Each veteran’s VA disability claim is unique. The circumstances of your service-related injury, the way in which that injury or condition impacts your daily life, and your and your family’s needs are all unique to you. The VA disability process, including the appeals process, is supposed to take the individualized nature of veterans’ claims into account when making decisions regarding benefits. For example, just because you were diagnosed with leukemia does not mean you are entitled to VA benefits.
And yet, there are issues that appear with frequency in VA disability claims. This reality can be both positive and negative: on the one hand, frequently-encountered issues means that the VA has developed a predictable process for adjudicating those issues that frequently appear before it. On the other hand, the regularity with which it encounters certain issues can lead reviewers to discount the individual aspects that distinguish each veteran’s claim from others.
The Two Most Common Issues Appealed from a VA Disability Claim
When you receive notice of an unfavorable decision by the VA, you will make a decision as to your next steps. If you choose to appeal the decision (and in most cases you should appeal), part of preparing your appeal involves identifying the issues you believe ought to be reviewed. In other words, in your appeals paperwork you must tell the VA what you believe they got wrong.
The Board of Veterans Appeals has identified two broad categories of issues into which most veterans’ disability appeals fall. These two categories are as follows:
The VA Did Not Find the Veteran to be Disabled
First, the VA may have concluded that the veteran was not disabled according to the law and therefore not entitled to benefits. This could be because the VA believes the veteran’s condition does not qualify for benefits, or because the VA has concluded that the condition is not connected to the veteran’s service.
The VA Did Not Find the Condition to be as Severe as the Veteran Claimed
Secondly, the VA may find that the veteran is entitled to benefits, but the amount of benefits is not as much as the veteran believes they should have received. This may be because the veteran’s records are not complete, or because there was some issue that arose during a medical evaluation.
Raising Issues After an Unfavorable Decision
There may be other appealable issues as well. For this reason, it is valuable to have a trained and experienced veterans law attorney review your case and denial to see the ways in which the VA may have gotten your claim wrong. Identifying all issues that may have been decided incorrectly is a crucial step in making sure your VA disability appeal proceeds as smoothly and timely as possible.
If you received notification of an unfavorable decision on your VA claim, contact Veterans Law Attorneys by calling (866) 894-9773 or by reaching out to us online. Let us help you get the VA disability benefits you deserve.