the appeals process

The Claim. The effective date to which the VA will pay compensation is the date your claim is received. However, if you filed an Intent to File prior to filing your claim, the Intent to File date takes precedence.

VBA Decision. This is the VA Decision Letter that you receive 4 1/2 to 6 months following submittal of your claim. (See the Claims Process diagram)

Supplemental Claim. This type of appeal requires submittal of new and relevant evidence for the claim beyond what was originally filed with the claim. This may include private medical records or VA medical records, "Buddy Letters," and other types of previously unsubmitted records, reports, or evidence.

Higher Level Review (HLR). This type of appeal must be filed within one year of the relevant Decision Letter. This review will only include evidence and information from the initial claim--no new evidence may be submitted.

Appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals. This type of appeal is the most involved and usually the last resort prior to elevating an appeal to the court system. A DAV NSO will represent you during this hearing.

Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. This is a federal court. You will be required to hire your own lawyer for this proceeding--a DAV NSO does NOT represent you in federal court.