What is the Veterans Claims Appeals Process?
Once the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) denies your claim, you have several levels of appeals.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA), which is located in Washington, D.C., reviews your appeal. These are the steps involved:
- NOD. To appeal you must first submit a Notice of Disagreement (NOD), which is simply a statement that you disagree with the finding. You have one year from the date when the claim denial was mailed to file an NOD.
- SOC. Next, the VA sends you a Statement of Case (SOC), which is its detailed report containing the evidence, regulations and laws the VA office considered when denying your claim.
- Form 9. Along with the SOC, you receive a Substantive Appeal Form (Form 9). Your attorney can help you fill out the Form 9. The form allows you to explain the mistakes in the SOC, describe the benefit you wish to receive and submit your request for a personal hearing. You can request a hearing with either a member of the local VA office or a member of the Board of Veterans' Appeals.
- Hearing. During the hearing, your attorney can present additional evidence about your disability claim.
- Local or BVA review. If the BVA still denies your claim, you can ask the local office to reopen your claim or file a motion requesting the BVA review your case again and reconsider based on a clear and unmistakable error (CUE).
- U.S. courts of appeals. Your attorney also can file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Your attorney can appeal to higher courts, such as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.