When a decision is made in your claim, you will receive a Ratings Decision. If your claim has been granted, the decision will assign a rating for your condition. If the claim is denied, or if you disagree with the rating that is assigned then you must file an appeal within 1 year. The appeal is called a Notice of Disagreement and you will be provided with a form to file the appeal. You must use the form.
The decision on your appeal will be mailed to you. It is called a Statement of Case. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can file another appeal. The deadline to file the appeal is much shorter – only 60 days. You must file the appeal on the VA-9 form. You can choose to request a hearing before the Board of Veterans Appeals or you can ask that the BVA make a decision based on the evidence in your file and any written argument that you provide.
Once the BVA makes a decision in your case, you may file an appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. (“CAVC”).
You are not required to have an attorney at any time during your claims process. However, it is your right to hire and be represented at any stage of the process if you wish to have assistance in your claim.