The Veteran’s Benefits Appeals Process

What is the Appeals Process?
An appeal of a local decision involves many steps, some optional and some necessary, and require strict time limits. In order, the steps are:

  • Notice of Disagreement (NOD)
  • Statement of the Case (SOC)
  • Formal Appeal (VA Form 9 or equivalent)
  • Hearings (Optional)
  • Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims (CAVC)
  • Usually, all issues on one VA decision will be included in the same appeal.

    Notice of Disagreement (NOD)
    A Notice of Disagreement is a written statement that you disagree with a decision that has been made.

    Certain things should be kept in mind when submitting a NOD:

  • Be specific about what you are disagree with
  • Make sure that a decision has been made
  • If you don’t receive paperwork describing the appeals process (a VA Form 4107), check your letter to see if it is a proposal
  • A NOD must be filed within one year of the date of the letter informing you of the decision
  • If this time has passed, you may file another claim, or request to reopen a claim, for the same condition as before.
  • Statement of the Case (SOC)
    A Statement of the Case tells you how the VA reached its decision. A SOC must be done when a Notice of Disagreement is filed or when new evidence
    is received.

    Formal Appeal (VA Form 9 or equivalent)
    A formal appeal must be received no later than one of these two dates:

  • one year from the date of the letter notifying you of the decision
  • 60 days after the date of the Statement of the Case
  • Hearings (Optional)
    Hearings are a chance for claimants to present their claim in person; they are totally optional. They are held at the regional office by a Hearing Officer (HO).

    If you have a hearing, the HO will review your file and statements before making a decision on your case. If the issue is not resolved in your favor, the appeal continues.

    Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA)
    The Board of Veterans Appeals looks at your claim for mistakes made by the local VA office.

    The BVA does have travel boards that come to local offices. This decision is the final VA one on the issue, and the appeal will have ended.

    However, a BVA decision can be reviewed by the Court of Veterans Appeals if an appeal to the court is filed within 120 days of the BVA decision.

    U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims (CAVC)
    CAVC decisions usually concern legal issues involved in the “letter of the law”, and usually require an attorney’s help. The deadline for filing an appeal to CAVC is 120 days after the BVA decision (using the date of the letter to you informing you of the decision).

    Overview of the VA Appeals Process
    Typical issues appealed are:

  • disability compensation
  • pension
  • education benefits
  • recovery of overpayments
  • reimbursement for medical services that were not authorized.
  • A claimant has one year from the date of the notification of a VA decision to file an appeal. The first step in the appeal process is for a claimant to file a written notice of disagreement with the VA regional office or medical center that made the decision. This is a written statement that a claimant disagrees with VA’s decision.

    Following receipt of the written notice, VA will furnish the claimant a “Statement of the Case” describing what facts, laws and regulations were used in deciding the case. To complete the request for appeal, the claimant must file a “Substantive Appeal” within 60 days of the mailing of the Statement of the Case, or within one year from the date VA mailed its decision, whichever period ends later.

    Public Benefits Cases Handled:

    • Food Stamps
    • Medicaid
    • Medicare
    • Social Security
    • Supplemental Security Income
    • TANF/FI
    • Unemployment Compensation
    • Veterans Benefits
    Other Legal Representation

    • Consumer & Bankruptcy
    • Education
    • Employment
    • Family
    • Federal Income Tax
    • Housing
    • Migrant Farm Workers
    • Probate

    Additional information may be found at:
    South Carolina’s guide to free legal resources

    This brochure was prepared by South Carolina Legal Services and is provided as a public service.
    Copyright retained by South Carolina Legal Services
    Printed January 2010


    South Carolina Legal Services is a statewide law firm that provides civil legal services to protect the rights and represent the interests of low-income South Carolinians.


    All low-income South Carolinians will have full and fair access to justice.

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