Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content
Help (new window)
Navigate Up
Legal Services of New Jersey

Apply Online for Legal Help

Military and Veterans
New Requirements For Filing VA Disability Appeals and Evidence

Starting March 24, 2015, some important rules will change for Veterans on filing and submitting disability claims, evidence, Notices of Disagreements and Appeals.

NOTICES OF DISAGREEMENT

People appealing initial VA Service Connected or Non-Service Connected disability rating decisions have to file a Notice of Disagreement.

Before March 24, 2015:

  • People making claims or representatives only needed to file something in writing showing they disagreed or were not satisfied with the agency decision and that they wanted to contest the result.   
  • No special wording was required but the writing had to reasonably show a disagreement and a desire to appeal.
  • For decisions that were made on multiple issues at one time, the person with the claim was required to identify the specific issues that he or she disagreed with.

Starting March 24, 2015:

If the agency making the original decision provides the person the Notice of Disagreement Form (Form 21-0958) (from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs):

  • If you were provided the form you have to use it (click here for the Notice of Disagreement Form).
  • Properly complete the form and submit it on time.
  • No other format, communication or alternative VA form will be accepted as a Notice of Disagreement.
  • Filing any other document will not protect your right to appeal.
  • Form Delivery:
    • Forms are sent out in paper form or electronically.
      • The form is provided by email, hyperlink if:
        • the person has an online benefits account with VA or
        • if the person has designated an email address for the purpose of receiving communications from VA.
      • The VA may provide the form in paper format. 
    • Once there is any indication on the person’s file or electronic account that the form was sent, the Department of Veteran Affairs will assume that the form has been provided. 
    • Look out for the form in postal mail and email accounts.
  • Sometimes the VA decides more than one issue in the decision. For example, if you claim more than one medical condition, the agency may decide whether each one is service connected. When that happens:
    • You must identify which decisions that you disagree with.
    • You must clearly state which ones you want to appeal.
    • The issues that are not clearly identified in the form will not be considered to be appealed.

When the agency that made the original decision does not provide a form:

  • The old Notice of Disagreement provisions apply:
    • People making claims or representatives only need to file something in writing showing they disagreed or were not satisfied with the agency decision and that they wanted to contest the result
    • No special wording is required but the writing had to reasonably show a disagreement and a desire to appeal.
    • For decisions that were made on multiple issues at one time, the person with the claim needs to identify the specific issues that he or she disagreed with.

SUBSTANTIVE APPEALS

Your first step if you receive a Rating Decision that you don’t agree with is to file a Notice of Disagreement. If the VA still doesn’t grant the benefit, you will then receive a document called a “Statement of the Case.” VA rules require you to file a “substantive appeal,” after receiving the “Statement of the Case” document.

  • How to file the substantive appeal
    • Submit a properly completed VA Form 9 (from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs), entitled “Appeal to Board of Veterans’ Appeals” in order to appeal a determination. 
  • You need to be specific
    • Say why you believe the decision(s) were mistaken. Do that for each finding you disagree with.
    • The Statement of the Case lists the VA’s findings and decisions.  Your arguments should be related to those findings and decisions.
    • In cases where several issues were addressed in the Statement of the Case, your Form 9 should either:
      • Indicate that you are contesting all of those issues or
      • Specifically identify the issues being appealed.

WHERE TO FILE

The VA currently has conflicting rules on where to send some documents. Existing regulations say that Notices of Disagreement and Substantive Appeals (VA Form 9) must be filed with the same Department of Veterans Affairs office where the decision came from.  If you received notice that the records have been transferred to another Department of Veteran’s Affairs office you would send the documents to that office.

However, the VA recently issued the following instructions which conflict with that regulation:

People from New Jersey must mail claims to:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 5235
Newnan, GA 30271
Fax No. 844-531-7818

To submit evidence or anything other than a claim, such as a change of address, New Jersey senders must mail necessary paperwork to:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Evidence Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Newnan, GA 30271
Fax No. 844-531-7818

People from some western states must send documents to a different address. See Mailing Addresses for Disability Compensation Claims (from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs).

Tips:

Because the rules conflict it is wise to send Notices of Disagreement and Substantive Appeals to both the VA office issuing the decision and the intake centers listed above. 

When sending documents to the Claims or Evidence Intake Centers in Georgia, it is preferable to use the fax. When doing so, save the original documents that you faxed as well as the fax confirmation sheet proving it was delivered.

If you are going to mail documents to the VA, whether the VA office issuing the decision or the Georgia intake centers, save full copies of what you send.  It’s preferable to send the documents certified mail, return receipt requested so you can prove you timely filed the documents. 

THE FORMS

3/25/2015