How To Appeal A VA Disability Claim Under The New Appeal System

In 2018 Congress passed the Appeals Modernization Act (AMA).  Among other things, this advocate changed how to appeal a VA disability claim or other benefits claim.  The AMA went into effect on February 19, 2019.  The AMA requires any Rating Decision issued by the VA on or after February 19, 2019 must use this new system.  For cases appealed or ripe for appeal prior to the start date of the AMA, the claimant may “Opt-In” to the AMA as opposed to following the prior appeal system referred to as “Legacy” after they receive a new appeal decision.

Under the new appeal system, you have three options. (Note: You can only choose one type of review for a claim under more than one option. You cannot choose two options concurrently). Regardless of which option you choose make sure the form is complete, clearly identifies the issues you wish to appeal (not just the decision), and mark the box to opt-in after SOC or SSOC if that’s what they’re trying to do.

1)        Supplemental Claim

Choose this option if you have additional evidence that is NEW AND RELEVANT to support your claim or if you are able to identify existing evidence in the form of records that you would like the VA to obtain.

NEW evidence means information not previously submitted to VA.

RELEVANT evidence means that the information tends to prove (or disprove) a matter at issue.

NOTE:  The VA has a duty to assist you at this level in gathering evidence to support your claim.

To submit a Supplemental Claim, complete a VA Form 20-0995, Supplemental Claim.  This form is included at the end of these materials or you can complete the form online by clicking here.

Where do you send the form?

Mail to:

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims Intake Center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI 53547-4444

Or Fax to:

Toll Free: 844-531-7818 & 248-524-4260 (Utilized for Foreign Claimants)

2)        Higher-Level Review

Choose this option if you have NO ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE to submit or obtain in support of your claim.

NOTE:  You cannot submit any additional evidence under this option.

NOTE: You cannot request a Higher-Level Review of a Higher-Level Review decision or a Board decision.

The decision reviewer will review your claim based on all of the existing evidence in the file at the time of the prior decision(s).  You or your representative may also request an information conference with the reviewer.  It is not required.  This conference is a telephone conference, not an in-person meeting.  The purpose of the conference is to provide you with an opportunity to point out specific errors the VA made in deciding your claim.

To submit a Supplemental Claim, complete a VA Form 20-0996, Decision Review Request: Higher Level Review. This form is included at the end of these materials or you can complete the form online by clicking here.

Where do you send the form?

Mail to:

Department of Veterans Affairs

Claims Intake Center

PO Box 4444

Janesville, WI 53547-4444

Or Fax to:

Toll Free: 844-531-7818 & 248-524-4260 (Utilized for Foreign Claimants)

3)        Appeal to the Board

Choose this option to appeal to the Board of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims in Washington, DC for review by a Veterans Law Judge (a VA advocate trained in VA representative).

When appealing to the Board, you may request a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge and/or the opportunity to submit additional evidence. 

You may also choose review by the Board foregoing submitting any additional evidence or a hearing, which may result in a faster decision.  By selecting one of these options, the Board will consider your appeal in the order it was received.

The Board does not have a duty to assist you in obtaining additional evidence, but may review whether the VA properly fulfilled its duty to assist you in the original (including supplemental) claim process and may remand (send it back to the Regional Office to review and issue another decision) your claim on that or another basis.

To submit a Supplemental Claim, complete a VA Form 10182 – Decision Review Request: Board Appeal (Notice of Disagreement). This form is included at the end of these materials or you can complete the form online by clicking here.

Where do I send the form?

Mail the completed form to:

Board of Veterans’ Appeals

P.O. Box 27063

Washington, DC 20038

              OR

Fax the form to:  844-678-8979

NOTE: you can choose a different option for every claim in a decision.

What if you fail to file on time?

  1. File a Request for Revision of the decision if there is a “clear and unmistakable error” in   the decision;
  2. File a Supplemental Claim.  For this type of claim to have any possibility of success, you must submit “new and relevant” evidence in support of the claim.  Note that if you are successful, the effective date of any award will be the date you filed your Supplemental Claim not any prior claims on the same disability.

Contact us today for additional assistance.

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