The Essential Guide to Winning Appeals Before VA Regional Offices

The Essential Guide to Winning Appeals Before VA Regional Offices

The VA appeals process is complicated and full of strict deadlines. Work with an accredited attorney or claims agent to ensure that you submit your appeal within the required time. A representative can write a legal argument for your case that the Board will consider when it reviews your claim. This can speed up the process significantly.

Know Your Rights

If you disagree with a decision made by the VA’s regional office, you can request a higher-level review (called a board appeal) by submitting a VA Form 9. You or your representative will write a legal argument called an appeal brief. The Board will consider your brief when conducting its de novo case review. You can work with a recognized advocate, such as an accredited attorney, to help you request a decision review. VSO representatives and accredited attorneys are trained and certified in VA claim and appeals processes. Only these individuals can represent you before VA. Securing legal representation can greatly improve your chances of winning appeals before VA regional offices, ensuring you receive the benefits you’re entitled to as a veteran. Check your status online to see where your case stands. Then, sign in or create an account to stay informed on what’s happening with your claim.

Gather Evidence

If you want a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans Appeals (Board) to review your case, ensure you have all the evidence you need. If you need help getting more evidence, ask for a Higher-Level Review or file a Supplemental Claim. A higher-level review lets a senior reviewer look at your disagreeing decision and decide if an error changed it. You can’t submit new evidence with this type of appeal, but you can request an optional informal conference. To request a higher-level review, send in VA Form 9 with your statement of the case (SOC) within one year. There are three types of board appeals: Direct review, evidence submission and hearing. The Board can take over a year to complete your request.

Plan Your Strategy

While it’s not necessary, having an accredited representative at your hearing can significantly increase the likelihood that you receive a favorable decision. This person can help you prepare your evidence, answer questions from the judge, and present a strong legal argument on your behalf. A veteran’s representative can also ensure you are well-prepared for your hearing. They can help you understand the procedures involved, including what to expect at a hearing and how the Board works. Be careful when submitting new evidence before your hearing. It can take months for your file to get transferred from the regional office to the BVA, and if you submit the evidence before that happens, the VA will have to evaluate it-which may delay your case even further.

Prepare for a Hearing

The VA appeals process is complex and full of strict deadlines. Using a private attorney familiar with veteran affairs can ensure that your claim forms are filled out correctly and within the required time frames. If you are not satisfied with the decision from a regional office, you can request a higher-level review of your case with the Board of Veterans Appeals. This option is a great way to get new evidence before an independent reviewer and have your disability rating reevaluated. At the hearing, you will have a chance to explain your argument before a Veterans Law Judge. It is important to stay composed. Judges see many people cry and throw temper tantrums, which doesn’t help your case. The judge will decide your appeal after the hearing, and they will write a transcript to include in your file.

Communicate with VA

Being clear is the best way to win an appeal when working with a VA. Preparing detailed emails before sending is helpful, especially for those who don’t have the time for frequent video calls or have a big time difference.

If you’re unhappy with a rating decision, you can request a personal hearing at your regional office. If you’re still unsatisfied, you can file a notice of disagreement, AKA NOD, and go to the Board. The Board can remand your case or review specific issues. Usually, when they remand your case, it’s to get more evidence from the RO or to resolve procedural errors like a duty to assist error. They also can reverse a BVA decision and grant you benefits. However, this is rare.

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