Did the VA deny your VA disability claim? Are you wondering what step comes after a denial? The VA makes the process of receiving VA disability complicated. However, denial is a normal part of a VA claim. As a result, you must understand how to appeal your denial. In this blog post, we will discuss how to prepare for the Higher Level Review.
I Just Got A Denial Letter In The Mail! Now What?
Remember, denial is a normal step in the VA disability process. As a result, do not assume you lost this battle. Too many veterans simply give up after receiving a denial. At a minimum, the military spent $50,000 training you to fight and win.
Don’t bitch out. Get angry. Get focused.
Take a good look at your letter. Thankfully, the VA is required to spell out why they denied your claim. Claims require service-connection, nexus, and a current diagnosis (with symptoms). Your job is win your claim, and you need to see which path to follow.
Higher Level Review & Alternatives
The VA has three options for appealing your denial. Your first option is to file a supplemental claim. The second option is to file with the Board of Appeals. Finally, the third option is to file a Higher Lever Review (HLR). The HLR is what we will cover today.
What Is A Higher Level Review?
A Higher Level Review is when your claim is sent to a more senior reviewer. This reviewer will take another look at your claim, and all of the evidence that you already submitted.
A HLR is appropriate when you can see that the VA was wrong to deny your claim. For example, the VA denies because you don’t have a current diagnosis. You would file a HLR if you can see that your medical records contain a current diagnosis.
However, you do not submit additional evidence during a higher level review. As a result, the senior reviewer is going to use the current evidence to make a determination.
Higher Level Review: One Time Informal Conference
The VA allows for an optional chance to sit down with the senior reviewer during your higher level review process. In short, this in an informal meeting that allows you to point out why you feel the initial reviewer was incorrect. Typically, this can be done as a phone call.
Admittedly, the informal conference will extend the time it takes to reach a decision. However, this can be a good opportunity to make sure the senior reviewer understands where in your files the evidence can be located. Remember, the reviewers see hundreds of thousands of pages of evidence. As a result, it can be helpful to lead them to the answer.
When Should I NOT File A Higher Level Review?
A higher level review is not always the answer. However, it is significantly faster than filing a board appeal. A board appeal is averaging over a year, but a HLR can be done in half that time.
A HLR does not allow you to present new evidence. As a result, a supplemental claim is needed if you have to submit new evidence. Remember, you can always file a supplemental claim or board appeal if your HLR does not approve your claim.
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