After you submit a claim for veterans disability benefits, you’re sure to hope for a positive outcome. But if your claim isn’t granted, the only alternative is to have your claim denied, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes, when VA determines that the evidence provided with your claim is insufficient to make a final decision, it will issue a deferral, essentially halting the process of your claim until further evidence is submitted.
What is a Deferred VA Claim?
According to VA, a deferral on a ratings decision is made when the claim is underdeveloped or incomplete. By “underdeveloped,” VA generally means it does not have the evidence needed to make an informed decision and conclude one way or another whether to grant or deny your claim.
To remedy the matter, VA will reach out to you to request additional evidence. Bear in mind, this may be for a claim made in regards to one condition or several. VA may have sufficient evidence to grant or deny claims made to some of your conditions, but not to all of them.
How to Handle (and Avoid) a Deferral
When VA issues a deferral, the ball is back in your court. You may be told what sort of evidence is required to reach a final decision, and it is up to you to provide it. In most instances, a deferral is issued because a service connection cannot be established for your condition, or because your medical records do not establish a strong enough case to support the effects your condition has on your everyday life. Providing this documentation in a timely manner will help get your claim back on track and help VA reach a final decision.
You can avoid deferrals in the first place by putting in your due diligence and presenting a strong claim from the start. Consider an independent medical examination to support or take the place of your C&P examination, hang on to your service records, and collect buddy statements — or testimonials from those who know you — to support your claim. By handing over as much evidence as you can from the get-go, you will help VA come to a decision more quickly.
Confirmed and Continued Claims
Before closing, there is an importance distinction between a deferred claim and a “confirmed and continued” claim. A deferred claim typically means your claim lacks sufficient evidence. A claim becomes confirmed and continued only after additional evidence has been provided, but VA decides it is not “new and relevant,” meaning it offers no additional insight into your condition at the time of your claim.
A confirmed and continued claim may follow either a deferral or a conclusive ratings decision that you are appealing for a higher rate of compensation. It simply means that your additional evidence offers no more insight than your originally submitted evidence, and that you will need something different, and more persuasive, to make your case.
Assistance with a Deferred Claim
Deferred claims can be frustrating, but they aren’t the end of the world. Sometimes they are even made erroneously, an issue investigated by VA’s Inspector General Office with the goal of cutting down on bad deferrals. If you are faced with a deferral, or want to avoid getting one in the first place, contact us today to at 844-VET-LAWS to put together the strongest claim you can.