The Forms You Need to Know for Your VA Disability Claims

On February 19, 2019, the Appeals Modernization Act went into effect.  The act changes how Veterans file new claims and appeal denied claims.  Most importantly, new forms need to be used to file and appeal most claims.  Below is the list of forms you now need to use.

526ez: Application for Benefits

The 526ez is still the standard form used to file a claim for a condition that have not yet filed for benefits.  This form should also suffice for a claim for increased benefits, though, you should include evidence of why your rating should be increased.

20-0995: Supplemental Claim

There are two situations where you would want to use this form to file or appeal your claim.  One is if your denied claim is over a year old and was not appealed.  The second is when your claim is still open (filed in the last year and not yet appealed), but you want to submit more evidence that will help your claim.  In the first situation, you will need to submit new and material evidence to get your claim reopened.  In the second situation, you will need to submit new and material evidence in order for the VA to reconsider their earlier decision.

20-0996: Higher Level Review

If the VA denied your claim but you do not have any new evidence to submit, you will use this form.  The VA will reconsider your claim under a “higher-level review.”

10182: Board Appeal

Rather than having to first appeal your claim to the same Regional Office which initially denied your claim, which was the case under the legacy system, you can now appeal your claim straight to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) with this form.  This form is the new Notice of Disagreement (NOD). When appealing to the Board, you can elect a Direct Review (you are not submitting new evidence), Additional Evidence Review (you plan on submitting more evidence), or, you can elect to have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

Appeal deadlines

As was the case under the legacy system, you have one year to appeal a decision if you want to preserve your effective date (the day your payment for benefit starts). The one change from the old system is that now you have one year to appeal a denied decision to the Board. Under the legacy system you only had 60 days.

Forms that are Going Away

The following forms, while still used for now, are no longer applicable for decisions issued on or after February 19, 2019.

526b

This was the old “supplemental claim” form.  It was a simpler form than the 526ez, and could be used to file any new claim or claim for increased ratings.

0958

This was the old Notice of Disagreement (NOD) form, and it was the standard form to appeal denied decisions.  As noted above, you now need to use a 0995, 0996, or 10182 form to appeal a denied decision.

VAF-9

Under the legacy appeals system, If an NOD was filed and the decision was denied a second time, the VA would issue a Statement of the Case (SOC).  The SOC was appealed to the Board via a VAF-9.  The SOC should also disappear in the near future.

Which Appeal Should I File?

The nature of your claim and the availability of evidence will determine what route you take to appeal your claim.  If you have new evidence and the issue is not complex, you may want to appeal with a 0995.  If there is no new evidence, then you should use a 0996.  If the issue is more complex, a direct appeal to the Board with a 10182 may make more sense; though there are advantages to letting the Regional Office give the claim a second look before you appeal to the Board.  You should discuss with your VSO or attorney which option may be best for your claim.

VA Disability Lawyers

At Berry Law, we are committed to helping fellow Veterans receive the disability compensation they are entitled to. If you have been denied disability benefits or were rated too low by the VA, please contact our team today to schedule a free case evaluation.