Veterans Benefits Claims Process
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You served your country and rightfully expected that the VA would be there for you if you needed help. Unfortunately, obtaining VA disability benefits often is a more complex and lengthy process than a Veteran or anyone ever could have imagined. The process may involve detailed paperwork, appeals and filing deadlines that an experienced Veterans benefits attorney can assist in navigating.
Cascadia Disability Law helps Veterans obtain the disability benefits to which they are entitled. We appreciate the opportunity to work with Veterans because we respect the service they gave to our nation and wholeheartedly believe Veterans with disabilities are entitled to receive the benefits promised to them.
Veterans Benefits Claim Appeals Processes
Generally speaking, the appeals process for VA benefits may involve three distinct stages, progressing from your local VA Regional Office to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C. to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, also in Washington, D.C. We want Veterans and their loved ones to understand the steps in the appeals processes, so we offer the following additional details as an introductory explanation.
A Veteran may appeal a disability decision if your local VA office:
- Rated your disability as less severe than you believe it is; or
- Outright denied your claim for benefits due to a disability.
If you are not satisfied with the rating of your disability, you can complete VA Form 21-0958 “Notice of Disagreement” (NOD) stating that you disagree with the rating decision and which aspects of that decision you would like to appeal. This form also is called an NOD and must be sent within one year of the date on which the VA informed you of its original decision.
The VA Regional Office then will create a “Statement of the Case” (SOC) outlining the evidence, laws and policies used to decide your claim. You will receive a copy of this in the mail along with an appeal form from the VA. The form is a VA Form 9, “Substantive Appeal”. If for any reason you are not satisfied with this second decision by the VA Regional Office, you can then request that the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) review that decision by filing the VA form 9. The form 9 must be filed within sixty days of the date on which the VA informed you of its SOC decision.
There are strict deadlines for filing these appeal forms so unfavorable decisions must be dealt with promptly. A Veterans’ disability lawyer at Cascadia Disability Law can assist the Veteran in preparing these forms and meeting those critical deadlines.
During the BVA process, you can request a personal hearing with a member of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (an administrative law judge or ALJ) when filing the VA Form 9. As you make this decision, keep in mind that the BVA is located in Washington, D.C.
There are different kinds of hearings that you can request, but you may only select one option. The choice is yours but the preferred option may vary based on the specific circumstances of an individual claim.
- An in-person hearing in Washington, D.C., where the board is located
- A video conference hearing, which you attend from your local VA Regional Office and the ALJ attends from Washington, D.C.
- An in-person hearing at your local VA Regional Office with the ALJ traveling to the VARO from Washington, D.C. to be present.
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 ALJ will ask you to tell the BVA about your claim.
The ALJ does not make a decision at the hearing. A transcript of the hearing will be sent to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals along with your file. When the ALJ receives all the information, she or he will review it and make a decision. The decision will either allow your claim, deny your claim, or send your claim back to the local VA Regional Office for further development or to gather more information.
What happens if the BVA denies your claim? You or your attorney can file a motion asking the BVA to reconsider your case if there was a mistake rising to the level of “clear error” (a technical legal term.) Alternatively, you can file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
We Can Help You Get The Benefits You Have Earned
We bring substantial experience, zealous dedication and accumulated knowledge to the representation of disability claims before the Veterans Administration. To see if Brian can help you with your Veterans Disability benefits matter email or telephone us at any time. To schedule a no cost, no obligation initial consultation meeting regarding your Veterans Benefits matter with attorney Brian Scott Wayson, email or telephone us. Call or email us anytime – 503-891-8376, 800-891-0867, or Help@CascadiaVet.attorney or use our online contact form today.
We represent Veterans in Oregon & Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest. We will aggressively pursue your claim for the benefits you need, have earned and deserve.