If you applied for Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits and the VA and then received a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs, denying you benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision. You have one year from the date on the denial letter to file your appeal. You will need to submit a Notice of Disagreement with the Veterans Affairs Regional Office that denied you benefits, in order to file an appeal. There is not a specific form called Notice of Disagreement, which can be provided to you by the Office Veterans Affairs, so you can use their Statement in Support of Claim form. An attorney can also draft your Notice of Disagreement for you.
In your Notice of Disagreement to Veterans Affairs, you need to state that you disagree with their decision. It’s important to keep it general in the Notice of Disagreement, you don’t need to list all the reasons that you disagree here, in fact it may not help your appeal. By keeping your reason general, if you forget to mention an issue, you can still add that issue to your appeal later on. Make sure you mention the date of the denial letter and use the words Notice of Disagreement prominently on the form.
The wording can be tricky, so having a lawyer help you will always make this an easier process. If you do provide details about why you disagree with the denial of benefits, make sure to mention that your disagreement isn’t limited to the issues you mention. State that you disagree with all of the decisions in the denial letter and ratings decision. Sign it and keep a copy before you put it in the mail. Send it certified mail so you can prove you met the filing deadline.
You can choose a Decision Review Officer appeal with or without a hearing at your Veterans Affairs Regional Office, or you can appeal directly to the Board of Veterans Appeals. Choosing the latter means you have to wait for the Veterans Affairs to issue you a Statement of the Case, which is a detailed explanation of their decision, and it takes a long time for them to send it to you. A DRO appeal gets completed much faster than a BVA appeal. And, if the DRO doesn’t grant you benefits, you can still take your case to the Board of Veterans Appeals later.
Once you receive the Statement of the Case, you have only 60 days to file your BVA appeal. Use VA Form 9 to file your BVA appeal. VA Form 9 is more difficult to complete than a Notice of Disagreement, so you may need the help of an attorney. After you file Form 9, you will again have to wait several months for your VA regional office to transfer your file to the Board of Veterans Appeals. When you get a letter from the BVA with instructions for your appeal, you will know that the BVA have received your file.