This post describes the VA disability appeals process for decisions issued prior to February 19, 2019. Decisions received after that date are subject to the new VA appeals process.
Have you applied for VA disability benefits and had your claim denied? You are not alone. The vast majority of veterans’ disability applicants have their claims denied. The Naperville veterans’ denied claim attorneys at The Comerford Law Office, LLC have helped thousands of Illinois veterans appeal disability denials from the VA. We can help you, too.
The VA has a very high standard of proof when it comes to approving disability applicants. Simply providing the VA with your rationale for why you deserve veterans’ benefits is not enough. The majority of applications come back denied simply because the applicant has not provided enough information to the VA’s satisfaction. In other words, a lack of information is the standard reason for denying a veterans’ benefits application.
The VA will provide you with an opportunity to appeal the decision. To preserve your right to appeal, you will need to fill out an NOD (a notice of disagreement). Do not tell the VA why you think they are wrong, just let them know you disagree. You will have time to make your argument later after the VA sends you a Statement of Case (SOC) and a form 9.
The most complex aspect of appeal the VA’s decision will be filling out the form 9. You are essentially making a legal argument concerning why your disability qualifies for benefits using medical evidence. It is not a simple task and is well beyond the expertise of the majority of laypeople. Even those who could do it would find themselves saving a lot of time by hiring a lawyer to take care of their case for them.
Essentially, the VA is looking for you to prove that you are a veteran of the armed forces, that you sustained a service-related injury, and this injury prevents you from doing work for which you are qualified. For some types of injuries, the process can be relatively straightforward. If you lost a limb, for example, and this prevents you from making deliveries, then the good folks reviewing your application will not have to exert too much mental labor. It will be obvious.
Unfortunately, most cases do not go like that. Instead, it takes months, even years of the VA requesting information from the applicant, the applicant getting that information from doctors, and then determining if that is enough for the VA to proceed with a benefits award.
Having an attorney handle this frustrating aspect of the application process for you improves your chances of success and expedites the VA’s decision.
Comerford Law Office, LLC represents veterans filing VA disability claims in Naperville, IL. Call today to learn more about how we can help you get the benefits you were promised when you joined the armed forces.