How to Appeal VA Claim Decisions
Many U.S. veterans with mesothelioma file claims to get VA disability benefits after a diagnosis. Unfortunately, the VA may sometimes deny a veteran these benefits if it feels the VA claim provided insufficient information.
However, veterans with mesothelioma can file a VA disability appeal (also known as a decision review) to overturn the denial and receive the benefits they need.
There are three options to file a VA disability claim appeal:
- Supplemental review: The veteran submits their claim again with new evidence.
- Higher-level review: A higher-level reviewer sees if an error in judgment occurred.
- Board appeals: A veterans law judge reviews the case.
Mesothelioma Hope has a team of VA-accredited claims agents and fellow veterans who can help you appeal and get the VA benefits you need. Get the information you need to start the process in our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.
How a VA Disability Appeal Helps Veterans With Mesothelioma
If you’re suffering from mesothelioma decades after serving in the military but were denied benefits, a VA disability appeal may allow you to right this wrong.
Most veterans with mesothelioma receive a 100% disability rating by the VA, meaning they can access the highest amounts of disability compensation. As of 2024, VA disability pays out nearly $4,000 a month to married U.S. veterans fighting mesothelioma.
U.S. veterans account for 33% of all mesothelioma patients, since the military used significant amounts of asbestos before the health risks were known.
Unfortunately, if a veteran can’t prove their mesothelioma diagnosis stems from military asbestos exposure, they could be denied this life-changing compensation.
Don’t lose your chance to get benefits: Contact our team to get help appealing VA disability claims.
Types of VA Disability Appeals
Veterans with mesothelioma can file a VA disability compensation appeal in three main ways. Learn about each below to see which type of appeal best suits your case.
Veterans can file a supplemental claim to add new evidence to their existing VA benefits claim. The VA must not have had access to this evidence at the time of the original decision.
For veterans with mesothelioma, this evidence may include:
- Information about the asbestos-based products they were exposed to (and who made them)
- Military documents linking their service to asbestos exposure
- Medical records related to their diagnosis
Call (866) 608-8933 now to get help filing a claim. Our team can help determine when, where, and how a veteran was exposed to asbestos while they served, and collect the relevant documents needed for a supplemental VA disability appeal.
A higher-level review allows veterans to request a new review of the existing claim by a senior VA claims adjudicator.
To begin, veterans can request an informal VA claims review with the adjudicator. The review takes place via a phone call. The veteran (or a representative helping them with the claim) explains why they believe the VA’s original decision was wrong.
The adjudicator will then take a fresh look at the VA claim and either uphold the denial or make a new decision.
Veterans cannot add new evidence to their VA benefits claim with this type of appeal. However, they can request a higher-level review after filing a supplemental claim. Only one higher-level review can be filed per claim.
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
This option allows veterans to appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). The BVA has the ability to override earlier decisions.
Veterans can get their claim reviewed by the BVA in one of three ways:
- Direct review: This option allows a veterans law judge to review the VA claim. It’s the fastest BVA review option but also the most limited as veterans can’t add new evidence to their VA claims appeal or get a hearing.
- Evidence submission docket: Veterans who were denied VA benefits can submit new and relevant evidence. A judge then reviews the new evidence and the original claim. Veterans must turn in the new evidence within 90 days of submitting the Notice of Disagreement (the document that starts all BVA reviews).
- Hearing: With this option, veterans present new evidence for their claim and meet with a judge in person or online to discuss the case. However, It can take more than 2 years to get a hearing because of the large number of veterans who choose this option.
Veterans who want to appeal the board’s VA claim decision can go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims or file another supplemental claim.
You can get help appealing VA disability decisions and access the benefits you need to fight mesothelioma. Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide to learn more.
Veterans who filed VA disability appeals before February 19, 2019, must follow a legacy system to get a decision.
Steps in the legacy VA disability appeals process include:
- Getting a notice from the VA if the appeal wasn’t granted
- Filling out VA Form 9 (which explains why you think the VA should provide benefits)
- Submitting new evidence as needed
- Having the VA review all new evidence and passing the claim to the BVA
- Asking for an optional hearing with a BVA judge to discuss the case
- Getting a decision from the judge
Veterans who received VA decisions after February 19, 2019, must follow the current claims appeal system using the three BVA options listed above.
How Long Do You Have to File a VA Disability Appeal?
Generally speaking, you’ll need to appeal within 1 year from the date that the VA denied the claim.
