Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Denied Disability Claims

How To Appeal A Denied Claim

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Veterans can now file an appeal online with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals


​I have said for many years that at any point of appeal of a denied claim a veteran is always better off retaining a veterans law attorney. I've suffered the usual slings and arrows from those who believe that free help is better than having a greedy lawyer take away your money. The VBA has encouraged this sort of thinking all along. "Go it alone", they say, "You can trust us!"

Veterans law attorneys aren't free. They will charge you a reasonable fee (about 20% of retro), monitored and distributed by the VA, only if and when you win your appeal. You pay nothing if you don't win.

You get skilled, experienced, accredited, powerful legal help in a court of law on the cheap.

Why does the VBA go to such great lengths to deter you from using an accredited veterans law attorney?

Because lawyers WIN! Who would have guessed it?  Page 39 of the annual BVA report tells the tale.

An individual (many are veterans) spends years to get an undergraduate degree with a track record that gets them into a few more years of a grueling law school and who can pass the board exam required to license them wins the most cases. Go figure.

​Veterans who have a lawyer manage their BVA appeal win 39.9% of appeals.

​Veterans who have the DAV as representatives win 29.7% of their appeals. That's a 10% drop!

​Veterans who have no representation prevail in only 27.3% of their appeals. Go it alone and LOSE baby!

​If you doubt any of this, do your homework. Every one of the BVA annual reports tells us that having an accredited lawyer manage your appeal greatly increases the chance you'll win.

If you do the simple math, you'll understand why your Department of Veterans Affairs wants you to go it alone, you loser you.

There are 3 great lies:

1) The check is in the mail.

2) Of course I'll respect you in the morning darling.

​3) Hello, we're here from the VA and we're going to help you.

The veteran who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer... /s/ Jim

veterans medical malpractice lawyers

We urge you to take a moment and consider retaining an accredited veterans law attorney to manage your appeal

No matter how clear the error and appeal process may look to you, it never is. A skilled veterans law attorney can prevail when others aren't able to. Better yet, it costs you nothing out of pocket and nothing at all if you don't win.

Talk with YOUR lawyer today!

​The link below takes you to the VA site where you'll find the latest and simplest ways to manage your appeal.

How to Appeal

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Travel Pay

Since the VA adopted the new mileage application via the internet, I haven't received any travel money. I checked with my travel clerk and he told me that there is a big back log here in Florida. Have others experienced this problem? Thank you Jim.

Jim's Reply:
I'm in Florida so I feel your pain.
We're supposed to be reimbursed a per mile amount for certain travel to and from medical care. In my time with VHA I've seen long lines and over an hour wait to receive a few dollars gas money. Then we went to a fill-out-the-form system. The check-in kiosks were introduced a few years back and those worked well other than you had to remember to sign out and sign in again to submit the travel voucher.
Not all that long ago I checked in to my small clinic and the kiosks were unplugged and parked in a corner. I was told to check in the old school way and only when I asked, I was given an old form to complete for travel pay. I was told the kiosks were gone forever.
I returned to that clinic 2 weeks later and the check in kiosks were back, plugged in and ready to go. There was no option for travel reimbursement, I was told to go to the Internet and figure it out. I haven't seen any deposits either.
I don't have any answer for you other than...welcome to your VA. They care!

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How To Appeal A VA Disability Benefit Denial

Jim Strickland is a Vietnam era Army veteran and nationally recognized expert on VA disability benefits.

Jim writes extensively about VA and Social Security disability benefits. 
Jim's Mailbag is a regular column featured at  Stateside Legal  where veterans, servicemembers,
and family members can  ask Jim their questions  about VA and Social Security disability benefits. 

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Stateside Legal Help For Veterans

The Board of Veterans Appeals

When you choose this option, you’re appealing to a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans' Appeals

in Washington, D.C. A judge who’s an expert in Veterans law will review your case.

M21-5, Chapter 5 - Higher Level Review Procedures

Higher-level reviews (HLRs) consist of de novo reviews of the issue(s) identified by requesters on a completed 

VA Form 20-0996, Decision Review Request:  Higher-Level Review.  De novo review means the reviewer reexamines and readjudicates the claim in question without deference to the prior decision, except for proper favorable findings.

US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is a national court of record, established under Article I

of the Constitution of the United States. The Court has exclusive jurisdiction to provide judicial review

of final decisions by the Board of Veterans' Appeals, an entity within the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Board of Veterans Appeals

​VA decision reviews and appeals
The legacy VA appeals process has changed to the decision review process. If you disagree with a VA decision dated on or after February 19, 2019, you can choose from 3 decision review options (Supplemental Claim, Higher-Level Review, or Board Appeal) to continue your case. If you aren’t satisfied with the results of the first option you choose, you can try another eligible option.

Five Reasons to Appeal​​

1. You filed a claim for a disability benefit and were denied.

2. You filed a claim for a benefit and the rating is too low.

3. You've been denied a health care benefit, for example...prosthetics or dental services.

4. You have had a temporary rating and VA tells you that they are going to reduce that rating.

5. You've been notified that VA is proposing to appoint a fiduciary.

How to Appeal if the VA Denies Disability Benefits
If you are denied veterans disability benefits, here's how to appeal

VA decision reviews and appeals
The legacy VA appeals process has changed to the decision review process