Our South Carolina Disability Attorneys Explain How to Appeal a VA Denial
The Department of Veterans Affairs operates programs that help disabled veterans cover housing and other life expenses. These programs are extremely important to the 4.7 million plus disabled veterans currently living in the United States. Unfortunately, accessing disability benefits can be a frustrating process for veterans and their families. The VA routinely denies applications for benefits, leaving veterans and their families unable to cover basic expenses.
If the VA denied your application for benefits, then you may have legal options to file an appeal. Our South Carolina disability attorneys can advise and represent you during the VA appeals process. Contact us for a free consultation at (803) 324-7200 to learn more.
Why Does the VA Deny Benefits?
There are a number of reasons why the VA may deny your initial application. However, the VA most commonly denies applications that lack sufficient information. In some cases, providing more information can help with an appeal. Additional reasons for a denial include:
- The VA claims you lack a current disability. If the VA claims you do not have a qualifying disability, even if symptoms from a health condition are in remission, they may deny your claim for benefits.
- The VA believes there is no service connection. The VA will deny your claim if there is not sufficient evidence your service history caused a disability or aggravated an existing health condition.
- Missing a C&P exam. The “claim exam”, also called the compensation and pension exam or C&P exam, is extremely important. Never miss this exam. The VA may deny an application outright for missing the C&P exam.
- Documentation mistakes. There are mistakes during the application process that can lead to a denial of benefits. Filling out the wrong forms or forgetting to include evidence can lead to a denial.
- Missed deadlines. As with many government assistance programs, you cannot miss filing or hearing deadlines. The VA may deny your initial application or an appeal for missing deadlines.
Regardless of why the VA denies an application, you should still consider options to appeal. Our attorneys can help you review your potential options.
How to Appeal a VA Denial
Your path for appealing a denial depends on the circumstances. There are two appeals systems in place due to a change in the process that rolled out in 2019. We strongly encourage you to contact us if you have specific questions about the appeals process. Below, we included some basic information on how to appeal a VA denial.
Appeals Under the Legacy System
If the VA sent its decision before February 19, 2019, you would have needed to file a Notice of Disagreement Form to begin the appeals process. The VA plans to resolve its backlog of Legacy appeals by the end of 2022.
Appeals Under the Appeals Modernization Act
If the VA sent its decision on or after February 19, 2019, then your appeal falls under the Appeals Modernization Act System. This system provides several choices for appealing your claim. You can choose from one of the following three lanes to have your appeal reviewed:
- Supplemental claim. With this option, you are providing the VA with more information about your claim. Specifically, you are giving the VA information it did not possess during your initial claim.
- Higher-level review. This is where you have a senior reviewer take a look at your case. After looking at your case, the senior reviewer determines whether the VA can change its initial decision.
- Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. If you appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, then you must choose between three dockets; the direct docket, the evidence docket and the hearing docket. The wait time for the VA to reach a decision varies depending on the type of docket you choose.
We encourage you to contact us if you have questions about the appeals process under the Appeals Modernization Act. Our disability attorneys can explain your potential options. Depending on the circumstances, it may even be possible to have the VA expedite your claim.
Contact Our Disability Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Although our disability attorneys cannot help with the initial application process for VA disability benefits, we can assist you during an appeal. We can also represent you at a VA disability hearing. To learn more about how we can help, schedule a free consultation with us by dialing (803) 324-7200 or by using the contact form on our site.