VA Appeal Process Steps

Most veterans don’t realise the hoops they need to jump through to complete all of the VA appeal Process Steps.

This guide outlines the VA appeal Process Steps that most veterans have to accomplish to get benefits.

The Veteran’s Notice of Disagreement (NOD)

The NOD is the initial step in filing your appeal. At a minimum, it should contain the “expression of dissatisfaction” with your Ratings Decision and the “intent to appeal”.

The Original Claim

Every VA claim for benefits begins with an original application. Veterans can file this application online, where the VA Claim application process is available. Additionally, you can also submit your claim application via mail.

The VA Rating Decision

After getting your claim application, the VA will start to create evidence that supports or deny your VA claim.

This evidence includes medical records and military service records, among others. A VA claims representative will review your application and other supporting documents to issue a “Rating Decision”.

If VA grants you the claim, the Rating Decision will inform you what claims were accepted and what disability rating was given to you, along with the effective date of your disability benefits. 

The Review Process

When veterans file the NOD, they should request that the DRO (Decision Review Officer) review their Ratings Decision.

The DRO is usually a senior VA claims examiner authorised to reverse a VA Rating Decision. They can meet and discuss the VA claim with the veteran or their attorney (if any).

The Statement of Case (SOC)

The SOC is statutorily needed and is created by the VA Regional Office. The purpose of SOC is to inform the veteran about the reason(s) that their claim for VA benefits was denied.

The VA Form 9

A VA Form 9 lays out every issue you have with the compensation rating Decision you’re appealing. You must state each VA Ratings decision you disagree with and the reason for disagreeing with it. You can do that on several copies of VA Form 9 or only one copy and continuation sheets.

The BVA Hearing

The BVA hearing allows the Administrative Judge to hear arguments, witnesses, and testimony in support of a Veteran’s appeal. The hearings generally begin with a summary of the problems. Then judges listen to it closely, so they don’t miss out on anything essential to reach any decision. 

Request to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

Veterans' appeals to the Federal Circuit of Appeals are very rare. Successful appeals on veterans' issues are even more uncommon. It doesn't mean you shouldn't appeal your adverse CAVC to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. However, you need an experienced Fed Circuit Appellate attorney to help you out.

United States Supreme Court

If your Federal Circuit Court of Appeals decision is unsatisfactory, you can seek help from the Supreme Court to review your decision. However, at this point, you also need an experienced attorney, as you won't be able to appeal alone at this level.