If you are a veteran who was rejected after applying for disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or you received a disability rating lower than what you deserved, you may be able to appeal your decision. However, the process of appealing that decision can be difficult and complicated. That is why you need to know these five things before making your appeal for your VA disability decision:
- You can appeal if you were rejected, or if your rating was too low
- There are two primary reasons to appeal your VA disability decision: you were denied entirely, or your disability rating is lower than you believe you deserve. In the former case, it means you can appeal to have your case reconsidered and earn a rating. In the latter case, you can seek to improve your disability rating and gain more benefits as a result.
- You may need to show your disability is related to your service
- A common reason for denial is that the VA does not believe your disability is related to your service. This means they attribute your disability to events that happened before or after you were in the military. With more evidence, however, you may be able to show your disability relates to your service, earning you the benefits you deserve.
- You may need to provide more medical evidence
- Another thing you may need to do to appeal your VA disability decision is to obtain more medical evidence for your disability. This may mean going to your doctor and obtaining more complete medical records, or getting new tests that prove the existence and severity of your disability. The more evidence you have, generally speaking, the better your position will be.
- Your chances of success may change as science advances
- Sometimes, your chances of appealing your VA disability decision can improve based on improvements in science. While the VA is supposed to make decisions based on the best available science at the time, that science can change over time. With a better understanding of your medical condition, you may have a better chance of a favorable outcome on appeal.
- The success of an appeal is not guaranteed
- The appeals process is never guaranteed to produce a better outcome than your initial VA disability decision. However, for many people, it provides an opportunity to obtain better benefits that can help them and their families. That is why you should consider speaking to a lawyer with experience handling VA disability claims and appeals, who can assist you with your case.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.