Was Your VA Disability Claim Denied? Here is What to Do (2021 Update)
If the VA denied your disability claim, you are certainly not alone. Largely for financial reasons, claims examiners deny about a third of the applications they review. There is a limited amount of money for everyone, and every penny paid takes money from the bureaucratic machine. You basically have two options in this situation: accept the result of work to change it.
Generally, that second alternative is the best, especially since most of the claim denials mentioned above are clearly wrong.
Essentially, claims examiners hope that the psychological blow will be enough to deter future action. These bureaucrats do not have the help of a good veteran disability attorney.
Why was my VA disability claim denied?
Understanding the basis of your denial is the key to reversing the decision. As mentioned, most of the denials are clearly wrong.
These adverse decisions are often easy to deal with. If the problem is a lack of evidence or some other substantial deficiency, then these problems can also be treated.
Many first-time denials cite the following issues:
Some veterans present proof of exposure but no proof of exposure-related disability. Agent Orange is a good example. Congress recently made it easy for Vietnam-era veterans to receive Agent Orange disability benefits, but they must do more than prove their exposure. They must also show that they have a disability as a result of that exposure. For example, type 2 diabetes mellitus.
No evidence in service:
Other claims have the opposite problem. The veteran has a disability, such as PTSD, but there is no evidence that PTSD is ingrained in any way in the veteran’s service history. Stressful events (specific, documented incidents that occurred during deployment) generally fix this problem.
This last area is a combination of the two previous topics. There are a disability and a service trigger, but there is no connection between the two. This connection need not be direct or one of cause and effect. Any relationship is enough. Oftentimes, this evidence comes from the results of the C&P exam or an independent medical exam.
On a related note, not attending a C&P exam is one of the most frequent causes of disability review denials. Oftentimes, the veteran did not attend the C&P exam because he did not know.
Other times, the veteran was unable to attend the exam physically. Most disabled veterans have trouble getting from point A to point B and being in certain places at certain times.
What should I do next?
The Veterans Appeals Modernization and Improvement Act of 2017 substantially changed the way veterans respond to claim denials. Now that this law is fully implemented, veterans have more options on how to proceed.
Erroneous denials generally end up on the top-level Review track. Veterans cannot present new evidence in support of their claims. HLR is just a second look. Generally, this process is much faster than the old appeals process. If the decision is unfavorable, veterans can still look at other options.
Nexus denials and other denials for lack of evidence often deserve supplemental claims. Veterans can present new evidence in support of their claims. The claim will then be re-judged, and a new decision will be issued.
Lastly, you have the option of taking your case before a judge from the Veterans Appeals Board. A veteran disability attorney can most effectively advocate for you during these reviews.
Contact an aggressive attorney.
Was your VA disability claim denied? Do not give up. For a free consultation with an experienced veterans disability attorney, contact the Gumps Legal Attorney in Texas. We are here to represent disabled veterans across the country.