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Appeals

You have the right to appeal any benefits decision made by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). The VA appeals process is set in law and is different from other judicial appeals processes. Find out how to file an appeal.

Have you already filed an appeal?

When the VBA Regional Office (RO) receives your Notice of Disagreement (NOD), you’ll be able to check the status of your appeal on Vets.gov.

Track Your Appeal

Appeals Process Overview

After VBA has made a decision on your claim, if you disagree with the outcome, you can file an appeal for some or all of the issues you were seeking benefits for in your claim.

The process has many steps that can repeat themselves. At any time in the process, VA can issue a decision on part or all of your appeal, but in general an appeal follows these steps:

  • File a Notice of Disagreement (NOD)

    By filing an NOD, you begin the appeals process. You’ll need to file an NOD within 1 year from the date on the letter letting you know of the decision on your claim. Download a Notice of Disagreement (VA Form 21-0958)

    Fill out your NOD and mail it to the address provided on the VA claim decision notice letter you received, or bring it to your local RO.

  • RO prepares the Statement of the Case (SOC)

    After you file your NOD, if the RO can’t grant all or part of your appeal, it will prepare the SOC for the issues in your appeal that were not granted. To do this, they review all the evidence related to your appeal, including any new evidence you submit. You’ll receive a copy of it in the mail.

  • Submit a Form 9

    When you receive a copy of the SOC in the mail, you’ll also receive a Form 9. If you disagree with the SOC and want to continue the appeal process, you must return Form 9 within 60 days. This step is also called filing a Substantive Appeal.

  • (Optional) RO prepares the Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC)

    You can submit new evidence for your appeal at any time in the process. Each time you do, the RO will need to make a decision or prepare an SSOC if the RO can’t grant all or part of your appeal. This may add time to your appeal, but may make your appeal more successful if the evidence supports your argument. This step can happen at any time after the RO prepares the SOC.

  • RO certifies your appeal to the Board

    The RO will prepare your appeal and send it to the Board for review. Your appeal will wait in line until the Board is able to review it.

  • The Board activates your appeal

    The Board now has control of your appeal. Lawyers who are experts in Veterans law and reviewing benefit claims will review it. The review prepares your appeal for a Veterans Law Judge who will make a decision. In most cases, your appeal is reviewed in the order it was received. In some cases, an appeal will be moved to the front of the line—this happens if you’re facing severe financial hardship, over age 75, or have a serious illness.

  • (Optional) Hearing

    If you request a Board hearing, you’ll be sent a letter at least 30 days before it’s scheduled to happen. Learn more about hearings.

  • The Board makes its decision

    The Board has reviewed your appeal and provides a decision on each issue in your appeal. Each issue will be decided in 1 of 3 ways:

    • Allowed: The Board grants benefits.
    • Remanded: The Board needs more evidence to make a decision and will return your appeal to VBA. After VBA obtains the additional evidence, it will then make a new decision on the appeal. If VBA can’t grant all or part of your appeal, it will prepare a new SSOC and return the appeal to the Board.
    • Denied: The Board does not grant benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • An appeal can take 1 to 7 years to get a final decision. After you file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD), you can follow the status for your appeal.
  • No. At this time, all forms, evidence, and other paperwork for your appeal have to be sent through the mail. You’ll find the correct mailing address on information sent to you by VA, or you can send it to:

    Chairman (01)
    Board of Veterans’ Appeals
    PO Box 27063
    Washington, DC 20038

  • Yes. The appeals process has a “continuous open record.” This means you can send in new evidence and/or make new arguments at any point from the beginning to the end of the appeals process. We also follow what’s known as a duty to assist policy. This means that we’ll help you get your treatment records you’ve identified and we’ll provide a physical exam if one is needed.

    Each time you present new arguments and add or find new evidence, VBA will make a decision or prepare a new Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC). This can add time to your appeal, but may make your appeal more successful if the evidence supports your argument.

  • If you want to, you can have a representative help you with your appeal. This person may be a lawyer, a claims agent, or a Veterans Service Officer (VSO). Learn how to get help filing your claim.

    Once you have a representative, you’ll need to let VA know they have permission to represent you by completing a form.

    • If your representative is a lawyer or claims agent, fill out the Appointment of Individual as Claimant’s Representative (VA Form 21-22A). Download VA Form 21-22A
    • If your representative is a VSO, fill out the Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as Claimant’s Representative (VA Form 21-22). Download VA Form 21-22
  • If at any time you decide you don’t want to appeal the claim anymore (for any or all of the issues involved in the appeal), you or your authorized representative can send in a written statement. It should include your name, the related Department of Veterans Affairs file number, and a statement that you’re withdrawing the appeal.

    If you request the withdrawal before you get notice that the appeal has been activated at the Board, send your statement to VBA. After the appeal has been transferred to the Board, you should send it directly to the Board at:

    Chairman (01)
    Board of Veterans’ Appeals
    PO Box 27063
    Washington, DC 20038

  • If at any time you decide you don’t want a Board hearing, you or your authorized representative can send in a written statement. Your statement should include your name, the related Department of Veterans Affairs file number, and a statement that you’re withdrawing the appeal.

    Send your letter to:


    Director, Office of Management, Planning and Analysis (014)
    Board of Veterans’ Appeals
    PO Box 27063
    Washington, DC 20038

  • You can:

    • File a new claim with your RO, or
    • File a motion asking the Board to reconsider your appeal (there’s no time limit to file this motion), or
    • File a motion asking the Board to review your appeal again because there was clear and unmistakable error in its decision (there’s no time limit to file this motion), or
    • File a Notice of Appeal with the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) within 120 days from the date of the decision by the Board (stamped on the first page of the decision). Learn how to file an appeal with the CAVC.
  • The CAVC is made up of:

    • 7 permanent (long-term), active judges, and
    • 2 more judges as part of a temporary expansion clause

    The CAVC has the sole power to accept or overturn Board decisions and is part of the United States Judiciary, not the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The CAVC reviews Board decisions based on what was in your file at the time the Board reviewed it, and written and oral arguments you or your representative submitted.

    The CAVC’s main office is in Washington, DC, but the CAVC holds sessions in other parts of the country a few times each year.

  • If the Board has sent you a final decision on your appeal, you can appeal the Board’s decision to the CAVC. You’ll need to wait until you have a final decision from the Board—not the VBA RO—before you can appeal to the CAVC. Learn how to file an appeal with the CAVC.