If you’ve had a claim for disability benefits denied in the past, you can file a reopened claim to get a new decision if all of these are true:
- We denied your claim at least 1 or more years ago, and
- You didn’t file an appeal at that time, and
- You have new and material evidence (new supporting documents like a doctor’s report or medical test results) that we haven’t seen before and that’s directly related to your claim
What’s an example of a reopened claim?
A Veteran was treated several times during service for pain in his right elbow. He filed a claim for disability benefits. His claim wasn’t granted because a VA doctor examined him and didn’t find a problem.
Then, 2 years later, the Veteran’s non-VA doctor x-rayed his elbow and found signs of arthritis (a painful swelling and sometimes wearing down of a joint). The Veteran applied to reopen his VA claim. He sent his doctor’s exam and X-ray results as new evidence related to the claim. Because the recent exam showed his current elbow pain was likely an after-effect of his in-service elbow problems, we reopened his claim.