When applying for VA disability benefits, it may seem as if all odds are against you. However, normally the VA will not deny claims to be malicious. It is important for veterans to be aware of the common reasons as to why their claims may have been denied.
Surprisingly this happens more often than not. The VA has various deadlines that need to be met. This may sound frivolous due to the VA’s continual back log. They will make you wait for a decision, but if you miss a deadline, your claim becomes closed and you are denied. Many claimants are unaware of the various deadlines that are required to be met during the appeals process. Below are the time frames in which a decision must be appealed:
- Rating Decision: 12 months from the date of the decision to file an appeal
- Statement of the Case: 60 days from the date of the decision to file an appeal
- Supplemental Statement of the Case: this deadline is shorter than the previous decision – you only have 30 days to file an appeal to this decision, if an appeal is needed
- Decision from the Board of Veteran’s Appeal: this decision needs to be appealed within 120 days from the date of the Board’s decision
If a deadline to appeal a decision has passed and if you did not file a timely appeal, but you wish to continue your claim because you have missed the deadline, you would have to reopen the claim with new and material evidence. If the evidence is not new and material, the claim will remain denied.
It is important to note that other letters that come from the VA may also require a response before a deadline. The VA may ask for additional information. If the information that has been requested is not given to the VA in time, the claim may be denied.
Missed Compensation and Pension Exam
Compensation and Pension Exams (C&P) are mandatory. C&P exams are scheduled by the VA for a veteran to assess the disability or disabilities that are being claimed. Missing this exam could result in your claim being denied.
Symptoms are not Severe Enough
In some cases, the VA will recognize that you are experiencing certain symptoms due to a service related disability, but they will say that your symptoms are not at a level of severity that warrants a disability compensation or disability rating. Sometimes the medical evidence that has been submitted does not reflect the severity of your disability.
The Disability is not Service Related
In order to receive disability compensation, there must be a link between your disability and your time in service. This is called a nexus. If your disability was pre-existing and not aggravated by your military service, this may give a reason for the VA to deny your claim. If in fact, your disability is service related and the VA states that there is no proof that it is related to service; service records and/or medical records may help your case. Buddy statements can also be helpful. If you have someone that can attest that your disability is related to your time in service, this statement should be submitted as evidence to help support your claim.