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 case file that the VA will be forced to accept. The process for filing appeals was overhauled in 2017 by the Appeals Modernization Act (AMA). A small minority of veterans may still have appeals pending under the legacy system, but all new claims or appeals are now submitted through the AMA process. 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:

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.

Options for Appealing Your VA Disability Denial or Rating

If you were denied disability benefits, or you were issued a rating that is too low for your condition, you can appeal the VA’s decision and have your claim reevaluated. The VA offers three options for requesting a decision review:

Supplemental Claim

A supplemental claim is a request to have your file reviewed based on new and relevant evidence that was not available or included when you submitted your original claim. If you don’t have access to the new evidence, but it is available from a VA medical facility, private healthcare provider, or other federal agency, you may be able to have the VA gather these records on your behalf. Your claim will then be reviewed by a VA regional office based on the new information.

Higher-Level Review

If you believe that your benefits decision is incorrect or contains an error, you can request that your claim be reviewed by a senior-level reviewer at a regional VA office. It’s important to note that even though this process is called a higher-level review, your claim will still be reviewed at the regional level. This is similar to “asking for the manager” at a store and is intended to offer a faster resolution than a Board of Appeals review.

Board of Appeals Review

This involves asking a Veterans law judge with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) to review your claim. You can ask the judge to review the claim you already submitted without changes (known as direct review), submit new evidence for review, or request a hearing with the judge in which adding new evidence is optional. Even though the VA now offers virtual hearings and videoconferencing options, requesting a hearing may still add time to an already lengthy appeals process, so this option should be considered very carefully.

There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing each decision review option, and it is possible to pursue more than one type of decision review. The choice of how to appeal your VA claim is best made in concert with your attorney.

Talk to an Illinois Veterans’ Benefits Attorney

If you need help managing 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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