In August 2017, the Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act became law. A VA benefits appeals process occurs when a veteran applies for monthly disability benefits and receives a denial. The veteran is then allowed to go through the process of overturning the decision and obtaining disability benefits. Many veterans hire a va disability appeals lawyer to help them overturn the initial decision. The new law improves the veteran benefits appeal process in five ways.
The Modernization of the Veteran Benefits Appeals Process
The new law modernizes the current disability appeals and claims process. The purpose of these changes is to improve the appeals process and make decisions faster. Another change is the three review options a veteran receives to appeal their denial. This place the power of determining what type of appeal is best in veterans’ hands. The law also requires the government to improve the notification of the VA decision process. The last improvement is to ensure veterans receive the earliest effective date.
The Options for a Disability Benefits Denial Appeal
The first level of appeal is done by a senior claims adjudicator. The adjudicator takes a new look the initial decision without looking at any new evidence. They can overturn the denial based on an unmistakable error and difference of opinion.
The second option is a supplemental claim lane. A veteran can submit any new evidence that is relevant to overturning the denial. The last option is called the Appeal Lane for Appeals to the Board.
This level allows veterans to directly appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Within the third level are three options to choose from such as a direct review. A direct review is based no new evidence and done without a hearing.
The second option is evidence submission. Evidence submission is based on new evidence to overturn the denial, but no hearing. The last option is a hearing. A hearing is based on new evidence to overturn a denial. The hearing is done before a Veterans Law Judge.
Contact a VA Disability Attorney about Overturning the Denial
Many denials are based on a veteran not meeting eligibility requirements. These eligibility requirements include showing evidence a veteran developed an injury or medical condition while they served in the military. Eligibility can be proven in two other ways too. One eligibility requirement is the veteran had an injury and illness before joining the military and serving made the condition worse.
The appeals process can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to resolve. The Veterans Benefits Administration allows veterans to appeal all or part of the denial. This means a veteran can appeal one portion of the denial such as not meeting eligibility requirements.
Before appealing the disability benefits decision, talk to a lawyer. A lawyer who specializes in VA disability appeals will determine if all or a portion of the denial should be appealed. They will also determine the needed evidence to show the initial denial should be overturned.