by a VA regional office
- A hearing before a VA administrative law judge, or
- Filing a disability claims lawsuit in federal court.
The new act is a step in the right direction and will help thousands of disabled veterans get the benefits they deserve by streamlining the disability claims process.
AMA Higher-Level Review Decision
To help streamline the process, the new AMA higher-level review decision process allows any claimant receiving a Legacy Statement of the Case (SOC) or Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC) to switch their case over and be handled in the AMA system.
Decision Review Officer (DRO) Review
In the VA disability benefits program, a Decision Review Officer (DRO) decision  review is a process by which a claimant can ask the Regional Office to review a decision made by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA).
A DRO is a VBA employee not involved in the initial board decision-making process and has been designated to review the decision. A Decision Review Officer Review ensures that the veterans’ disability claim was decided correctly and all relevant evidence was considered.
If the disabled veteran is not satisfied with the outcome of a Decision Review Officer Review, they may appeal to the Board of VA Disability Appeals.
De Novo Review
The Decision Review Officer will conduct a de novo review, meaning they make no deference to any prior decision and could uphold or overturn previous VA decisions.
Sometimes, the disabled veteran will request a personal hearing before the Decision Review Officer, although it is not required. 
Denied Camp LeJeune Water Contamination Benefits
For years, the water supply at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina was contaminated with harmful chemicals. This led to numerous veterans developing severe medical conditions, including cancer.
In 2012, the VA finally recognized these conditions related to the Camp LeJeune water contamination and began awarding disability benefits to affected veterans.
Despite this progress, many veterans are still waiting for their benefits to be approved. Some have been waiting for years, and some have passed away before their claims could be processed.
There is a backlog of more than 60,000 disability claims related to Camp LeJeune water contamination.
The VA must work to reduce the backlog and award benefits to all affected veterans as quickly as possible.
Denied Overseas Burn Pits Exposure Benefits
The federal government has faced many claims from veterans exposed to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. These pits were used to incinerate trash, and veterans who breathed in the fumes have developed severe health problems.
The VA is struggling to keep up with the influx of claims, and many veterans are waiting months or even years for their cases to be resolved. As a result, many veterans live with debilitating health problems while waiting for the VA to decide on their claim.
The VA needs to do more to speed up the process and ensure veterans get help. Burn pit exposure is a serious issue, and the VA needs to start taking it seriously.
The PACT Act of 2022 Includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
In March of 2022, the president signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act into law. This act was a part of the larger PACT act, enacted in August 2022, which aimed to provide more assistance to veterans with disabilities.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act  provides healthcare and benefits to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals while serving at Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987.
Many veterans had suffered from cancer and other illnesses due to exposure and could not receive the benefits they needed and deserved. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act finally gave these veterans the help they needed.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has made some progress in providing benefits to disabled veterans in recent years. However, there is still more work to be done.
The VA must reduce the backlog of disability claims and ensure all veterans have access to the benefits they need and deserve.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done to help all disabled veterans. Click here to check your VA appeal status.