How to Appeal if the VA Denies You Disability Benefits


How Long Do I Have to Appeal?

You have one year from the date on the denial letter to file your appeal.

How Do I File an Appeal With the VA?

To file an appeal with the VA Regional Office that denied you benefits, you will need to submit a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). The VA doesn't have an NOD form, so you can use Statement in Support of Claim form. You should rely upon your attorney to complete this form and submit through proper channels with an expedite request.

Choose Type of Appeal

You can opt for a decision review officer (DRO) appeal with or without a hearing at your VA regional office, or you can appeal directly to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). However, if you want to appeal to the BVA, you have to wait for the VA to issue you a Statement of the Case. A Statement of the Case is a detailed explanation of the VA's decision, and it takes a long time for the VA to send it to you. BE SURE TO CONSULT WITH YOUR VA BENEFITS ATTORNEY as to the appropriate type of appeal that you should file.
A DRO appeal gets completed much faster than a BVA appeal, your attorney can determine whether this is the appropriate type of appeal for your case. And, if the DRO doesn't grant you benefits, you can still take your case to the Board of Veterans Appeals later. This will also require representation in order to expedite your appeal and have your BVA appeal filed with the best chance of a positive disposition for you.

What Happens After I File My Appeal?

Decision Review Officer (DRO)

If you asked for a DRO appeal, the VA will write to your attorney and ask you for more information about what parts of the decision you would like the VA to review. If you didn't ask for a hearing, the DRO will make a decision based on the records on file for your claim. If you asked for a hearing, it will be scheduled after your attorney provides the requested information.

Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA)

If you asked for a BVA appeal, the VA will prepare your Statement of the Case and send it to your attorney. The Statement of the Case is a summary of the VA's denial decision, and it will take several months for the VA to send it to you. Your attorney will also receive a Statement of the Case if the DRO denies your appeal.
Once your attorney receives the Statement of the Case, you have only 60 days to file your BVA appeal.