However, VA disability appeal deadlines vary as follows:
- BVA reviews or higher-level reviews typically fall under the 1-year deadline.
- Depending on the VA benefits in question, you may have less than 1 year to file.
- Supplemental claims have no deadline, but the VA encourages filing within 1 year for best results.
Mesothelioma can spread quickly, and most patients only live 12-21 months following a diagnosis. For these reasons, you should file a VA disability appeal as soon as possible so you can get the benefits you deserve.
Who Can File a VA Disability Claim Appeal?
Any U.S. veteran can file an appeal if they were denied disability services, VA health care, retirement pay or pensions, or other benefits.
Our VA-accredited agents and fellow veterans can help you file VA claim appeals and see if you’re eligible for private benefits as well. Connect with us now and we’ll walk you through the VA appeals process.
How Long Will the Appeals Process Take?
The length of the VA appeals process depends on how your claim is reviewed, whether you’re seeing a judge in-person, and other factors.
Here’s how long each VA disability appeal option takes as of 2024:
- Supplemental reviews take around 4 months
- Higher-level reviews also take about 4 months
- Board reviews require the most time, taking 1-2 years depending on how the claim is processed
VA Disability Appeals and Legal Help
You can file a mesothelioma VA disability appeal by yourself, but the process can be time-consuming, confusing, and stressful.
Fortunately, Mesothelioma Hope has veterans attorneys on staff who can help former service members with filing an appeal for VA disability.
Our mesothelioma veterans attorneys:
- Are veterans themselves or come from military families, which gives them a unique understanding of your needs.
- Have the resources to determine when, where, and how you were exposed to asbestos while you served. They can go back decades and secure the proper documentation for an appeal.
- Have years of experience filing VA claims and appeals for other veterans, so they know how to submit strong cases without hassle.
If you want to file a VA disability appeal, a VA-certified mesothelioma lawyer can be a big help. Call (866) 608-8933 today to request a free consultation.
File an Appeal for VA Disability Now
Mesothelioma Hope proudly assists U.S. veterans with filing VA disability appeals so they get the treatment needed to fight this cancer.
For over two decades, our VA-accredited lawyers, veterans, and Patient Advocates have helped mesothelioma patients get the care and compensation they deserve.
Learn how we can help you access top VA benefits and other resources: Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide right now.
VA Disability Appeal FAQs
How successful are VA disability appeals?
The chances of winning a VA benefits denial appeal depends on your evidence.
If you have mesothelioma, you’ll want to secure records that show you were exposed to asbestos while serving and you developed this cancer as a result.
Talk to a VA-accredited lawyer to learn more about the chances of winning a VA claim decision.
Is it worth appealing a VA disability claim?
Veterans with mesothelioma may find it worthwhile to appeal a VA disability claim. Veterans can receive nearly $4,000 a month through mesothelioma VA disability claims.
Without appealing, veterans with mesothelioma won’t get this compensation if their claim was denied by the VA.
What is the best way to appeal a VA decision?
The best way to file a VA disability appeal depends on the specific nature of your case. Filing a supplemental claim, requesting a higher-level review, or getting a Board of Veterans’ Appeals review are all options you can use to appeal a VA denial.
Mesothelioma Hope can determine which option will work best for you: Call us at (866) 608-8933 now.
How long are VA appeals taking in 2024?
As of 2024, a VA benefits appeal takes anywhere from 4 months to 2 years to resolve. However, the wait time depends on several factors, such as which type of VA appeal option you choose.
Can you file a VA appeal online?
Yes, you can file a VA disability appeal online at va.gov. Contact our team to get free help filing a VA appeal and accessing other resources for veterans with mesothelioma.
Can you appeal a VA decision after a year?
Yes, you can appeal a VA claim after a year by filing a supplemental claim. The VA doesn’t have a deadline to file a supplemental claim but suggests filing within one year if possible.
Does it cost anything to file a VA disability appeal?
No. It does not cost anything to file a VA disability claim appeal. Mesothelioma Hope’s VA-accredited lawyers can help you file an appeal at no cost to you — call (866) 608-8933 right now to get started.
Can you lose existing benefits if you appeal a VA decision?
No, you won’t lose your existing benefits by filing a VA disability appeal. Many veterans and their families appeal VA decisions when they believe they qualify for additional benefits (such as more compensation).
You’ll keep any existing benefits you currently have even if the VA denies your appeal. If the VA agrees with your appeal, you may receive more benefits.