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.
The majority of veterans who apply for VA disability will need to go through the appeals process because their initial application will probably come back denied. Unless a veteran has suffered a severe injury in combat that deprived him or her of the use of an organ, the VA can be difficult to deal with. Most applications will come back denied, but this is only the beginning of the process. Working with a Will County VA Disability appeals lawyer from The Comerford Law Office can vastly improve your chances of success.
The VA denies claims because they hope to protect the solvency of their fund. Whether or not you can file a claim on the fund does not depend on the fund’s solvency, it depends on whether or not you meet the required criteria. Nonetheless, the VA has a vested interest in protecting their disability fund against too many claims. For this reason, the threshold is hard to meet, communicating with the VA is difficult, and the VA will not help you figure out what you need to do to file a successful application. This alone can turn away a large percentage of claims against the VA disability fund.
Technically, however, they need a legal reason. A successful claim will meet all three of the following criteria:
Sometimes it can be difficult to scientifically prove your disability is real. For instance, conditions like fibromyalgia rely on self-reported symptoms for a diagnosis. This can make it difficult to prove. In other cases, it will not be apparent that your disability is a direct result of your military service. Psychological conditions like PTSD fall into this category. Lastly, the VA may dispute the extent to which your disability prevents you from working.
Once you receive notice of a rejection, the VA will ask if you want to dispute their decision. You will then file a notice of disagreement with the VA. This preserves your right to appeal the process. The VA will send you a Form 9 which is a complex set of forms that details the medical evidence for your case.
Most veterans are not aware that they are making a medical and legal argument for why they are entitled to recover disability. Few folks in the general public are qualified to do that, especially when they are unfamiliar with the legal processes involved. The Comerford Law Office has helped thousands of Will County veterans appeal the VA’s decision and recover their benefits.