If you’ve received a Statement of the Case (SOC) that you believe contains factual or legal errors and would like to appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA), your next step is to file a Substantive Appeal. At this time, you can also decide whether you want an optional hearing with a Veterans Law Judge.
Important Deadlines to Consider
The deadline to file a Substantive Appeal is either one year from the date of the letter notifying you of the original decision on your VA disability claim or 60 days from the date of the letter accompanying your Statement of the Case, whichever provides you with more time. However, if you’ve submitted new evidence within the one year appeal period and the VA provided you with a Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC), you have 60 days from the date of the SSOC to file your Form 9 to request a Substantive Appeal.
It is always best to file your request for a Substantive Appeal as soon as possible. Despite efforts to reduce their backlog of cases, the wait for a VA disability decision can be lengthy. Doing what you can to keep your case moving is the smart choice.
If you miss the deadline, your VA disability claim will be considered closed unless you qualify for one of the rarely granted good cause extensions. In most cases, you’d need to file a new claim and begin the process a second time.
How to Request a Substantive Appeal
A request for a Substantive Appeal requires completing VA Form 9. The form officially transfers jurisdiction for your case to the BVA.
VA Form 9 asks for the following information:
- Your full name
- Your claim file number
- Your contact information
- A list of the issues you want to appeal
- A brief description of why you think the VA decided your case incorrectly
- Whether you want to request an optional board hearing
- If you want a hearing, whether you want a hearing in Washington, DC, in person at the local VA office, or via video conference
The VA recommends that your request for a Substantive Appeal be sent via certified mail.
Why You Need an Attorney’s Help
Although VA Form 9 is available online, it is recommended that you have your attorney complete the form on your behalf. Clearly stating the issues and why you think your case has been decided incorrectly is essential to protecting your right to benefits.
Your attorney won’t outline the entire argument for your case on the form, but it’s important to use broad language to preserve all potential issues for a later date. It is best that all of the points outlined relate to specific information listed in the SOC. If the BVA deems the Substantive Appeal request to be inadequate, your appeal could be dismissed.
Your attorney can also help you decide if it’s in your best interest to request a hearing. Even though it may sound like the chance to present your case to a Veterans Law Judge would be beneficial, sometimes a hearing is unnecessary. Eliminating steps in the appeals process that are unlikely to help your case can help you get a decision in a more timely fashion.
Request a Consultation Today
Having your VA disability benefits denied is understandably frustrating, but it’s important not to give up. You can increase your chances of a successful appeal by hiring an experienced Veterans benefits attorney who will fight for your rights through every step of the appeals process. At the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, we have been helping Veterans access the VA disability benefits they need to provide for themselves and their families for over 20 years. We have extensive experience with a variety of claims for VA disability benefits, including cases involving physical trauma, claims for PTSD or mental health disorders, and claims for Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU) benefits.
Fill out the contact form on this page or call our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation. You’ve served your country with honor, now let us serve you.