chat icon Chat with Us

Veteran and Survivor Appeals

Last Modified: 09/28/2020

On February 19th, 2019, the VA appeals process changed. Now titled the “Decision Review Process,” anyone appealing a decision made on or after that date has 3 options to choose from: A Supplemental Claim, a Higher-Level Review, or a Board Review. Each of these options have their own forms and guidelines to follow.

Read below for more information. If you need help appealing a VA decision regarding your Veterans or Survivors Benefits, contact CLSMF for legal advice.

WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS?

You may file a Supplemental Claim only if you have new and relevant evidence to submit to the VA. New evidence is any evidence the VA did not have when they made their initial decision, and relevant evidence is any evidence that proves or disproves something in your claim. 

You can gather this evidence yourself, or ask the VA to get certain things on your behalf (such as medical records from a VA medical center, other federal facility, or your private health care provider).

A Supplemental Claim may be filed at any time, but the VA recommends you file within 1 year of your initial claim.

It generally takes the VA 4-5 months to make a decision on Supplemental Claims.

You can ask for a Higher-Level Review of an initial VA decision or a Supplemental Claim decision.

You may not submit new evidence, and you may not request a review of a claim that has already undergone Higher-Level Review or Board Appeal.

You must request a Higher-Level Review within 1 year of the date on the decision letter that you want reviewed.

It generally takes the VA 4-5 months to make a decision on Higher-Level Reviews.

You are able to ask for a Board Appeal to review an initial decision, a Supplemental Claim decision, or a Higher-Level Review decision. You may not request more than one Board Appeal for the same claim.

You must request a Board Appeal within 1 year of the date on the decision letter that you want reviewed.

When you file a Board Appeal, you must choose 1 of 3 options:

  1. Request a Direct Review — Your case will be reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge. You may not submit new evidence or have a hearing, and the process generally takes about 1 year to complete.
  2. Submit more evidence — New evidence will be reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge. You must submit this new evidence within 90 days of when the VA receives your request for Board Appeal. This process takes more than 1 year to complete.
  3. Request a hearing — You can request a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge to take place virtually from home, by video-conference from a VA location, or in person. You may submit new evidence, but this must be done at the hearing or within 90 days after the hearing. This process will take more than 1 year to complete.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

Fill out and follow the instructions on the Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim Form (Va Form 20-0995), which you can find here: https://www.va.gov/decision-reviews/supplemental-claim/

Gather your new and relevant evidence to include with the form. The form also provides instructions on how to ask the VA to gather evidence from VA locations for you. If you need the VA to gather evidence from a private provider, fill out form VA Form 21-4142 and include it with your Decision Review Request. You can find VA Form 21-4142 here: https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-4142-ARE.pdf

Submit your application by mail to a regional office that applies to the benefit type you listed on your form or in person at any VA regional office near you. Click HERE to find a regional VA office near you, or call 800-827-1000.

Once you’ve submitted your claim, the VA may send a letter asking for more information or schedule exams for you. Comply with any exams and respond to any letters promptly. If this does not occur, you must wait for the VA to make their decision (generally 3-5 months).

If you are unsatisfied with the Supplemental Claim decision you may request a Higher-Level Review or Board Appeal.

Fill out and follow the instructions on the Decision Review Request: Higher-Level Review Form (Va Form 20-0996), which you can find here: https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-20-0996-ARE.pdf

You also have the option of requesting an informal conference call with your reviewer to explain why you are contesting the decision. You may schedule this by selecting a time and listing a phone number in Part II of the form. A reviewer will call you between 2 and 4 weeks after the VA processes your request.

Submit your application by mail to a regional office that applies to the benefit type you listed on your form or in person at any VA regional office near you. Click HERE to find a regional VA office near you, or call 800-827-1000. You may also fax your form and supporting documents to 844-531-7818.

Once you’ve submitted your request, the VA may send a letter asking for more information or schedule exams for you. Comply with any exams and respond to any letters promptly. If this does not occur, you must wait for the VA to make their decision (generally 3-5 months).

If you are unsatisfied with the Higher-Level Review decision you may request a Board Appeal.

Fill out and follow the instructions on the Decision Review Request: Board Appeal Form (Va Form 10182), which you can find here: https://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA10182.pdf

Remember, when requesting a Board Appeal you must choose only 1 of the 3 appeal options listed on the form.

If you choose to submit new evidence, also fill out and include VA Form 10182 (PDF), which you can find here: https://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA10182.pdf

You may submit your form in person at a regional VA office (click HERE to find a regional VA office near you), you may fax it to 844-678-8979, or you may mail it to:
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
PO Box 27063
Washington, D.C. 20038

Once you’ve submitted your request, the VA may send a letter asking for more information or schedule exams for you. Comply with any exams and respond to any letters promptly. If this does not occur, you must wait for the VA to make their decision (generally a year or more, depending on the type of request).

If you are unsatisfied with the Board Appeal decision and you have new evidence to support your claim, you may file a Supplemental Claim. If you do not have new evidence, you must appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims to take any further action.

WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE TAKING ACTION?

The Department of Veterans Affairs Decision Reviews & Appeals website: https://www.va.gov/decision-reviews/

Veterans Forms Project PDF, including appeals forms: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ibfh4JiNYUfHypOGdcPp_HBqIplArnXC/view

Next Steps

Chat Icon

Chat with us.

Still have questions? We are available to chat online right now.

Newsletter Icon

Check your eligibility.

Find out if you are eligible for free legal assistance.

Chat Icon

Give Us A Call

If you still need assistance, give us a call at (800) 405-1417

Was this information useful?

Please tell us why this information wasn't useful.



Thank you for your feedback!