What is a Notice of Disagreement?

A Notice of Disagreement is an appeal of a VA decision. Here is how it works:

After you file a claim with the VA, the VA will either grant or deny benefits in a document known as a rating decision. The rating decision is the VA’s response to your claim. If you disagree with a VA decision, you can file a VA Form 21-0958, commonly known as a Notice of Disagreement.

There are a few basic requirements for a Notice of Disagreement:

  • It must express disagreement with an adverse determination;
  • It must delineate specific issues in a multi-issue case;
  • It must express an intent to seek appellate review; and
  • It must be in writing.

Most veterans who file notices of disagreement with the VA do it for one of three main reasons (there are also other reasons, but these are the most common):

  • The VA denied service connection
    • Many times, a veteran will file a claim for a disease or disability incurred during military service. If the VA denies service connection for this disease or disability, the VA will not provide disability compensation for it. When a veteran files a Notice of Disagreement, he or she is basically telling the VA to reconsider the case and reevaluate the evidence.
  • Incorrect disability rating
    • In addition to denying service connection, the VA may also erroneously rate a disability lower than is required by law. For example, a veteran who is entitled to compensation of 70% disability rating might be rated at 30%. This error could cost the veteran around $900 a month.
    • Sometimes the incorrect rating is not the VA’s fault. For example, a veteran could minimize his or her symptoms during an appointment with a VA doctor or fail to provide the VA with enough evidence of the severity of his or her disability. A veteran in this situation will often submit additional evidence in support of a higher rating when filing a Notice of Disagreement.
  • Effective date
    • A veteran may be upset with the VA because he or she filed a claim two or three years ago, but the effective date of the rating decision only goes back one year. The correct effective date is often the date the veteran filed the claim. However, there are several exceptions to this rule that can result in a veteran receiving earlier or later effective dates.

If you do not file a Notice of Disagreement within one year of the date of a rating decision, the decision becomes final. The postmark of the decision determines the date of filing, so long as the Notice of Disagreement is postmarked on or before the expiration of the one-year period, it will be considered timely.

If the decision becomes final, the claimant must file a reopened claim with the RO, and under these circumstances, the effective date of any subsequent award would be the date the VA received the re-filed claim. However, there is an exception to the one-year requirement: If there are simultaneously-contested claims (in which opposing claimants are competing for the same benefits), then there is a 60-day deadline.

If you or a loved one is fighting to receive VA disability benefits, please call the Berry Law Firm at 888.883.2483 or contact us online. Our team of veterans’ law attorneys may be able to get you the benefits you deserve.