VA Claims Practice Areas

VA Appeals

If a Regional Office denies a claim, veterans and their family members have the right to appeal the decision to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. At this point claimants can retain a paid attorney to represent them. Up until now attorneys could not be paid.

The Board decides almost 50,000 cases per year. Board attorneys are assigned to review appeals within claims files, and write decisions for Veterans Law Judges. All are VA employees, and all have to produce a large number of cases per year to keep their jobs.

If your claim was denied by a Regional Office, contact me to discuss your options. One significant benefit in the current system is that claimants can add evidence prior to obtaining a Board decision. Since opening my practice I have used this flexibility to gather evidence to support claims, including obtaining medical opinions.

Court Appeals

If you receive a decision from the Board that is not a full grant, you can appeal outside VA to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The Court is not part of VA. This is the first chance you have to argue your case before non-VA employees.

Unlike your experience before VA, the Court moves cases quickly. Deadlines are imposed on both claimants and VA, and those deadlines are enforced. According to the Court’s recent annual report, the median time from filing an appeal to disposition of the case by the Court, as a whole, is 321 days, ie. under one year. This compares very favorably with the many years it can take VA to make a decision on a claim.

Getting Started With Your VA Claim or VA Appeal

The law recently changed on attorney representation before VA itself. Until June 2007, veterans generally could not legally pay attorneys for representation before VA. But in June 2007, the law changed, and you can now legally retain an attorney for VA representation.

If your claim was denied by VA, even by a Regional Office, you can now legally retain me to represent you for a fee — 20 percent of a retroactive award. You may or may not be aware that VA is under pressure to produce decisions to reduce a backlog of claims. What that means is that not all claims will be developed before VA makes a decision—undoubtedly a decision denying a claim. If you believe that your claim was unfairly denied, contact me to talk about your options.

Your Obligations

All clients have some very straightforward obligations to me. These include being truthful with me, and keeping me up to date on your address and telephone number. Most important, you the client, must cooperate with me.