The VA appeal process can be a very long one and as a result, extremely frustrating. As such, it can be helpful to know how the process works and what is needed at each step to achieve the best possible outcome. In this guide, we will focus on the Notice of Disagreement (NOD).
What is the VA Notice of Disagreement NOD?
The NOD is how you formally disagree with the VA’s rating decision. You may appeal your claim’s denial or approval for less compensation than you are owed using this VA form.
When to File a Notice of Disagreement
You can file a NOD at any time after you receive the VA’s rating decision however; it is important to keep in mind that there are specific time limits for appealing a claim so it is best to file your appeal as soon as possible.
The following are general time limits for filing a Notice of Disagreement:
- If your claim is denied, you have one year from the date of the VA’s rating decision to file a NOD.
- If your claim is approved for less compensation than you are owed, you have one year from the date of the VA’s rating decision to file a NOD.
- If your claim is fully or partially granted, you have one year from the date of the VA’s rating decision to file a NOD.
Note that you have 1 year from the date stamped on the rating decision which will likely NOT be the same date you RECEIVE the rating decision in the mail, often coming days or weeks later.
Appeals Modernization Act – Notice of Disagreements
If you receive a letter notifying you that your disability rating has been changed, you have one year to file an appeal. However, in order to do so, you will need a new form (VA Form 10182). On this form, you must identify the specific determination with which you disagree and state if you would like a hearing before the board or submit more evidence.
This is the more notable distinction between the old appeals process and the new VA appeals process. Veterans can now go straight to the Board with their case if they don’t like a decision from the Regional Office, or from a decision they don’t like in one of the other lanes, Supplemental and Higher Level Review.
Now let’s review the legacy appeals system and what the process used to look like for most vets. As of Jan 2022, VA still has over 100,000 legacy claims pending.
Filling Out Legacy Appeal VA Form 21-0958
In order to submit a Notice of Disagreement in the Legacy Appeals system, you must fill out VA Form 21-0958. This form is sent to you by VA when it makes a decision about your claim.
The Notice of Disagreement form is where you can say that you disagree with the rating decision or injury decision for each medical condition you applied for and get specific. For example, suppose you filed for PTSD, ankle problems, TBI, Tinnitus, and more but only half of those got approved. You will have to specify which ratings or lack thereof, you disagree with and why.
Before submitting a Notice of Disagreement, carefully read it to understand VA’s decision. You must comprehend what and why VA used to decide your claim before you can appeal. VA’s claim decisions are frequently written in ambiguous language that confuses the veteran and essentially talks nonsense until you give up, so don’t do that! Ask yourself:
- Did VA grant service connection but lowballed ratings?
- Did VA deny service connection for your disability claim?
- Were you awarded the wrong effective date?
All of these can be appealed but the strategy is different for each because the goal is different. Check out our specific guides for each of those problems.
Have You Been Denied VA Disability Benefits?
With the time-sensitive nature of decisions, if you don’t have representation, you should consider contacting a professional if you are unclear. This process is very complex and VA recommends using legal help in many of their decision documentation should you choose to appeal.
Also, make sure to have copies of your most recent decisions, especially those issued in the past year if you plan on speaking to someone. This will allow you to present your claim to a veterans disability lawyer’s office who can help determine a plan of action to ensure your case is handled in the best possible way.
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