When a veteran tries to apply for disability benefits through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), there is always the chance that they will either be denied benefits, or not receive the rating they might be entitled to. If this happens, it can be worthwhile to appeal the disability determination to get a better outcome. But what exactly does it mean to appeal a VA disability determination, and how could it help you?
What is a Disability Determination Appeal?
When you appeal your disability determination, you are asking the VA to review the disability rating that was awarded to you by the VA. This could mean asking a decision review officer to go over the decision and review the evidence to correct anything the original decision may have missed, or it could mean submitting additional evidence to reinforce claims about your disability. In some cases, it can also mean escalating to the Board of Veterans Appeals to review your case, if you have not gotten an adequate response from lower level reviewers.
Why Appeal Your Disability Determination?
There are two main reasons to appeal your disability determination. The first is that you were improperly denied VA disability benefits despite being a veteran in good standing, and despite having suffered physical or psychological disability as a result of your military service. The second is that you were awarded a disability rating that is lower than you should be entitled to, based on the severity of your disability. You may also be eligible for better benefits if your disability has gotten worse over time.
What Can Appealing Your Disability Determination Do?
When you get your disability determination reviewed, you can potentially obtain disability benefits if you were previously denied, or increase your disability rating if the one you were awarded was too low. This can help you get access to benefits you previously would not have had access to, and increase the amount you will receive from any benefits you were already entitled to. This means that an appeal can be incredibly worthwhile for any veteran, even one that is already satisfied with the benefits they are receiving.
What Should You Do?
The best way to know if appealing your disability determination might be good for you is to speak to a lawyer with experience handling VA disability applications and appeals. They can go over the process with you and help you to file an effective appeal. Do not wait too long, however, or you may miss out on the time window to appeal your ruling.
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.