If the Veterans Administration (VA) denied your claim for VA benefits or awarded you too low an amount, you might be able to appeal that adverse decision. Sometimes, the VA did not follow its own procedures or made a mistake that led to the unfair result.
A Michigan VA Disability Attorney can take a look at your situation and let you know if you have a strong appeal. Here are five common errors in VA decisions that veterans can appeal:
The VA Did Not Explain the Facts or Law on Which They Based the Adverse Decision
If you wish to appeal an adverse decision from the VA, you must decide which appeal avenue is best for you under the law, and file the appeal on the proper forms. The VA must discuss the facts and identify the law on which they based their adverse decision. If you received a letter that merely stated that the VA denied your application for benefits, you might have grounds for appeal.
The VA Did Not Offer a Medical Evaluation or Opinion About a Claim for a Service-Related Disability
If there is not sufficient medical evidence in your file for the VA to form an opinion as to whether the disability is service-related, the VA might have an obligation to provide a medical examination for you. The VA’s duty to provide a medical examination or opinion about whether your disability is connected to your military service exists when all three of these factors are present:
- You can show that you have a current disability.
- You can prove that you had an in-service injury or event.
- There is evidence that the event that happened during your military service might have caused your current disability.
If you can meet all three of the above criteria, and there is not sufficient medical evidence in your file to make a determination about service connection to your current disability, the VA is under an obligation to provide a medical evaluation and opinion for you.
The VA Health Care Provider or Explanation of the Medical Opinion Was Not Sufficient
The VA cannot use just anyone to perform the medical examination and form an opinion as to whether your current disability has a service connection. The doctor must have a sound knowledge base about your type of disability and explain in detail the reasons for his or her opinion about service connection.
The VA Did Not Get Your Medical Records
The VA does not require veterans to chase down all of the medical records that are relevant to their claim for disability benefits. If you gave the VA sufficient information about where you got treated and when, the VA has a duty to obtain medical records that are relevant to your claim. If the VA did not bother to gather the necessary medical records so that they could fully and fairly evaluate your condition, you could appeal a denial of benefits.
The VA Denied Your Claim for Inadequate Evidence Without Proper Notice of Required Proof
If you filed your application for VA benefits in the last 20 years, the VA has certain duties they did not have before that time. One of these requirements is that the VA has to notify you what information you must submit as proof that your medical condition is service-related. The VA will gather some items, like medical records, on your behalf.
If the VA did not tell you which items you have to submit that they will not obtain for you, and the lack of that evidence adversely affected your benefits claim, you may have a strong case for an appeal. The missing evidence must be relevant to your claim. Also, you must show that the missing evidence exists and would have helped your claim.
You will want to talk with a Michigan VA disability Attorney about whether you have any of the listed arguments, or others, to appeal your claim for VA disability benefits. Get in touch with our office today for a free consultation.