Tips for appealing a VA decision
March 25, 2014
Q. Should I appeal VA's decision on my claim?
A. I encourage claimants to appeal an unfavorable decision if their representing service officer identifies information VA missed that could result in a definite grant of benefits. However there are some cases where there is no legal basis for either appeal or reopening of a claim. An initial appeal is referred to as a notice of disagreement (NOD), and it is imperative that you have accredited representation when filing one. (Grand County Veterans Advocate/Service Officer and the Colorado Division of Veterans Affairs provide this accredited representation to all at no charge so long as you have signed a VA form 21-22 appointing them as your claimants representative). Otherwise, you may not be able to gain representation once the appeal process has begun, resulting in you being responsible for representing yourself in the hearing.
In the appeal, the claimant must tell VA that he or she disagrees with the decision and must state if the disagreement regards one contention or multiple contentions listed in the written decision. The claimant must also provide a reason for disagreement and cite evidence supporting his or her position. The NOD must be filed within one year from receipt of the rating decision. At this point, the claimant becomes the appellate, and is encouraged to use VA form 21-0958 or 21-4138. An NOD does not have to be packaged in either form to be accepted by a VA regional office, it can be written on paper as long as it includes the nature of the disagreement. After proper receipt of the NOD, the VA regional office will send correspondence to the appellate to determine if he or she desires a hearing or de nova review-taking into account all evidence while giving no consideration to the previous decision. An NOD preserves the effective date of a claim, so if a grant of benefits is achieved on appeal the appellate will be paid retroactively back to the date the claim was originally filed.
Contact Duane Dailey, Grand County Veterans Advocate/Service Officer located on the second floor of the Grand County Administration Building (appointments strongly encouraged).
firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone 725-3122 (office) or 970-509-9024 (cell) for an appointment, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.