What Evidence Can I Submit With My VA Appeal?
Posted by Berry Law on February 7, 2022 in Appeals
When appealing a VA decision, you must have the necessary evidence. The process of submitting a VA appeal can be long and tedious. Veterans may not even know where to begin when making an appeal.
This article will cover everything you will need to make an appeal through the VA. We will also describe how our team at Berry Law can help get all the documents and reports you need for a VA appeal. The best thing to do when making an appeal is to work with a team of trusted professionals so you can be successful.
Where Do I Begin With Making a VA Appeal?
You may be wondering where to begin to appeal a VA decision. You may not know why the VA denied your appeal in the first place. Before you begin the process, it is essential to know why the VA made the denial in the first place. Knowing the root problem will allow you to gather the necessary evidence to appeal it.
If you do not know where to start figuring out the initial problem, an attorney familiar with VA decisions will be able to help you. From there, they will help gather the necessary information to make a compelling appeal. They also have resources and contacts you can reach out to if you need a professional medical opinion.
What You Can Appeal
As a Veteran, it can be disheartening to receive a denial for a claim or an increase in your VA rating. Luckily, you can appeal any VA denial you receive.
When you decide to make an appeal, there are three ways that you can go about it. You can:
- File a supplemental claim that has new evidence for the VA to consider.
- Request a higher-level review by a more experienced claim reviewer in the VA to look at the same evidence you initially gave.
- Appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals.
After you decide on the best route to appeal a denial, you will have to make sure everything else is ready to make a compelling case. The VA expects evidence regarding the denial and a well-constructed argument.
These are the instances where it helps to have attorneys with experience in VA decisions. We know the specific language that the VA looks for and will utilize it to make your case sound more legitimate.
Berry Law is also accredited by the VA. This is to your advantage as a Veteran because it means we have years of experience backing up our clients to get the results they need. We have helped Veterans obtain millions of dollars in benefits due to our process of appealing and crafting claims.
What Evidence Should I Submit?
In regard to the evidence you will need to make an appeal to the VA, it is of utmost importance that it pertains particularly to the reason why the VA denied your claim in the first place. If the evidence that you give in your appeal does not pertain to this, then it is likely that the VA will not consider your appeal.
When the VA denies your initial claim, they will state why they denied it. When they do, you have to consider all the evidence you can gather to prove that the reason they denied your claim or increase was wrong.
For example, if you suffered a back injury during your service and gave evidence for an event that caused a broken hand and not a broken back, that evidence will not help further your argument.
This is why it is crucial to have criteria for the evidence you use. It is not always about the quantity of the evidence you give. It is about the quality and whether it has to do with the denial.
When you gather the evidence, some of the most powerful will be from medical or service reports from your time in the service. These will help show how you have a service-connected injury, which is one of the main factors determining whether you will receive benefits from the VA.
Contact your officers or those you know who will be able to get you those records so you can use them in your appeal.
At times, records are lost or destroyed, making you unable to use them as evidence for your appeal. Luckily, there are other ways by which you can still make a service connection. They are called buddy statements, and anyone close to you who knows about your current disability and how it was caused can help write up a buddy statement.
If someone who served with you in the military might have this information, contact them and ask them to write a buddy statement for you. The VA recognizes this as evidence and will use it to make a service connection.
A fellow service member can recall certain events that have caused your current disability. They should thoroughly detail everything so that nothing is missed, but it can go a long way when other evidence, such as service and medical records, is missing.
Buddy statements can also be written by family and friends who have assisted you in your disability and can thoroughly describe your current condition. This is powerful evidence since the condition has to be current for the Veteran to receive benefits. Suppose the VA deems through the initial evidence that the disability is not current. In that case, a buddy statement by a family member or a friend can go a long way in convincing the VA that the disability is still current and in need of support.
Finally, you can submit evidence from a medical professional to appeal a VA denial. You should get an opinion from a medical professional recognized by the VA who is a particular expert in the field of your disability.
For example, if you suffer from a heart condition caused by an event or injury in the military, it is best to see a cardiologist rather than an optometrist. A medical professional recognized by the VA will know the specific language that the VA is looking for when reviewing the evidence.
Sometimes, all it takes is a couple of missing keywords that cause the VA to deny a claim. Make sure that this does not happen by going to a well-sourced medical professional. If you are not sure where you should go, Berry Law can give you a list of resources and professionals we have worked with in the past.
From there, you can schedule an exam so that the doctor can test your current condition and give you an opinion on it. If you feel you did not receive thorough treatment, you can always go to a second doctor and see if anything changes.
Once you gather all of the information you can, bring it to one of our attorneys at Berry Law. We will help you review everything and ensure that the necessary elements are there for a convincing appeal.
To make a convincing appeal to the VA, you have to know everything you need ahead of time. The proper evidence will be the determining factor in whether your appeal is successful. Though it can be a seemingly large task, it is best to break it down into manageable goals and then go from there.
It is also best to work with a team of people who can help with gathering evidence and compiling it to make a compelling argument. If you have no experience doing this, having professional attorneys assist you will relieve a lot of stress. When you decide to appeal to the VA, make sure to contact Berry Law to help you get the results you need.
For more information on VA appeals and decisions, visit our website or contact us.
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