You have the right to appeal any disability benefits decision made by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). The appeals process is set in law and is different from other judicial appeals processes. Keep reading below to find out how to file an appeal.
What if I don’t agree with my benefits decision?
If you disagree with all or part of a VBA benefits decision, you can:
- File a new claim with your regional office along with any missing evidence (supporting documents like doctor’s reports or medical test results), or
- Start an appeal at your regional office by filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). If you need help figuring out the process, contact an accredited representative (a trained professional trusted to help with VA-related claims). Find an accredited representative.
When do I file an NOD?
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.
How do I file an appeal?
What happens after I file my appeal?
VBA will send you a written notice (known as a Statement of the Case, or SOC) letting you know why your claim was denied.
What if I still don’t agree with the decision made on my claim after VBA issues the SOC?
If you disagree with VBA’s decision, you can take your appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals for another look (known as a de novo review or new look). To do this, file a Substantive Appeal (VA Form 9).
When do I file a Substantive Appeal?
You’ll need to file a Substantive Appeal within 60 days from the date on the letter that comes with the SOC—or within the remainder of the 1-year period starting from the date on your original decision notice—whichever gives you more time.
How do I file a Substantive Appeal?
What’s the status of my appeal?
Can I send in more evidence (supporting documents) or make a new argument to support my appeal?
Yes. The appeals process follows what’s known as a continuous open record process. 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 work to find more evidence on your behalf and look into any new arguments that may show you should qualify for disability benefits.
Each time you present new arguments and add or find new evidence, VBA must issue another decision considering that evidence. This adds time to the process, so it’ll take longer to resolve your appeal.
What if I decide I don’t want to pursue my appeal anymore?
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 transferred to the Board, send your statement to VBA. After the appeal has been transferred, you should send it directly to the Board.
What happens if I still disagree with the Board’s decision?
If you still disagree, you can:
- File a new claim with your regional office, 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 obvious error in its decision (there’s no time limit to file this motion, but it can’t be filed until after the Board decision becomes final), 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 more about CAVC.
How do I file a Notice of Appeal with the CAVC?
Send your Notice of Appeal to the clerk of CAVC. Follow these detailed instructions.
Get more information
Want more details about the appeals process? Download the “How Do I Appeal?” pamphlet.