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VA Disability Appeals

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Chicago Veteran’s Disability Appeals Lawyer

Most veterans will have their initial claims denied. It is then that they approach a lawyer who is qualified to help produce an ironclad casefile that the VA will be forced to accept. The process involves filing a Form 9 or a notice of disagreement. Below, we will discuss this matter in more detail.

Why Did the VA Deny My Claim?

The VA likely denied your claim because you simply could not prove, to their satisfaction, one of the three elements necessary to satisfy the claim. The three elements are:

  • You have a serious disability
  • Your disability is related to your military service
  • This disability partly or entirely prevents you from working

The last part is generally the most difficult to prove. It requires both medical evidence, and in some cases, the testimony of a vocational counselor concerning what kind of work you can or cannot do.

Filing a Notice of Disagreement

Once the VA informs you that your claim has been denied, you will have one year from the date on the denial letter to file a Notice of Disagreement (or an NOD). 

The purpose of the NOD is simply to preserve your right to appeal and make it known that you intend to appeal. The purpose of the NOD is not to determine where you think the VA went wrong. That will be determined later. If you do list reasons for challenging the decision, it may actually limit the types of arguments you can make on your behalf. So, tread carefully here.

Lastly, if the DRO denies your claim, you will receive a Statement of Case and a Form 9. You will need to fill out a Form 9 to continue your appeal.

Filling Out a Form 9

Form 9 documents are large packets that request significant information concerning your disability. Once your NOD has been processed, the VA will send you a Statement of Case (SOC) and a Form 9. The complexity of this packet and the information the VA is requesting makes it very difficult for a layperson to do this on their own.

Types of Appeals

You can request an appeal from a Decision Review Officer (DRO) or from the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). 

If you request a decision by a DRO, you are likely to get a decision quicker, and you can appeal the DRO’s decision to the BVA. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing a DRO to review the decision. The choice of how to appeal is best made in concert with your attorney.

Talk to an Illinois Veterans’ Benefits Attorney

If you need help manage a VA disability appeal, call Comerford Law Office today. Our attorneys have helped Illinois veterans receive benefits they were initially denied. Call today to learn more about how we can help.

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