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How Do I Appeal Denied Veterans' Benefits Claims?

A guide through the VA benefits appeals process in Georgia

If you received a denial or adverse rating decision from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), it is normal to be frustrated, stressed out and overwhelmed. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the VA to improperly deny an initial claim for benefits. After receiving a denial, it is essential that you know the proper steps to take to protect your disability benefits; you have the right to file an appeal to get the full benefits you deserve.

The Initial Appeal Form

To initiate the veterans’ benefits claims process you must complete and submit the Notice of Disagreement form (NOD), the form that starts the appeals process. The NOD form isn’t the appropriate place to get into all of the specific issues that you would like to raise on appeal; rather, it is meant to notify the VA that you are seeking an appeal of the denial, and to preserve all relevant claims.

After you submit the NOD form, your claim will be reviewed a second time by the VA. Ideally, you will be offered full benefits after this second review is complete. Unfortunately, however, that is not always how the process works. If your claim is in fact denied a second time by the VA, you will receive a Statement of the Case (SOC) that will explain the basic reasoning behind the VA decision.

How to Initiate Your Veterans’ Benefits Appeal

Should you receive an adverse decision after submitting your initial appeal, your case is not over. You have the legal right to still seek an in-depth review of your appeal. This second review will be conducted by the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). To initiate the appeal, an applicant must complete and submit VA Form 9. VA Form 9 is far more complicated than the NOD. If you are considering bringing your disability appeal before the BVA, it is highly recommended that you seek professional legal support.

You Need to Take Action

Under federal regulations, you only have a limited amount of time to appeal a denial of VA benefits. There are two key deadlines that all veterans should be aware of:

  • You must submit the NOD, or initial appeal, within one year of the date your claim was denied

  • You must submit VA Form 9, or formal appeal, within 60 days after receiving the SOC from Veterans Affairs

These are important deadlines—if you fail to file either appeal within the allotted time, it could result in your claim for benefits being automatically dismissed. Of course, you do not need to go through the appeals process alone: If your claim for veterans’ benefits was denied, an experienced law firm or Georgia military and veterans lawyer will protect your rights.

For more information on this area of law, see our overview of health care law.

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