I disagree with the VA's decision

If you disagree with all or part of a VA decision, please contact a Veteran Service Officer.  Although all VA decisions can be appealed, the additional review process can be lengthy and difficult.  Our Veteran Service Officers can assist you with navigating the next steps of the process.

Essentially, you have two options if you disagree with the VA's decision.  The first is to file a Claim for Reconsideration.  Typically, Reconsideration claims require:

  • New medical evidence that was not part of your original claim
  • Existing evidence that supports your claim but was not considered by the VA

New Medical Evidence

You may have filed a claim stating service connection for a right knee condition.  During the time period while your original claim was being reviewed, you had knee surgery which provided new medical evidence to support your claim.

Existing Evidence Not Previously Considered

In the occasions where veterans seek treatment from multiple VA facilities (for example, snowbirds or Maine residents who may be treated in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire), the VA may not pull evidentiary documents from each facility.  Consequently, the veteran may have the opportunity to have additional, existing evidence included in their claim.

Also, VA raters sometime simply overlook evidence submitted with a claim and therefore need to reconsider the documentation.

You may also file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) if you would like to contest a decision by the VA. For example, you meet the medical criteria for a condition - less than 90 degree abduction in your right shoulder – but the VA only awards you 10% compensation versus the 20% entitlement.  To file a NOD, you must use VA Form 21-0958 (PDF).

You may choose to have your NOD reviewed by a Decision Review Officer (DRO), who oversees the decisions made by Ratings Specialists.  The DRO is a senior technical expert and has the jurisdiction to hear and decide any appeal.  Specifically, you may request a "de novo" review by a DRO, which means the DRO will examine the file as if it was being reviewed for the first time. Frequently, the DRO process saves time and energy for both you and the VA, as opposed to pursuing a BVA appeal.

Both a Claim for Reconsideration and a NOD must be filed within one year from the date on your decision letter from the VA.  Our Veteran Service Officers can help you evaluate your case and decide on the best course of action. Find a Service Officer near you.