If you have received a ratings-decision letter from the VA that you disagree with, you may be wondering, “How do I appeal?”
The VA lists this information on their site, under the heading, Your rights to appeal our decision:
After careful and compassionate consideration, a decision has been reached on your claim. If we were not able to grant some or all of the VA benefits you asked for, this form will explain what you can do if you disagree with our decision. If you do not agree with our decision, you may: Start an appeal by submitting a Notice of Disagreement. Give us evidence we do not already have that may lead us to change our decision. This form will tell you how to appeal and how to send us more evidence. You can do either one or both of these things.
This article explains what the VA claims intake center (otherwise known as the VA Evidence Intake Center) is and how it works.
The VA Evidence Intake Center is a place in Janesville, Wisconsin, which handles millions of pieces of mail every day. They are responsible for scanning and uploading your appeal evidence into their system and sending it to the VA regional office where your claims file (C-file) is stored. They accept evidence for any appeal, which is now considered a decision review request.
Forms to fill out
To file a decision review request supplemental claim with new and additional evidence to be considered, you can choose a few different forms, one of which is a 101-86 form. Whichever form you decide to use, the intention is that you disagree with a decision letter that you received.
Make sure that you fill out the paperwork correctly with all your information. The Evidence Intake Center employees are not going to have time to read your document(s); they get millions of pieces of mail. They’re going to scan it, decide what it is, and label it in the system. It may be treatment notes from your doctor, a statement from you, etc., but whatever it is, make sure that you label it correctly. If it’s a private nexus statement from your doctor, label it as such. If it’s a private medical opinion, label it as such. If it’s a statement, it should be on a statement supporting a claim.And of course, when they scan that in, they will automatically label it as such, but make sure you use the right label. Otherwise, the evidence for your appeal will sometimes not even be seen by the person considering your appeal because it’s not in the right bucket. This could set the whole process back, which is not what you want.
There are 3 different methods you can use to submit forms to the Evidence Intake Center.
The best way to submit an appeal is to send it via fax.
Fax your appeal evidence along with your appeal forms to the Evidence Intake Center. You will get a fax confirmation that you can keep with your records.
If you’re close to your regional office, you can bring your envelope in person and drop it off.
Alternatively, you can mail it in. If you send the forms via mail, make sure you send your envelope with a certified mail return receipt requested. This costs two dollars and means that you get a confirmation number notifying you when the VA Evidence Intake Center has received your documentation and your evidence.
Consult a VA Disability Attorney
Since you have now officially entered into an appeal, it is recommended that you have an accredited VA disability attorney working on your case to provide a legal brief in support of your appeal. This is not a free service, but VA statistics show that you have a 40% higher win rate for an appeal if you have an attorney. Consider the bureaucracy involved–appeals can take years. When you look at it from that perspective, the extra money you’re spending can mean considerable time saved and more money awarded.
At Vet Comp & Pen, helping Veterans assemble effective evidence for appeals claims is a big part of what we do. Check out the FAQs page on our site for more information on this topic, and feel free to call us today to see how we can help you collect medical evidence for a claim.