When a Veteran submits a claim for VA disability, there are very strict deadlines in place if the Veteran does not initially get the exact disability compensation that he or she thinks should be awarded. Once a Veteran receives a letter denying in whole or in part the Veteran’s claim, the Veteran has one year from the date of that letter, which is on the top part of the letter, to submit a Notice of Disagreement and notice of Intent to Appeal. Failure to submit a Notice of Disagreement within a one year period from the date of that letter means that the claim is final and unappealable. If a claim is not timely appealed by the submission of a Notice of Disagreement, then it can only be reopened if the Veteran submits new and material evidence. Please see my previous blog post dated October 15, 2012 on how to prepare a Notice of Disagreement.
Once the VA receives the timely notice of disagreement from the Veteran, then it will again review the claim. Eventually, the VA will issue what is called a Statement of the Case. That is a very important phrase of art and the issuance of a Statement of the Case by the VA triggers a 60 day deadline in which the Veteran must submit a completed VA Form 9 in order to perfect his or her appeal. Failure by a Veteran to submit a VA Form 9 within 60 days of issuance of the Statement of the Case will result in the claim being deemed final and unappealable.
If the Veteran has timely complied with both the Notice of Disagreement requirement and the VA Form 9 requirement, then the claim moves to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). At the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, a decision will ultimately be rendered by the Board regarding the Veteran’s claims. If the Veteran agrees with the decision of the Board, then he or she does not need to do anything further.
If, however, the Veteran does not fully agree with the decision of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, he or she has a very strict 120 day time limitation from the date the BVA decision was rendered to submit a Notice of Appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. This is a very important time limitation and Veterans must honor the 120 day time limit or the claim will be deemed final and unappealable.
There is a very short window of time for Veterans to timely appeal their claims and it happens at three separate levels. The Veteran should always make sure that he or she immediately checks the rules and files all required documents as soon as he or she receives a decision that the Veteran does not agree with. Failure to do so will result in the ultimate denial of the claim as it will be final and unappealable.
I practice in the area of Veterans claims from the initial level all the way through the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. If you have an issue with regard to your claim, please feel free to contact me by email.
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.