If you’ve exhausted all of your appeals, you’re not necessarily out of luck. If you have new evidence to help document your service-connected disability, you may be eligible to have your previous claim reopened.
Eligibility to Reopen an Earlier Claim
The VA only allows you to reopen a claim for service-connected disability compensation. You are not allowed to reopen a claim for an increased disability rating. If you are seeking an increased rating, you must file a new claim if you've completed all of the levels in the VA disability appeals process.
To reopen your claim, you need to provide the VA with what’s known as new and material evidence. This is evidence that provides the basis for a reasonable chance of approval and is significant enough that it would be unfair for the VA not to consider it. What type of evidence qualifies depends on the circumstances of your case, but it needs to address the specific reasons why your benefits were denied.
There is no statute of limitations or deadline for reopening a claim. No matter how much time has passed, you’re still eligible if you meet the basic criteria.
How Reopening a Claim Affects Your Benefits
Unfortunately, reopening a claim doesn’t preserve your original filing date. If you are successful, your benefits will be paid based on the date you filed your request to have the claim reopened.
If you reopen your claim and are denied benefits again, you can move through the full appeals process a second time. This gives you additional opportunities to prove your case, which is helpful if you did not obtain an attorney for your original appeal.
Let Us Help You Reopen Your Claim
The office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, has been dedicated to helping Veterans access the disability benefits they need to provide for themselves and their families for more than 20 years. Call our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss how an experienced Veterans benefits attorney can assist with your VA disability appeal.