If a veteran receives an adverse Regional Office (RO) decision from the VA Regional Office denying his or her VA claim in whole or in part, the first initial step in the appeal process is to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). For any appeal, the filing of a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) is mandatory and cannot be avoided if the Veteran wants to proceed with appellate review of his claim.
As a result, when a claimant is denied his or her VA benefits that he thinks he should get, it is absolutely mandatory and necessary for a claimant to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) as soon as possible with the Regional Office that issued the adverse decision to him or her.
The deadline to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) is very important; it is within one year from the date of the mailing of the VA notice to the claimant of the adverse decision. The date on the letter notifying the claimant of the adverse decision is considered the date of mailing of the notice. As a result, it is absolutely critical for a claimant who is trying to get his or her VA disability benefits that a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) is submitted as soon as possible. If the one year statute of limitations in which to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) is missed, then the claimant will be unable to pursue that particular claim on appeal. In other words, if the deadline is missed, the Regional Office decision becomes final and unappealable. As a result, it is absolutely critical that anyone who wants to pursue an appeal of a denial by the Regional Office submit his or her Notice of Disagreement (NOD) as soon as possible after receiving the initial decision and, in any case, no later than one year after the date of the adverse decision.
Sample of Notice of Disagreement
Preparation and submission of a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) is actually a pretty simple process. The following is generally how we advise a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) should look.
This is a Sample Notice of Disagreement (NOD) Only –
You Must Create Your Own!
Your street address
Your city, state and zip code
Claims File Number
Social Security Number
Mailed by certified mail, return receipt requested
VA Regional Office (This should be the full mailing address of the Regional Office that issued you the decision)
Re: NOTICE OF DISAGREEMENT TO THE VA LETTER DATED (insert date)
AND NOTICE OF INTENT TO APPEAL
This is a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) and Notice of Intent to Appeal to the VA letter(s) dated ___________ (insert date). I desire appellate review of the decision. I disagree with all of the adjudicative determinations mentioned in the above referenced VA letter(s) and any enclosures thereto, except for those, if any, that I specifically state here that I do not want to appeal. Therefore, my Notice of Disagreement (NOD) specifically covers all of the determinations made by the Regional Office unless specifically excluded. I also disagree with the RO’s failure to adjudicate issues and claims it was required to adjudicate. I am specifically referring to issues that I may not have discussed but which were reasonably raised by the evidence in my VA claims file or in the VA’s possession that should have been inferred by the Regional Office. This appeal also includes adjudicative determinations that were mischaracterized by the Regional Office. If this appeal is not resolved favorably, please send me a Statement of the Case so I may appeal this decision to the Board of Veterans Appeals.
The specific items that I disagree with by filing this Notice of Disagreement and Notice of Intent to Appeal are as follows: ***EXPLAIN HERE THE SPECIFIC ISSUES THAT YOU DISAGREE WITH AND STATE WHAT YOU THINK THE VA INCORRECTLY DECIDED WITH REGARD TO YOUR CLAIM AND, FURTHER, STATE THE REASONS WHY YOU THINK THE VA WAS INCORRECT IN THE LETTER IT SENT TO YOU.***
Thank you very much for your immediate attention to my Notice of Disagreement (NOD). I am mailing this to you by certified mail, return receipt requested and I am keeping a copy of this letter for my records.
(Signature of Claimant/Veteran)
(Printed Name of Claimant/Veteran)
Once the Veteran has prepared the Notice of Disagreement (NOD) letter, please make sure it is dated and signed by the Veteran and then make a copy of the letter. Then, make sure to mail the original letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, which the Veteran can get from any U.S. post office. By sending the Notice of Disagreement (NOD) in this manner, the Veteran can verify with one hundred percent accuracy that the VA Regional Office did, in fact, receive the notice of disagreement. Keep a copy of the green card that will be returned to the Veteran once the VA receives it and staple it to the copy of the NOD letter so that the Veteran has a complete file of what was sent to the VA. Of course, keep a copy of everything that the Veteran both sends to the VA and receives from the VA.
If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact attorney Ronald C. Sykstus by email or by phone at (256)539-9899.
Ron Sykstus is a Managing Partner of several of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arizona, Tucson, and a Juris Doctorate from the Northern Illinois University College of Law. Ron has served in numerous positions throughout the U.S. Army and now utilizes his expertise in the areas of VA issues, security clearances, military law, and bankruptcy to assist his clients when they need it most. Read his full bio here.