The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a critical lifeline for millions of American heroes. However, the agency has a notoriously opaque bureaucracy. Even if you file a seemingly open-and-closed claim for benefits, an official could reject your application on a technicality.

Fortunately, departmental decisions are not final. If you disagree with a benefits decision, VA Form 10182, Decision Review Request: Board Appeal (Notice of Disagreement), provides an opportunity to escalate your case to a formal appeals board.

Making Sense of VA Form 10182

The Department of Veterans Affairs reformed its decision appeals procedures in 2019. The new appeals process broadly emphasizes the agency’s renewed commitment to issuing timely and transparent decisions.

However, overcoming an adverse determination still poses its challenges. While Veterans have always had the option to appeal a benefits decision, appeals sometimes take years to resolve. Even today, the Department of Veterans Affairs still suffers from long processing times, but procedures are more streamlined than ever.

Veterans who disagree with a benefits decision typically have three options for appeal:

  • Supplemental claim, which is used when an initial application is not accepted because it lacks information about the Veteran’s disability or service-related connection.
  • Request for higher-level review, which forwards your case to a higher-level reviewer for re-adjudication.
  • Request for board appeal, which sends your claim to a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C.

For many Veterans, requests for board appeals are a last resort, submitted only when a supplemental claim is refused, or a request for higher-level review falls flat.

Completing VA Form 10182

The revised VA Form 10182 is fairly straightforward and comprised of the following four sections:

Part I – Personal Information

You should fill out every item in Part 1. While the Department of Veterans Affairs will sometimes accept petitions with incomplete personal information sections, you must—at the very least—include your full name, Veteran’s file number, and date of birth.

You should also indicate your preferred mailing address, even if your preferred mailing address is different from your residential address.

Part II – Board Review Option

When filling out Part II, you must select which type of review you seek. The options are as follows:

  • 10A. Direct Review by a Veterans Law Judge. If you believe your claim for benefits was denied due to a misunderstanding, or misinterpretation of the law, select “10A. Direct Review.” Direct Reviews typically yield the fastest decisions. However, many applicants report waits of up to 1 year.
  • 10B. Evidence Submission Reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge. If you have already filed VA Form 10182 for a related claim, you may select item “10B. Evidence Submission” to submit additional evidence supporting your claim for benefits. While submitting additional evidence could increase your chance of securing a favorable determination, the appeals board could take more than a year to return its decision.
  • 10C. Hearing with a Veterans Law Judge. The Department of Veterans Affairs understands that some disabilities are difficult to describe in writing. Option “10C. Hearing with a Veterans Law Judge” provides Veterans with an opportunity to meet a Veterans law judge in person. During your meeting, you can tell your side of the story and explain how your disability has affected your day-to-day life. Unfortunately, hearings can take a very long time to arrange.

Part III – Specific Issue(s) to Be Appealed to a Veterans Law Judge at the Board

You should detail the specific issues you are appealing in Items 11A-B. Describe the specific issue, provide a brief explanation of the area of disagreement, and record the date of the adverse determination in the appropriate column.

If you need additional space to list your specific issues, you may check Item 11C and continue your explanation on a separate page. Make sure to write your last name and file number on any supporting documents.

Part IV – Certification and Signature

Your VA Form 10182 is only valid if it is signed in ink. Before submitting VA Form 10182, ensure you have placed your signature in Item 12 and indicated the date in Item 13.