For years veterans who disagreed with their VA disability claim decision were able to let the Department of Veterans Affairs know in a very straightforward way. They picked up a pen, some paper, and could write almost anything to the effect of “I disagree with your decision.” That was the simple process of how to file a Notice of Disagreement.
Unfortunately, the VA decided that process was far too uncomplicated. Therefore, they have decided to invent some new hoops for disabled veterans to jump through. Now, if a disabled veteran disagrees with the decision from the VA, they have to write a lengthy appeal by filing their Notice of Disagreement on a VA Form 21-0958.
The VA says that the Notice of Disagreement form will be issued with the decision notification letter.
What happens when a veteran does not receive the form with the decision and does not know about the new process?
Fortunately, veterans who do not receive the form with their decision notification letter can still file a Notice of Disagreement. All they need to do is contact their VA regional office or visit the website and submit the form electronically. The Veteran’s Service Representative (VSR) or Veterans Benefits Counselor (VBC) should be able to provide assistance in doing this.
Once the form is submitted, the VA will review the claim and issue a Statement of Case. This statement will outline the veteran’s claim for disability benefits based on medical records and the reasons why the VA has denied or granted benefits based on the eligibility requirements.
The new process may make filing a claim for disability benefits more complicated for veterans, but at least it is still possible to file a Notice of Disagreement without having to request a form from the VA.
Will the veteran be notified they have filed the Notice of Disagreement incorrectly or will they be left to think that the country doesn’t care about their needs?
Fortunately, the VA has taken steps to ensure veterans can still file a Notice of Disagreement even if they don’t receive the form with the decision notification letter. Veterans can contact their local VA office or visit the website and submit the form electronically.
Veteran Service Representatives (VSRs) or Veterans Benefits Counselors (VBCs) are available to provide assistance in doing this. Once the form is submitted, the VA will review the claims process and send a Statement of Case. This statement will outline why the VA has denied or granted the benefits to better care for veterans.
Although it’s unfortunate that the VA changed a simple process to make it more complicated, at least they have taken steps to ensure veterans are still able to file a Notice of Disagreement without having to receive a form from them.
What happens if an elderly veteran does not know where to look for this new form?
If an elderly, eligible veteran is unable to find the form for filing a Notice of Disagreement, there are still options available. The VA has established numerous helplines and access points designed to assist veterans with the process of filing a Notice of Disagreement.
Veterans can call 1-800-827-1000 or visit the VA website to speak with a representative. Additionally, they can visit their local VA office and speak with a Veteran Service Representative (VSR) or Veterans Benefits Counselor (VBC) who can provide them with assistance in submitting the form.
The VA claims that this new process will make the filing process easier, enhancing the quality of life for amputees and their families. It will be easier for the VA, not the veteran.
Fortunately, you can find the new Notice of Disagreement form and many other helpful VA forms here.
If you have questions about filing for an appeal, please contact Shook & Stone for a free consultation.