Supplemental Claims Paperwork in FolderThe Department of Veterans Affairs is entrusted with a critical task: ensuring that America’s bravest men and women receive the benefits they deserve and the medical care they need. However, the agency has a longstanding reputation for Byzantine bureaucracy. Even when Veterans have compelling claims, officials may deny benefits for seemingly frivolous reasons, demanding that applicants provide more information before receiving care.

After a denial or adverse decision, Veterans may need to file VA Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim, to obtain better terms or more comprehensive treatment.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and Supplemental Claims 

The Department of Veterans Affairs defines a supplemental claim as a requested review of an existing determination. Under most circumstances, a supplemental claim is filed to provide information that could lead to a reconsideration of benefits.

When Veterans Affairs receives VA Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim, they must re-evaluate and re-adjudicate the application with consideration to new evidence. The supplemental review process broadly allows Veterans to challenge an unfavorable decision without petitioning the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

You may need to file VA Form 20-0995 if:

  • You omitted important information that could have led to a more favorable benefits determination.
  • You have since been diagnosed with a medical condition that you could not substantiate in your initial claim.
  • You have obtained new and relevant evidence that bolsters an existing claim.

While Veterans are broadly responsible for filing their own claims and attending medical appointments, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a legal obligation to assist applicants with supplemental claims. During a supplemental claims review, the agency must typically help Veterans collect the material evidence needed to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Filling Out Form 20-0995 - Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim

Form 20-0995 is comprised of several sections:

Part I: Claimant’s Identifying Information

The Department of Veterans Affairs does not require that Veterans fill in every item in Part I: Claimant’s Identifying Information.

However, Veterans should always include—at a minimum—specific identifying information, including their:

  • Full name
  • Social Security number
  • VA file number

While the department will not consider a request incomplete, provided that the above information is included in the application, indicating your home address and phone number could help the agency adjudicate your claim.

When filling out Part I, please note that you may only select one benefit type in Item 12. If you would like to obtain more than one benefit type, you must file additional Forms 20-0995 for each desired benefit.

Part II: Information to Identify the Issues for the Supplemental Claim

The second part of Form 20-0995 provides Veterans with an opportunity to list each of the issues they would like reviewed by the department. You should refer to your decision notice for a list of each adjudicated issue. After identifying and noting each issue in Item 13A, include the date of the adjudication in Item 13B.

If you need additional pages to complete Part II, you may affix them to your application.

Part III: New and Relevant Evidence

Every supplemental claim application must include new and relevant evidence. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides the following definitions:

  • New evidence. New evidence is evidence that has not already been submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs. This could include a recent diagnosis or a physician’s recommendation that an applicant receives a certain treatment.
  • Relevant evidence. Relevant evidence is evidence that either proves or disproves the issue being adjudicated. In general, the evidence should be related to the initial claim and the applicant’s requested benefits.

Personal records, or records you have obtained and are currently in your possession, can be attached to the application. If you have referred to records that are maintained by the VA or another federal agency, you must use Item 15A to list the name and location of the facility holding the records as well as the approximate date on which the record was established.

If you need evidence that is not in your possession—for instance, evidence that is held by a medical provider for a third-party contractor—the Department of Veterans Affairs, or your VA attorney, can help you obtain the documentation needed to complete your supplemental claims.

Part IV: 5103 Notice of Acknowledgement

The Notice of Acknowledgement applies to the following types of claims:

  • Compensation claims
  • Pension claims
  • DIC claims
  • Accrued benefit claims

The notice of acknowledgment is a certification that the applicant has already reviewed the evidence relating to their claim.

This section does not need to be completed if you received your decision within the past year.

Part V: Certification and Signature

Every Form 20-0995, Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claims, must be signed in ink by the Veteran or their VA authorized representative.

If you have delegated the power of attorney to a third person, they may sign the form on your behalf only if you have already submitted VA Form 21-22 or VA Form 21-22a to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Part V: Alternate Signer Certification and Signature

The Alternative Signer Certification and Signature should be signed only if the person completing and certifying the application is:

  • A court-appointed representative
  • An attorney-in-fact or agent authorized by the Veteran
  • The Veteran’s authorized guardian or caretaker

An authorized representative may sign the form if any of the following criteria exists:

  • A manager or principal officer of an institution providing for the Veterans’ needs and the claimant is a family member under the age of 18
  • The Veteran is mentally incapacitated and cannot complete the form
  • The Veteran is physically incapable of singing the form