Veterans courageously make sacrifices to serve their country. One assumes that if disabled,
obtaining benefits would not be a problem. It is an unacceptable and unfortunate fact that this is
not the case. Often the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) delays or even denies disability
benefits to deserving individuals. It is not unusual for veterans to submit numerous appeals and
wait several years before receiving benefits.
What does the veteran’s
appeal process involve?
Once a veteran’s disability claim is denied, the
next step is for the veteran to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD), request a copy of the rating
decision, explain reasons for disagreeing with the denial and state the desire to appeal. In
response, the VA sends a Statement of the Case (SOC), summarizing how it arrived at its decision,
and a form to fill out for appeal, called a Substantive Appeal. Other complications are also
involved with appeals, an SOC that does not provide adequate information about reasons for denial.
Another possible action is requesting that a Decision Review Officer (DRO) review a claim. The
appeals process can be complex because it may involve hearings, higher level reviews and more.
Over the past 140 years, veterans could not have attorneys represent them in VA
disability hearings. However, in 2007, Congress passed a law that allows veterans who were denied
benefits to obtain a lawyer. This law, called the Veterans Benefits,
Health Care, and Information Technology Act enables veterans to retain lawyers for
representation in VA proceedings to dispute denied claims or voice veterans’ disagreements
with benefits decisions.
Tucker & Ludin, PA is a Florida law firm with offices in
Clearwater and Tampa that assists clients with denied VA claims. Find out how we can help you
receive the veterans disability benefits you deserve. Call our toll free number 866-282-5260 to
schedule an initial consultation.