Tips and advice for filing an appeal after your disability benefits were denied by the VA
It’s maddening to spend months waiting on your disability claim only to find out that your claim has been denied. When dealing with the red tape associated with government bureaucracy, it often feels like there is no rhyme or reason to how decisions are made.
For veterans in Macon, Georgia who have had their VA disability claim denied, there is an appeals process that gives you the opportunity to fight back.
VA Notice of Disagreement (NOD)
The first step in appealing your denied disability claim is to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). You have multiple options to do so, including writing your own letter or using a form that is provided on the VA website.
Your NOD is a time-sensitive matter. You have 1 year from the date of the original denial to file this form.
What NOT to do with your NOD
Your Notice of Disagreement is not the place for you to air all of your grievances against the VA. Instead of listing every reason why you believe that their decision was wrong, you should keep all of your points short and concise in your letter or on your form. You will have an opportunity to explain at your appeals hearing when your attorney will be with you.
Requesting a review
Once you have put your Notice of Disagreement on file, you can request a formal review of your case. You have the right to have a Decision Review Officer (DRO) take a second look at your claim. In most cases, filing a request for a DRO is the best course of action.
This officer will have the ability to schedule a formal hearing where you and your attorney can present your case and attempt to get the denial overturned.
Statement of the case
Once this hearing with your DRO is over, you can request a statement of the case from the VA. This statement will contain a detailed rundown of the reasons why your original claim was denied and any information about the laws that they are using to further dispute your claim.
A VA Form 9 should be included in your statement of the case, which allows you to legally document your intent to formally appeal the decision. While the statement of the case can seem like another denial, it actually holds the information your attorney needs to dispute the reasons that the VA has for denying your initial claim.
File for appeal
The VA appeal form is an in-depth look at the reasons that you believe you deserve your VA disability benefits. This is where you will have the opportunity to explain why you disagree with the VA’s decision. You should be aware that this form will need to contain legally based arguments, so you should avoid trying to fill it out on your own.
Instead, take this form to your attorney and allow them to present a legal argument against the VA on your behalf.
Whether or not your VA disability appeal is successful will largely depend on the information provided on this form.
Another waiting game
It’s frustrating to have to wait for the money that is rightfully yours. However, once your official appeal form is filed, there is a potentially long wait before you receive a final decision.
In some cases, this decision could take several months or even years. The VA appeals process can be backlogged, which means that your case may not be at the top of the list when you first file your official appeal. However, your attorney will keep you updated on where things stand regarding your case.
The VA is a federally governed entity, which means that there is a great deal of red tape that has to be worked through before your appeal can be heard. Unless you are a licensed attorney, you should not attempt to fight this battle on your own. Instead, work with one of our attorneys at WPMH Legal who have a history of successfully battling denied claims on behalf of our clients.
If you have received an initial denial of your VA disability claim, let one of our attorneys partner with you in an attempt to get the funds that are rightfully yours.