The Appeals Process

The Department of Veterans Affairs system is complicated and confusing.  After a claim is filed at the Regional Office (RO), a rating decision is issued.  The rating decision provides you with the VA’s decision on each issue you claimed.  If you are unsatisfied with this decision, you have the right to appeal by filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD).  You can appeal various issues including the denial of service connection, the rating assigned for a disability or the effective date of service connection.  The NOD must be filed within a year of the date on the notice letter sent with the rating decision.

After the NOD is filed, a Statement of the Case (SOC) is issued by the RO.  If you are still not satisfied with the decision in the SOC, you can appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) by filing a Substantive Appeal/VA Form 9.  This must be filed with BVA within 60 days from the notice letter sent with the SOC.

At anytime during the appeals process, you may request a hearing at the RO by submitting a written statement.  You may present testimony and submit evidence at a hearing. A hearing may also be held before a Vetearns Law Judge at BVA after the case is certified to BVA.  The BVA hearing may be held either by video or in person at the RO, or in person at the BVA office in Washington, D.C.

Under limited circumstances, your case may also be appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) if you disagree with the BVA decision.  You may file a CAVC appeal within 120 days of the BVA decision.

Fochler Veterans Law can help you effectively navigate through the confusing VA appeals process and get you the benefits you deserve.