Request for Reconsideration or Notice of Disagreement


My question concerns a 64 year old Army veteran currently rated at 10 percent. He filed a disability claim in October 2017 with the assisstance of the Virginia Department of Veteran Services office. The Claim was filed for service-connected disabilities as follows: "Hemmoroids"; Back pained inbetween shoulders"; "Sleep Apnea"; "Hypertension"; and " Heart Attack (heart condition, acute sytolic heart)". The claim was denied. The VA recommended that he file a Request for Reconsideration as opposed to filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) because the Request would be processed faster. However, my research indicates that the best course of action is to always file an NOD even if the veteran intends to file a Request. I am suggesting to the veteran that he file an entirely new Fully Developed Claim based on the following factors: First, he does not have a copy of his Notice of Action Letter indicating the exact reason(s) his original claim was denied, nor does he have a definitive starting date for the NOD. Second, he now has fully documented disablities for which he can file: Disease of the heart; Genitourary system issues, Sleep Apnea, and Hypertension. More importantly, he has a patient care team consisting of his General Practitioner, his Neurulogist, his Pulmunary Specialist, a Nephrologist, his Cardiologist, and a My Health Care Coordinator. Each already completed or is in the process of completing a DBQ. Your thoughts on this case.

Jim's Reply:

There is no such thing as reconsideration in the VBA lexicon. The word is used often but the fact is that one either appeals a denied claim or not. Any time a veteran has been denied a claim and doesn't feel that the denial was justified the veteran has the right to appeal. I urge every veteran to hand over the appeal process to an accredited veterans law attorney. The attorney doesn't charge anything unless and until the appeal is won...if lost, there's no fee at all. The fact is that your friend has some complex issues and the guidance by an experienced attorney can make the difference between an appropriate 100% rating or an inappropriate rating of 1/2 that. There are a number of veterans law attorneys who advertise their services on my VAWatchdog web site. They all offer free consultations...ask your friend to call one or all of them.