VA Claim Denied: Appealing Denied Benefits

VA Claim Denied: Appealing Denied Benefits

When you file a claim for VA disability benefits, you hope that you’ll receive the financial compensation you deserve for your service to our country. What happens when your VA claim is denied? In that case, don’t lose hope; there are ways to ensure that you still get the benefits you need to pay for your medical care, mental health treatments, basic expenses and more.

It all starts with a Veterans disability claim appeal. The right VA appeal can overturn a prior VA decision and help you get benefits or a higher disability rating fast. Read on for more information about appealing denied VA benefits with the assistance of knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys. 

Why Does the VA Deny Disability Benefits? Common Reasons

Even if you think you’ve done everything correctly and filed your paperwork perfectly, the Department of Veterans Affairs may still deny your claim for disability compensation. Claim denial can cause you or a loved one to struggle financially.

Unfortunately, the VA may deny disability benefits on a variety of grounds and for many different reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons why you might receive a denial letter.

  • You may have incorrectly filled out a VA form or filled out the wrong forms. Veterans aren’t always taught which forms they need to fill out, and disabled Veterans can spend lots of time filling out the wrong forms and gathering evidence, all to no effect. This is one big reason why partnering with knowledgeable Veterans law attorneys can be wise, as they’ll ensure that you don’t file the wrong forms in the first place
  • You may not submit enough evidence to receive Veterans disability benefits. The VA requires you to submit a lot of evidence before you receive disability benefits, including military service records, medical records, and additional documentation. 
  • You missed a form filing deadline. Note that you can miss the deadline both for filing a claim for disability benefits and for filing an appeal (you have one year after a denial to file a disability appeal and get your benefits decision reconsidered)
  • The VA doesn’t consider your disability to be service related. If you can’t prove that your disability was due to your military service in some way, you may not receive benefits at all
  • The VA doesn’t agree with the extent of your disability or the number of benefits you need. This can cause VA to assign a lower rating for a service-connected disability than you are entitled to
  • The VA considers your disabilities or injuries to be pre-existing conditions that don’t qualify for disability benefits. This can be difficult to prove otherwise, particularly if your injuries or symptoms are close to those you sustained outside of your military service

Regardless of the reason the VA has denied your disability claim, there are steps you can take to get them to reconsider.

How To Appeal Denied Benefits Decisions

There are three different ways in which you can appeal denied benefits claims. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

Appeal with the Higher-Level Review Lane

First, you can appeal to the VA with the Higher-Level Review Lane, the first step in the review process. This is a good choice if you don’t have any new evidence to support your claim but you still believe that the VA made an error in your initial disability benefits decision.

The Higher-Level Review Lane requires the reviewer to consider only the evidence that was already in the VA’s possession at the time of the first decision. With this lane, you or your attorney can request an informal telephone conference with the reviewer for your case to identify or explain any errors you believe are present.

Use the Supplemental Claim Lane

Alternatively, you can use the Supplemental Claim Lane. This lane requires the VA to review new and relevant evidence associated with your claim. For example, if you can provide new evidence proving a service connection between your disability and your military service, you’ll want to use this lane, so the VA receives and incorporates the evidence into its new decision.

“New and relevant evidence” is new evidence that the VA did not possess previously or that the VA did not otherwise legally acquire. The evidence must also be relevant in that it directly substantiates your claim for benefits. Work with your Veterans disability attorney to make sure the new evidence you submit is not redundant or irrelevant to the VA’s decision.

Appeal Directly To the Board of Veterans Appeals

Lastly, you can appeal directly to the Board of Veterans Appeals, where your case will be considered by a Veterans Law Judge.

Within the Board of Veterans Appeals Lane, there are three options for what type of appeal you want:

  • Direct review, in which you don’t submit new evidence or have a hearing
  • Evidence submission, in which you submit additional evidence without a hearing. You get 90 days from submitting a Notice of Disagreement in which you can submit extra evidence
  • Hearing, in which you will have a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge and can also submit additional evidence within 90 days following your hearing

Which Lane Should You Choose?

Ultimately, each lane can result in an accurate and beneficial benefits decision and a successful appeal. But it’s up to you to determine which lane will provide you with the best results.

If you don’t know which lane to choose, consider working with a knowledgeable Veterans law attorney. The right attorney can explain each appeals process’s benefits and potential downsides and help you prepare the right paperwork for whichever lane you choose. 

They’ll also help to keep you informed about deadlines and filing requirements, so your claim isn’t delayed for any avoidable reason.

Does the VA Always Agree with Appeals?

The VA doesn’t always agree with appeals. However, a good appeal with sufficient evidence, proper paperwork, and timely responses on your part can do a lot to help the VA see your side of the situation. 

Even though the VA does not always agree with appeal requests, still worth going through the appeals process so you can get the financial benefits you deserve.

How To Maximize Your Appeal’s Chance of Success

The best way to maximize the chance of success for your VA disability compensation benefits appeal is to work with a Veterans law firm like Berry Law. Knowledgeable attorneys can:

  • Explain the differences between the different appeals lanes
  • Help you collect additional evidence to shore up your case or to make your disability benefits claim much stronger
  • Ensure that you file the right paperwork on time
  • Make sure that there aren’t any paperwork errors that can cause your claim to become derailed
  • Speak to VA representatives and officials on your behalf
  • And much more

With something as important as your benefits claim appeal on the line, there’s no reason to go through this process alone, especially if your initial claim had one or more preventable errors. 

Contact Berry Law Today

Appealing denied benefits is one of the primary services we provide at Berry Law. In fact, our experienced Veterans law attorneys are well-equipped and ready to assist with the filing of your upcoming appeal. 

With our help, you can make sure that your appeal is as persuasive and airtight as possible, maximizing your chances of recovering disability compensation ASAP. Contact us today to learn more with a free consultation.


Appeals Modernization |

VA Decision Reviews And Appeals | Veterans Affairs

How to Appeal if the VA Denies You Disability Benefits | Nolo

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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