VA Claims Process
Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
You served your country in the military and rightfully expected that the military would be there for you if you needed help with disabilities caused by your service. But obtaining veterans disability benefits often turns out to be a more complex and lengthy process than veterans would wish. It can involve detailed paperwork, appeals and filing deadlines for Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims that an experienced veterans benefits attorney can help navigate.
For decades, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law have helped veterans obtain the disability benefits to which they are entitled. We concentrate in working with veterans because we respect the service that veterans have given our nation and believe veterans with disabilities are entitled to receive the benefits accorded by a grateful nation.
Our veterans benefits lawyers handle appeals and at every step in the process of obtaining veterans benefits. As part of our personalized service, we do not charge veterans unless we are successful in obtaining disability benefits.
Generally speaking, the appeals process to obtain disability benefits at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims may involve three distinct stages, progressing from the local VA office to the Board of Veterans’ Affairs in Washington, D.C. to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Affairs. We want veterans and their loved ones to understand the steps in the appeals process, so we offer the following detailed explanation.
You can appeal a disability decision if your local VA office:
- Denied your claim for benefits for a disability, or
- Rated your disability as less severe than you believe it is.
If you are not satisfied with the rating of your disability, you can write a letter to your local VA office stating that you disagree with the rating decision and want to appeal. Your statement is called a Notice of Disagreement and must be sent within one year of the date when your local VA office informed you of its original decision. You may request that a decision review officer from the local VA office review your claim and file. Decision review officers can hold an informal personal hearing on your claim.
The local VA office will create a Statement of the Case outlining the evidence, laws and regulations used to decide your claim. You’ll receive a copy of this in the mail along with an appeal form from your local VA office. The form is called a VA Form 9 or substantive appeal. You must fill out the VA Form 9, re-state the benefit you want and indicate whether you want a personal hearing. There are deadlines for filing these forms so they must be dealt with promptly. A veterans’ disability lawyer at Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, can assist in preparing these forms and meeting the deadlines.
If for any reason you are not satisfied with the decision of the local VA office, you can then request that the Board of Veterans’ Appeals review the decision of the local VA regarding your claim.
You can request a personal hearing with a member of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals when filing the VA Form 9. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals is located in Washington, D.C. It is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
There are different kinds of hearings that you can request:
- A hearing in Washington, D.C. where the board is located
- A video conference hearing with you at the local VA office and the board member in Washington, D.C.
- A hearing at your local VA office with the board member present.
Because of board members’ scheduling demands, the quickest way to get a hearing is to request a video conference. Board members may hold up to 10 hearings a day.
Personal hearings are relatively informal, although it’s important to have an organized presentation of your evidence to support your claim. Here again, an experienced veterans benefits attorney can help. You will be asked to take an oath to tell the truth. If you have an attorney, he or she will ask questions to help you explain your claim. If not, the board member will ask you to tell them about your claim. The board member may ask questions.
The board member does not make a decision at the hearing. A transcript of the hearing will be sent to the Board of Veterans’ Affairs along with your file. When the board member receives all the information, he will review it and make a decision. The decision will allow your claim, deny your claim or send your claim back to the local board to get more information.
The number of appeals that the VA receives each year has increased about 50 percent since 2000. The average time to resolve appeals has stretched out to approximately 25 months, according to the Government Accountability Office.
What happens if the Board denies your claim? You or your attorney can file a motion asking the board to reconsider your case because there was a clear error. Secondly, you can file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims.
Contact Our Veterans Benefits Attorneys Today
By now, you’ve likely realized the importance of having an experienced veterans benefits attorney to help guide your appeal through the process. For decades, the firm of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, has helped veterans obtain the benefits to which they are entitled. We can help you too. Please call to let us assist you.