The VA Disability Appeals Timeline

HomeBlogBlogThe VA Disability Appeals Timeline



The VA Disability Appeals Timeline

Filing a disability appeal with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is often a difficult process. If you wish to challenge a disability rating or decision, it’s crucial that you begin as soon as possible. You have one year from the date of the decision to file an appeal, but the VA disability appeal process might take several years. What is the typical length of the VA appeals process? Below, we cover a general timeline and what to expect. To learn how long the process may take in your situation, talk to our VA attorney at the Comerford Law Office. 

Initial Application

Once you’ve filed the initial application, you can initiate the appeals process after receiving a decision from the VA that indicates your disability benefits were denied. If you reopen a claim that has already been denied or request an increase, the process can take between 6 to 18 months. 

Rating Decision and Notice of Disagreement

The rating decision provides a detailed explanation of whether your application was approved or denied. You have a year to appeal the decision, which is done through one of three decision review options: filing supplemental claims, requesting a higher-level review or asking for a board appeal. If the first option you select does not achieve satisfactory results, you may try again using another option.

Supplemental Claims

Filing a Supplemental Claim allows you to add or identify new evidence that can be used to support your case. The evidence must not have been provided to VA previously and should be relevant to your case. You can submit the evidence yourself or request the VA to gather it for you. Ideally, applicants should submit their new evidence within a year of receiving the decision letter. On average, processing time takes about 4 to 5 months. 

Higher-Level Reviews

You may request that a senior reviewer complete a new review of your application within a year of receiving your decision letter. The process involves an informal conference call in which you or your representative discuss the errors that warrant a changed decision. Note that you cannot submit new evidence during this review.

Board Appeals

If you choose a Board Appeal, you will appeal your case to a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeal. There are three options for a Board Appeal review: 

  • Option 1: Direct Review. If you choose to request a direct review, the evidence you originally submitted will be evaluated by a Veterans Law Judge. You cannot submit new evidence for this review. The review takes an average of 1 year to complete. 
  • Options 2: Submit New Evidence. You may also choose to submit additional evidence regarding your case for a Veterans Law Judge to review. This evidence needs to be submitted within 90 days of the date the VA receives your Board Appeal request.
  • Option 3: Hearing. Veterans may also request a hearing for a Veterans Law Judge to review new, relevant evidence. While you are not required to submit additional evidence, you must do so on the day of the hearing or within 90 days thereafter. You will speak to the Veterans Law Judge via a virtual hearing, videoconference at a VA location or an in-person hearing at the Board in Washington, D.C. You can expect the Board to take up to 2 years to complete their review. 

Talk to a Knowledgeable VA Attorney

The VA disability appeals process is complex, and it can take time to receive the decision you are seeking. Call a Chicago VA lawyer at the Comerford Law Office for guidance through your case.

Our Cases

Results That Matter

Helping Veterans Since 2008.
You Don’t Have To Do This Alone.