If you've been denied disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or believe your disability should have received a higher rating, you have the right to appeal the VA decision. You can win your appeal if you can show that the VA made an error on your claim.
Sometimes veterans are denied benefits because of procedural mistakes made by the VA. Below are some of these errors made by the VA.
1. The VA Fails to Notify a Veteran of Required Evidence in a Claim:
After a veteran applies for VA benefits, the VA is required to tell the veteran what evidence is needed to prove thier claim is valid so that you can be awarded benefits. This notice must specify what evidence you are responsible for submitting, as opposed to evidence the VA will gather on your behalf.
If the veteran did not receive this notification and can show that it hurt their case, this can be a basis for an appeal. The veteran will have to demonstrate that the evidence would’ve been helpful to thier claim had they known it was needed.
- The VA didn’t obtain the veteran’s records:
By law, the VA must help you obtain records that support your claim for benefits. If you have identified these records adequately, the VA has a duty to get these records for you.
- Medical Exam or Opinion was Inadequate:
If the VA did provide a required medical examination, it must meet certain requirements. For example, the VA physician or medical provider should be knowledgeable in the type of disability being evaluated. The doctor must explain in detail the reasoning behind his or her opinion about whether the current disability is service-connected and must give an actual opinion about whether this linkage exists or not.
- Inadequate Explanation of Benefits: If you appealed to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA), the BVA is required to include in its decisions a discussion of the facts and law on which the decision is based. You will need an attorney's help to check whether the BVA failed to properly address medical or lay evidence that helped your claim. Consult with a VA disability attorney to determine if this is a basis for appeal in your case.
- The VA didn’t provide a Medical Exam or Opinion: In certain cases, the VA is required to provide you with a medical examination to obtain an opinion about whether your disability is service-connected. The VA is required to provide this exam when there isn't sufficient medical evidence.