Denial of benefits administered by the VA are appealable to the Veterans Board of Appeals with a few exceptions. Medical treatment decisions made by VA doctors are not appealable. Adverse decisions regarding VA Disability Compensation are appealable.
If you receive an adverse Regional Office Decision (RO) you must file a Notice of Disagreement(NOD) with that VA Regional Office(RO). There is no special language or form but a letter merely stating that you disagree and want appellate review.
Your deadline for filing a Notice of Disagreement or NOD is One Year from the mailing date on the decision. This mailing date is the date on the decision.
After this NOD is filed you have a right to an attorney represent you. However, do not wait to contact a Veteran Disability Lawyer. If you hire an attorney the fee agreement must be in writing and approved by the Veteran Board of Appeals (VBA).
The attorney then must file VA Form 9, the official appeal to the Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA) after the DRO, Disability Rating Office files a "Statement of the CASE" or SOC.
The Veteran may file additional evidence and may have a hearing if requested. The Veteran may choose a face to face hearing with a traveling administrative law judge, have a video conference hearing ( the Veteran is on camera at the Regional Office and the Judge is on camera in Washington, D.C.) or schedule a hearing in Washington D.C. Each case is different and an experienced Veteran Disability Lawyer can be very helpful determining whether to have a hearing or not. Irrespective of choice, the lawyer should file a Legal Brief with the Judge.
If after a BVA final decision the veteran believes there is error then a "Notice of Appeal" is filed with the United States Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims. This notice MUST be filed within 120 days of when the BVA mailed its decision.
Unlike a BVA hearing no testimony is taken. The Court issues a decision based upon legal briefs, on argument before the Court and the record in the claims file. At this level, the Department of Veterans Affairs is represented by a lawyer from the Office of General Counsel. If there is a favorable outcome, the Cout may award attorney fees to the Veteran's Lawyer.
The Court can Reverse the BVA decision, Remand it back to the BVA for additional findings or uphold the BVA.
For more information and a free no obligation consultation call Jim Coletta toll free at 1-855-429-7770