Many Veterans are initially denied disability benefits, but then approved on appeal. If your application is denied, you may be able to appeal based on procedural errors made by the Veteran’s Benefits Administration.
Appeals on Medical Examination Issues
When there is insufficient medical evidence available, the VA is required to provide a medical examination to determine whether your disability is service-connected. This exam must meet very specific requirements to be considered valid. If the doctor is inexperienced in evaluating your specific condition or provides insufficient reasoning for his opinion, this can be the basis of an appeal.
Appeals Based on Evidence Issues
When you apply for benefits, the VA must tell you what specific evidence is necessary for approval. If you are required to get this evidence on your own, you must be given clear notice. If the evidence is something the VA has the authority to access, they must help you obtain the correct records. If you didn’t know you needed specific evidence or received insufficient help locating evidence, this constitutes grounds for an appeal.
Appeals Based on Incorrect Consideration
Often the VA considers factors that are irrelevant to the claim and can be used as the basis for your appeal. For example:
- The VA is not allowed to consider non-service connected disabilities when evaluating a claim. However, if there is an overlap in limitations caused by service-connected and non-service connected disabilities, the VA must attribute all of the applicant’s limitations to the service-connected condition.
- When a Veteran has a mental health condition, it can’t be denied for lack of an identification of a stressor unless it is a claim for PTSD.
- Orthopedic claims should take into account the functional loss caused by a Veteran’s orthopedic condition, as shown by pain during motion, instead of focusing solely on range of motion.
- Age can’t be considered as a factor when evaluating TDIU claims.
Getting Help With Your Appeal
If your benefits have been denied and you’re uncertain about your next steps, it’s in your best interest to speak to an experienced veterans benefits attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can review your application and determine the best way to prepare your appeal. Contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.