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Three Ways to Appeal a VA Disability Claim

Appealing a denied or unfavorable VA disability claim can be a daunting task for veterans seeking recognition and support for service-connected injuries or illnesses. The experienced attorneys at Chad Barr Law can help and guide you with the right strategies and help navigate the appeals process effectively. The best time to appeal a claim is within the first 365 days of denial. In this guide, we’ll delve into the three primary methods of appeal: Supplemental Claim, Higher-Level Review, and Board Appeal. Understanding the nuances of each approach is crucial for maximizing the chances of a successful outcome.

Veterans that are interested in appealing their claim should contact Chad Barr Law for a free case evaluation.


Supplemental Claim

The supplemental claim option allows veterans to submit new and relevant evidence that was not previously considered during the initial evaluation of their claim. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the supplemental claim process:

a. Gathering New Evidence: The first step in pursuing a supplemental claim is to gather new evidence that strengthens the case for service connection or supports a higher disability rating. This could include updated medical records, additional statements from healthcare providers, or new diagnoses related to the claimed condition.

b. Submitting the Supplemental Claim: Once the new evidence has been collected, veterans must submit a formal supplemental claim to the VA. It’s essential to clearly articulate how the new evidence relates to the claimed condition and why it warrants reconsideration.

c. VA Review and Decision: Upon receiving the supplemental claim, the VA will conduct a review of the new evidence and reconsider the veteran’s case. If the additional evidence is deemed sufficient to change the outcome of the claim, the VA may grant service connection or adjust the disability rating accordingly.

d. Further Appeals: If the supplemental claim is denied or the veteran remains dissatisfied with the outcome, they have the option to pursue further appeals including filing another supplemental claim, a higher level review, or board appeal. .

The Chad Barr Law Way

Chad Barr Law brings a deep understanding of VA regulations, case law, and procedural requirements to every case. Veterans can benefit from the firm’s legal experience and guidance throughout the supplemental claim process, ensuring that their claims are strategically prepared and meticulously documented.

  1. Comprehensive Case Evaluation: One of the first steps in assisting veterans with their supplemental claims is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of their cases. Chad Barr Law carefully reviews all relevant medical records, treatment histories, and supporting documentation to identify strengths and weaknesses in the veteran’s claim. This thorough assessment enables the firm to develop a tailored strategy for pursuing the supplemental claim effectively.
  2. Gathering Additional Evidence: In many cases, the key to a successful supplemental claim lies in gathering additional evidence to strengthen the veteran’s case. Chad Barr Law works closely with veterans to identify and obtain relevant medical records, obtain nexus letters and expert opinions, and other supporting documentation that can bolster the claim and address any deficiencies in the initial evaluation.
  3. Formulating Persuasive Arguments: Building a compelling case requires more than just presenting evidence; it requires crafting persuasive legal arguments that highlight the veteran’s entitlement to benefits. Chad Barr Law leverages its legal experience and advocacy skills to formulate strong arguments that effectively convey the veteran’s service connection, impairment severity, and eligibility for compensation. We can’t emphasize how important this is – and we can help.
  4. Submission and Follow-Up: Once the supplemental claim is prepared, Chad Barr Law submits the claim to the VA with all necessary documentation and supporting evidence. The firm ensures that the claim is properly documented and presented to maximize the likelihood of a favorable outcome. After submission, Chad Barr Law continues to advocate on behalf of the veteran, following up with the VA and providing any additional information or clarification as needed.

Higher-Level Review

The higher-level review option provides veterans with the opportunity to have their claim reviewed by a more experienced VA adjudicator without the submission of new evidence.  Here’s what veterans need to know about the higher-level review process:

a. Requesting a Higher-Level Review: To initiate a higher-level review, veterans must submit a formal request to the VA indicating their desire for a senior adjudicator to reevaluate their claim. Unlike the supplemental claim, no new evidence is permitted at this stage.

b. VA Review and Decision: During the higher-level review, a senior adjudicator will conduct a thorough reexamination of the veteran’s case, considering all available evidence from the initial claim. Veterans can elect to participate in an Informal Conference which is an opportunity to speak directly with the senior adjudicator to discuss the errors made by the VA. The goal is to identify any errors or discrepancies in the original decision and rectify them accordingly.

c. Expedited Processing: One potential advantage of the higher-level review option is expedited processing, which may lead to a quicker resolution compared to other appeal methods. However, veterans should be aware that the review is limited to the existing evidence on file.

d. Further Appeals: If the higher level review is denied or the veteran remains dissatisfied with the outcome, they have the option to pursue further appeals including filing another supplemental claim or board appeal. However, the Veteran cannot submit another higher level review back-to-back.


