Learn About the Veterans Disability Compensation Appeals Process When Your VA Benefits Have Been DENIED.
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Learn the VA Appeals Process When Your Disability Application Has Been Denied or Underrated
You have the right to appeal any benefits decision made by the Veterans Benefits Administration.
The VA appeals process is set in law and differs from other judicial appeals processes.
When you are searching for lawyers for disabled veterans, our PA disability benefits lawyers are here to guide vets with disabilities through the challenges of the VA Appeals Process. Sometimes clients thought they needed to hire Philadelphia disability law firms to win full VA benefits they deserve until they spoke with RG Injury Law’s veterans disability benefits lawyers. We serve PA vets with as much vigor and toughness as a big city law firm but give you the personalized, compassionate attention that you deserve for your service and sacrifice for our country.
Although the Veterans Benefits Appeals Process can become complicated and drawn out, procedurally it is straight-forward. In order to apply for benefits, a veteran needs to file what is commonly referred to as an original or initial claim. Unfortunately, around 75% of these initial claims are denied partially or completely. A complete denial is one in which the veteran does not receive anything. A partial denial is where a veteran has been awarded service-connection but at a rate lower than what he or she should be afforded as a result of the severity of injuries, illnesses, or diseases connected to your service. A veteran can file an application for benefits at the local VA office, a VA medical facility, or online (www.ebenefits.va.gov).
After receiving an initial decision that VA benefits compensation is denied or received a low rating, the veteran has the option to appeal. At this point, a veteran should consider hiring an attorney to assist in the appeals process to maximize your success in obtaining the benefits you deserve. Veterans will commonly appeal a decision because they were denied benefits or was awarded service-connection, but at a percentage lower than he or she believes the percentage should have been. For example, a veteran may believe he is entitled to a 50% service-connection rating for a mental disorder but was only awarded a rating of 30%.
From here, the veteran will need to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). An NOD must be filed within one year after receiving a decision on your initial claim. The NOD can go one of two ways: (1) the veteran elects to have a decision review officer (DRO) review his claim or (2) the veteran appeals his claim to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). If a veteran applies for a DRO, he may still apply to the BVA following the DRO’s decision. The advantage of requesting a DRO is that it not only adds an extra layer of review in the appeals process but also allows for a senior technical expert at the VA to review the claim. The advantage of going straight to the BVA is that the BVA is generally more qualified in dealing with legal arguments, which could mean a shorter wait time for being awarded benefits.
If a veteran disagrees with the initial decision or the DRO’s decision, the veteran may appeal the decision to the BVA. The BVA is the final appeals process within the VA and is composed of attorneys. These attorneys will review a claim and then make a decision on the matter.
In the event that the veteran disagrees with the BVA, the veteran may then appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). The CAVC has jurisdiction over appeals from the BVA and is an Article I court (an Article I court is a court that is established by Congress). The CAVC will consist of an independent judge and the VA will now have an attorney defending the decision that the BVA reached. This is referred to as an adversarial process because the veteran is no longer working his way through the VA, instead, he is challenging the VA’s findings in a court of law.
Appeals do not usually proceed past this point, but in the event that a veteran disagrees with the CAVC’s decision, he may appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and then finally to the Supreme Court of the United States. If you have been denied at any level in this process, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. There is no excuse for being denied benefits that you are entitled to, let us assist you in obtaining what is rightfully yours.
A Philadelphia-area native, Attorney Gabe Griffith now makes Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, his home. As a veterans compensation lawyer, Attorney Griffith represents people with disabilities and veterans seeking VA Disability Compensation throughout the mid-Atlantic region from offices in Lancaster County that include service in Elizabethtown, Columbia, Lancaster City, Neffsville, Hempfield Township, Manheim, Manor Township, Manheim Township, Gap, Ephrata, Lititz, Leola, Mt. Joy, Marietta, Akron, Denver, Millersville, Willow Street, Strasburg, New Holland, Paradise, Refton, Quarryville, Reamstown, Harrisburg, York, Reading, Hershey, Mt. Gretna, Middletown, Coatesville, Malvern, Exton, West Chester, . RG Injury Law also fights for people with disabilities in the counties of Lebanon, Philadelphia, Chester, York, Dauphin, and Berks.
Contact leading disability lawyers in Pennsylvania who know how to help veterans and their families after a service-connected disability, injury, illness, or death has impacted your lives. Call us for a no pressure, free veterans benefits consultation at 717.656.5000.
Talk with an RG Injury Law Veterans Disability Compensation Lawyer. Email or call 717.656.5000.
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