What is the Best Way to Appeal a VA Disability Claim?

After you have received a rating decision from the VA, you may be asking, “What’s the best way to appeal a VA disability Claim?” To make sure your case has grounds for appeal, you need to look at different aspects of the claim. There are three aspects to every claim you have made, and you’ll need to look at each aspect individually to see if the VA made a mistake.

Service Connection

When looking for the best way to appeal a VA disability claim, you must first look to see if the VA granted service connection? This is a yes or no question. There are a lot of reasons that the VA may have not granted service connection, and the best appeal practices are to identify what the VA needs to grant it. For example, did they say your military records don’t have a record of the injury? If this is the case, you will need something to show you were injured in service, whether that’s a profile report, a medical record, or a buddy statement from someone who was with you at the time.

Effective Date

If the VA granted service connection, the next thing you need to look at is your effective date. Generally speaking, the effective date is the date the VA received your claim. The best way to appeal an effective date, if you think it’s not right, is to find something that would show your claim reached the VA sooner, or that you had filed an “intent to file” (VA Form 21-0966) that preserves your earlier effective date. By obtaining an earlier effective date, you will be entitled to increased compensation for your back-pay award.

Evaluation

Finally, look at the evaluation. Evaluations are based on diagnostic codes and are in reference to the average Veteran. The best way to appeal an evaluation is to show that your symptoms are more severe than what the VA is currently saying. You can look at the symptoms listed for rating decisions at the higher level, which is sometimes provided in your current rating decision, and get a doctor or someone who knows you to write a statement in support. You maybe also be able to find a doctor who’s willing to fill out a Disability Benefits Questionnaire on your behalf.

While it is great to study and learn about the best way to appeal a VA disability claim, you must act quickly. You have one year from the date on the decision, or the notification letter, to file your appeal. If you fail to appeal in that time-frame, the decision becomes final. If this happens, you will either need to reopen the claim with new and material evidence or file a claim for an increased evaluation if service connection has been granted. You must also use the VA’s form 21-0958 to file a notice of disagreement.

VA Disability Appeals Lawyers

Berry Law Firm is committed to protecting the rights of our Veterans. Berry Law was founded by Vietnam Veteran John Stevens Berry, Sr., and currently has 8 military Veterans serving as attorneys. We understand the difficult battle that often occurs when dealing with the VA, and we are dedicated to fighting for the benefits you deserve. If you or somebody you know needs assistance in appealing a VA claim or getting an increased rating decision, contact our team online or at (888) 883-2483 to schedule a free consultation.