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By law, every veteran has the right to appeal a decision regarding their benefits made by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Thankfully, the ability to do so is easier now than ever — because it can be started online.
Note: If you’ve already filed an appeal or a claim, and would like to check its status, click here.
To start the process of filing an appeal, click here.
After you click, you’ll be taken to an overview of the entire process. Step one will be filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). Keep in mind there’s a one year window for filing this paperwork which essentially gets the entire appellate motion going.
Step two is the preparation of the statement of case (SOC) by your regional VA office. This only happens if the regional office doesn’t approve the entirety of the appeal.
Step three is, after receiving a copy of the SOC in the mail, taking the Form 9 that’s included in the package along with it and either filling it out and sending it back in within 60 days if you don’t agree with the SOC or doing nothing with it, if you agree with the SOC.
Step four is the regional office sends the appeal to the Board. It then waits in line with the other appeals to be reviewed.
Step five is the Board activating the appeal. Here’s what that means, according to the VA:
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.
Step six is optional, and it involves a hearing. This can be requested, but isn’t necessary.
Step seven is the decision. The Board makes a final determination regarding the appeal, and each issue within it. They’ll stamp them with either “allowed”, “remanded” or “denied.”
For frequently asked questions on this topic, like length of the process, how to get a representative to help or recourse options, click here and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page.