If you received an unfavorable decision on your VA claim for compensation for a service-connected disability, you have the right to request a review and to appeal. The first step is to notify the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs of your disagreement. Either write a letter to the VA or use VA Form 21-0958, Notice of Disagreement. After March 24, 2015, you must use the form as the VA will no longer accept letters.
When you write to the VA, always include your name, Social Security number, VA file number, address, phone and email address. If you are a non-veteran claimant, such as a widowed spouse, include your address, telephone number and email address. Include a convenient time of day and the best number at which to reach you if you would like the VA to contact you. Finally, include the date of the VA's decision letter.
Explain every point on which you disagree. If you claimed more than one disability, address each condition separately. Typical issues include the VA's decision that a disability was not service-related or that it began later than you claimed. You may also question the VA’s decision about the extent of your disability in which case you should state what you believe is the correct percentage of disability. You may attach additional pages and documents.
After signing and dating the NOD, file it by mailing or hand delivering it to a VA regional office. The due date is one year and one day from the date on your decision letter, or on the next business day if the due date falls on a weekend or legal holiday. The VA will accept a mailed NOD after the due date as long as the envelope is postmarked before the due date. If the VA does not receive a NOD within one year, its decision becomes final.
Marcy Brinkley has been writing professionally since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Chicken Soup for the Soul," "Texas Health Law Reporter" and the "State Bar of Texas Health Law Section Report." Her degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; a Master of Business Administration; and a Doctor of Jurisprudence.