Understanding Your VA Benefits Rating Decision
The rating decision is the one piece of mail sent by the VA that most Veterans are excited to receive, especially since it often includes a favorable rating and effective date. Receiving a rating decision also means that your case has moved up one rung on the ladder known as the VA benefits system. Even if the VA benefits rating decision is not entirely favorable, at least it means that you are able to move your claim up the ladder and determine the next step to take.
The VA benefits rating decision should include a cover letter. This cover page often is referred to as the Notice of Action (NOA). The NOA is important because the date of the NOA determines when your deadline is to file a timely Notice of Disagreement (NOD). The NOA also includes a breakdown of the decision made on each individual issue in your claim.
The VA benefits rating decision itself typically includes a number of components. A short narrative of the Veteran’s military service and claim history, followed by a list of the decisions made on each issue in the claim. Then a list of the evidence used to decide the claim. Next the VA benefits rating decision goes through each issue in greater detail, discussing whether service connection was granted, and if so, what rating was assigned for that impairment, as well as the effective date for that specific rating. This more detailed decision explanation is the most important substantive part of the rating decision if the Veteran decides to appeal, because it shows what evidence the VA reviewed and what the rationale was behind their decision. This gives the Veteran a good idea of any additional evidence needed to develop and support the claim(s). Often, the VA benefits rating decision shows that an independent medical opinion or missing military records will go a significant way toward securing the Veteran a favorable outcome. The VA benefits rating decision also is accompanied by the rating sheet, which shows a history of all the VA benefits claims made by the Veteran.
It is important to remember that the VA is very strict on the deadlines to appeal any decision. If a Veteran is unsatisfied with any portion of her or his VA benefits rating decision then a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) must be filed within one year of the date on the NOA to be considered timely.
If you have received a rating decision and are unhappy or unsure of any of the information given by the VA, we would welcome the opportunity to review your claim with you. We offer FREE consultations and are knowledgeable about the entire VA benefits rating decision and claims process. Contact us at 1-800-891-0867 or via Cascadia Disability Law if you have any questions or concerns regarding your VA benefits rating decision or VA disability claim.
If you would like more information about Veterans Disability or Social Security Disability benefits – please contact us at any time. The attorneys and staff of Cascadia Disability Law help people just like YOU! We fight to get you the benefits you deserve at the earliest stage possible in the claim process. Call or email us anytime – 503-891-8376 / 800-891-0867, Help@CascadiaDisabilityLaw.com