Chad Barr Law Is Here to Help

Chad Barr Law is dedicated to assisting veterans in navigating the higher-level review process effectively, ensuring that their claims receive fair consideration by a senior adjudicator. Here’s how Chad Barr Law can help veterans with their higher-level review:

  1. Requesting a Higher-Level Review: Chad Barr Law guides veterans through the process of requesting a higher-level review by preparing and submitting a formal request to the VA. The firm meticulously examines the record to identify any errors or discrepancies in the original decision that may warrant reconsideration on the Higher Level Review request.  By providing clear and concise communication with the VA, Chad Barr Law ensures that veterans’ requests are promptly and appropriately addressed.
  2. Higher Level Review Conference:  Chad Barr Law serves as a dedicated advocate for veterans, representing their interests and advocating for a fair and favorable outcome at the Informal Conference. Often times, Informal Conferences can cause Veterans a lot of Anxiety or Stress which is why hiring an Attorney can be so helpful because then they can attend the conference on your behalf. Our VA disability attorneys present compelling arguments and evidence on behalf of veterans, highlighting any errors or deficiencies in the original decision and advocating for their correction. Chad Barr Law ensures that veterans’ rights are protected and that their claims receive the careful consideration they deserve.

Board Appeal

The board appeal option allows veterans to challenge unfavorable decisions by seeking a review from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA), an independent adjudicatory body.  A board appeal is only possible if a Veteran submits the request within one (1) year of the issuance of a decision. There are three different Board Appeal options that a Veteran can request:

    1. Direct Review: If a Veteran selects Direct Review, a Veteran’s Law Judge will review the appeal based only on the evidence that is in file on the date of the appeal and issue a decision. A veteran may not submit new evidence, and there is no hearing.
    2. Evidence Submission: If a Veteran selects Evidence Submission, the Veteran has 90 days from the date they file the request to submit any new evidence the Veteran wants the Court to consider. Then, the Veterans Law Judge will review the Veteran’s appeal and issue a decision.  Again, there is no hearing.
    3. Hearing: If a Veteran requests a Hearing, the Veteran has up to 90 days after the Hearing to submit any new evidence the Veteran wants the Court to consider. At the Hearing, the Veteran is allowed via testimony to tell the Court their story, and the Veteran’s Attorney can present legal argument. Then, the Veterans Law Judge will review the hearing transcript and file to issue a decision. However, if a Veteran requests a hearing, it will take two years or longer before the hearing occurs.

Chad Barr Law Supports Veterans

Here is a detailed overview of how Chad Barr Law handles Board Appeals.

a. Initiating the Appeal: To appeal to the BVA, veterans must submit a formal Notice of Disagreement (NOD) within the specified timeframe following the initial decision on their claim. The NOD serves as the official notification of the veteran’s intent to appeal.

b. Direct Review/Evidence Submission Review by the BVA: In addition to the Notice of Disagreement Chad Barr Law drafts a Memorandum of Law that outlines the favorable evidence in the Veteran claim file and relevant legal argument to increase the Veterans chance of success.

c. BVA Hearing Preparation and Attendance:  If the Veteran elected the BVA hearing option Chad Barr Law meets with Clients to provide a detailed overview of the process and prepare them for the upcoming hearing.  The Attorneys at Chad Barr Law attend the Hearing with the Veteran and help guide the Veteran’s testimony. Chad Barr Law also presents legal argument and advises the Judge on key pieces of evidence that may have been overlooked in the past.

d. Issuance of BVA Decision: The BVA will conduct a de novo review of the veteran’s entire claim, considering all available evidence and legal arguments presented. This means that the BVA will reevaluate the claim without giving deference to previous decisions. After reviewing the veteran’s case and considering all relevant factors, the BVA will issue a written decision outlining its findings and conclusions. If the BVA grants the appeal, the VA will implement the decision and provide the appropriate benefits.

e. Further Appeals: If a Veteran remains dissatisfied with the outcome, they can file another supplemental claim or an appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Contact Us Today

Chad Barr Law offers veterans comprehensive legal assistance and representation throughout the appeals process, ensuring that their rights are protected and that they receive the benefits they rightfully deserve. With a focus on advocacy, experience, and personalized support, the firm helps veterans navigate the complexities of the appeals process and pursue justice for their service and sacrifice.

If you have questions in regard to appealing your disability claim, call our office today at 888-2-VETLAW or fill out our free case evaluation form.