If you intend to appeal the denial of your VA disability claim, it is important that you make sure you have all that you need before doing so. Pursuing an appeal prematurely or before you have the requisite components is not just a futile exercise. It will almost certainly result in a denial of your appeal and a wasting of the time and effort you spent in pursuing it.
Before considering filing an appeal, be sure you have these three components in place:
A Decision Letter
You cannot file an appeal until the VA has denied your claim or rendered a decision that you take issue with. The decision letter is the official statement of how the VA has ruled on your claim and what benefits, if any, they are awarding you. It also contains the rationale the VA employed in reaching its decision.
Without the decision letter, the VA has not reached an official decision on your claim. Even if it has been months or years since you submitted your claim, your VA claim’s status is still considered pending and not appealable until you get the decision letter.
If it has been some time since you heard from the VA about your claim, follow up on its status with the VA itself or enlist the help of an attorney to do so.
One (or More) Reason(s) to Appeal
This may seem fundamental, but before you file an appeal, be certain you know what part or parts of the decision you wish to appeal. If your claim was denied, be certain you understand why the claim was denied before you rush to file an appeal. A claim that was denied because of a lack of service-connection will be handled differently than a claim that is denied because the VA does not believe you are disabled.
A denial of your claim is not the only decision you can appeal. You can appeal the VA’s rating that they assign to your disabilities if you believe the VA did not properly interpret your medical and other evidence.
A Timely Appeal on File
Once you have your decision letter, you generally have only one year to file your appeal. Once that year passes, you must start the application process over again. In doing so, you will lose out on any benefits you might have been entitled ot from the time you filed your first claim to when you refiled your claim following the first’s denial.
Need Additional Help? Centonzio Law is Here for You
If you have questions or concerns about your VA claim and appealing an adverse decision, a skilled veterans law attorney from Centonzio Law is a great source of information and advocacy. We will let you know if your case is ripe and ready for an appeal or what needs to happen to get your claim into such a position. Once ready, we will pursue your appeal with vigor and skill, working to get you the benefits you deserve.
Contact us today online or by calling (800) 342-2727.