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What are my VA disability claim appeal options?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2024 | VETERANS AFFAIRS - Disabled Veterans

If you are a veteran dissatisfied with the outcome of your United States Department of Veterans Affairs disability benefits claim, understanding your appeal options is crucial. This blog post delves into the three available avenues under the new decision review process implemented. Not all VA claim decisions have all three appeal options open, but the VA can also assist in determining what appeal paths are open to you individually.

Higher-Level Review

Opting for a Higher-Level Review involves requesting a review by a more senior VA employee. This is suitable if you believe there was an error in applying the law or regulations or if the VA overlooked evidence. The HLR does not allow new evidence submission.

To initiate, fill out VA Form 20-0996 within one year of the decision or request it online. While an informal phone conference is an option, it may prolong the process. The higher-level reviewer issues a decision based on the existing evidence.

Supplemental Claim

A Supplemental Claim permits the submission of new and relevant evidence supporting your case. If you possess additional evidence not considered by the VA initially, such as medical records or statements, this option is viable.

Fill out VA Form 20-0995 within a year of the decision or submit it online. The VA can assist in gathering new evidence. A VA employee reviews the Supplemental Claim and issues a new decision.

Board Appeal

Opting for a Board of Veterans’ Appeals appeal involves having a Veterans Law Judge review your case. You can choose from three types of Board Appeals. First, is the Direct Review, which is done without submitting new evidence or having a hearing. Next, is the Evidence Submission that is done by submitting additional evidence without a hearing. Finally, you can have a full hearing with a VLJ, either in person or by video conference.

To request a Board Appeal, fill out VA Form 10182 within one year of the decision or do it online. Specify the type and the issues to appeal. A VLJ reviews the appeal and issues a decision.


These three options provide avenues for veterans in Guilford, Connecticut, to appeal VA disability claim decisions. Your service is valued, and navigating the complexities of VA disability claims is crucial.