A Notice of Disagreement (NOD) is filed when a Veteran receives a rating decision (RD) that they do not agree with. The rating can be either a denial, a continuation of a current rating, or a rating that the Veteran does not feel is high enough. The NOD contains specific language that tells the VA what the Veteran disagrees with and why. The specific parts of the NOD that are required by the VA are:
- The Rating Decision date that the Veteran is responding to;
- The specific issues the Veteran disagrees with;
- The Veteran may file an NOD to all or some of the issues in the rating decision, it is not required to file an NOD to all of the issues listed if only one or some are being contested
- What is the area of disagreement (are you stating the issue should be:
- Have a different Effective Date
- Have a different Rating Level (evaluation of disability)
- Or “other” issue
- What is the percentage (%) of rating the Veteran is seeking
- An explanation of why the Veteran feels that the VA incorrectly decided their claim (lack of evidence, did not review private records, etc.)
How do I file an NOD?
Because of inconsistencies in the past, laws regarding what needs to be included in the NOD form have been passed to ensure that Veteran’s are not misunderstood and that claims are not dropped when the Veteran was trying to file an NOD but did not include all the correct information. In an effort to reduce the amount of errors and lack of correct information often found on NODs; the VA has now made it mandatory to use the correct NOD Standard Form to file your Notice of Disagreement to any rating decision a Veteran may receive.
Streamlining processes is something the VA has been working on for a while to try to decrease the backlog and time Veterans have to wait for claims to be processed. By utilizing the standard form, the VA is able to decrease the time it takes to process an NOD and reduce errors considerable, thus reducing the time it takes for an NOD to be processed for the Veteran.
Why Should I File an NOD?
You don’t have to file an NOD when you receive a rating decision. If you feel that the rating decision you have received is fair based on your condition, then you can certainly accept it and close your claim. However, if you do not feel that the rating decision is correct based on your situation, then filing an NOD lets the VA know that you want them to review your situation again. This can be done several ways. First, after filing the Standard Form 958 , the Veteran has to choose how his or her claim is to be reviewed. There are two main options; either the traditional appeal process or the Decision Review Officer process.
- Traditional Appeal Process entails the person who originally reviewed the claim to re-review the claim.
- Decision Review Officer (DRO) review moves the claim to a higher level within the regional office for review by the DRO.
You may also choose to have a hearing to state your case to the review officer. Once the hearing is held, the DRO will make a decision on the claim and either grant the appeal in full, in part, or issue a Statement of the Case (SOC) on the issues that were not granted.
When Should I File an NOD?
NODs are very time sensitive and ensuring that you file one on time will ensure that y our original effective date is secure. You will have one (1) year from the date of the rating decision to file your NOD. Make sure that when you file the NOD you receive confirmation from the VA that they have received it by written correspondence. This ensures that your effective date is secured and your appeal is safe. Also, if you have filed and NOD and received a new decision with an SOC, you then have 60 days to file an appeal, a VA Form 21-9, a Substantive Appeal, to keep your appeal going. This will take the appeal to the Board of Veteran Affairs for review. If either of these deadlines is missed, the decision becomes final. Then, in order to reopen the claim, new evidence not already reviewed must be submitted and the original effective date will be lost, decreasing the potential for retroactive benefits. Time is money……