So your claim for VA disability compensation has been denied. Is this the end of the road? It might feel like it. The process for submitting your claim is arduous enough, and the appeals process is already notorious for being more arduous, more stressful, and longer, too. You might be wondering if appealing is even worth thinking about.
First off, you won’t hear us encouraging you to quit. And second, why not take a look at the success rates for yourself? VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals issues an annual report for every fiscal year, so we can see how the numbers stack up in 2020.
Breakdown of Appeals in 2020
These are the numbers to pay attention to when you are considering the effort of appealing your rating decision. These represent the latest figures from fiscal year 2020, so you cannot get any more accurate than this. VA reports on the decisions made through both its legacy appeals and appeals falling under the Appeals Modernization Act, also known as AMA appeals. The dates for when your condition first presented itself and when your filed your claim, as well as the nature of your original claim, will determine which appeals process VA will use.
VA made a total 85,451 Board Legacy Decisions in 2020. Of those, 33.8% of claims were allowed (or approved), 40.6% were remanded (or deferred, awaiting further evidence), and 20.3% were denied.
VA also made 17,202 Board AMA decisions, of which 37% were allowed, 28.2% remanded, and 27.6% denied.
At first glance, these numbers may look like they are spread out relatively evenly between all three results. Now consider looking a little further into the data, using table “The Board of Veterans’ Appeals Board Legacy Disposition” from the 2020 fiscal year report. This table shows the success rates for veterans based on the representation they had.
Those without any representation whatsoever fared the worst, with only 26.2% allowed, 39.4% remanded, and 29.2% denied. Now look at those who were represented by an attorney. They fared the best, with 40.9% allowed, 38.5% remanded, and 14.8% denied. It makes sense that attorney representation makes up the majority of the appeals documented in this report. Several other non-profits and veterans programs offer representation to increase your odds of success, too.
Assistance with Your Appeal
Filing an appeal may be a lengthy and arduous process, but we encourage you to have faith. VA is working to streamline AMA appeals and speed up the process, and with the right representation, you can file a strong appeal that will get you the results, and the compensation, you deserve. If you are considering filing an appeal and want the sort of representation that gives you your best shot at an approved claim, contact us today to at 844-VET-LAWS.