While speaking about Veteran Disability Benefits, most of them specify that they have made a claim to the VA and some of their claims are still pending for approval. Now it has to be understood that there is a huge sea of difference between the term claim and appeal.
A claim is an application submitted to the VA for availing VA disability benefits for the disability or medical condition that the veteran suffered while on active duty. These claims are usually filed online through eBenefits or by mail or can also be submitted in person at the VA Regional office.
The documents submitted for the claim are then processed and a rating is ben determined based on the evidences of the documents. There are numerous laws and regulations that have to be followed in order to arrive at a decision as to what is the level of disability accrued and if the veteran qualifies all the criterions that might be required for benefit approvals under a scheme.
Once the veteran satiates all requirements, he is then subjected to medical examinations to decide upon the actual amount of benefit he is entitled to under the VA Benefit program.
All these processes require continuous follow-ups and proper documentation and resubmissions from the veteran’s side as and when the VA might require it. For more click here Herskovits. So getting help from a registered veteran service organization might prove to be helpful.
There are circumstances where some processing errors do happen and some of the claims might be rejected. It is during these scenarios does the concept of Appeal come into scene.
When a claim is been rejected and the veteran feels that it was not a fair decision, he has all right to appeal against the rejection by VA. An appeal has an advantage of multiple reviews from multiple juries and panels. A veteran has to appoint an attorney to deal with the appeal process at his own cost.
According to a study, around 74% of the appeals are filed by veterans who are already getting a VA benefit but seek for an increase in the amount of compensation or for receiving benefits accrued from a previous effective date.
What are the requisites for an Appeal process?
Once a veteran decides to go in for an appeal, the following points have to be considered:
- Appoint an attorney to assist in the appeal processing.
- File the appeal and VA Form 9 at the earliest in order to progress in the already lined up huge piles of appeals.
- Don’t beat around the bust and make the point clear and identify the exact issue to the board.
- Always provide entire and detailed description of the supporting proofs and their source.
- Always remember to document all the proceedings of the appeal in an organized manner for future reference at any point of the appeal proceedings.
- Mention all the required information on the VA Form 9 about the BVA hearing process.
- Gather ample proof of treatment and medical records, ready for submission to the VA on request.
- Always keep the VA informed about any change in your residential or correspondence address because each and every document corresponded is vital.
- Always mention the Claim number on all correspondence and documents submitted to the VA, for better and speedy processing of the appeal.
Factors to be avoided during an Appeal:
- Don’t ever try handling the complete appeal process all by you. Consult a skilled attorney or executive to help you out in faster processing of the case.
- Submit only proofs and documents that are requested for and only those that would be required to support your appeal. Sending of unwanted and repetitive documents would in fact slow down the appeal process.
- Be aware about the forms to be used for claims and appeal. VA Form 9 is to be used only for appeals on previously submitted claims. The same should never be used for a requisition of a local office hearing.
- Raise only one issue at a time and be clear about what are the actual issues to be addressed to the board right before you file an appeal. Additional inclusions of issues at the middle of the appeal process will actually delay the appeal process and extend your waiting period.
- Always avoid last minute changes and alterations of the hearing process, date or location. This will again result in unnecessary delay.