Hi, I'm Dr. Bill Cushing, and today I'd like to talk to you about VA Appeals. An unfavorable decision on your claim may be appealed to the Board of Veterans Appeals. If the Board of Veterans Appeals rules against your claim, then you may be able to continue the appeal process to the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. There is also the possibility of extending your appeal beyond this level, but only if the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims rules against you. The appeal process is expensive and complex, so it is advisable to acquire legal assistance when deciding to appeal. Since July 4th, 1864, federal law has held that an attorney can only charge a maximum of ten dollars for helping a veteran with an initial claim. A $10 fee would make it difficult for a veteran to find an attorney to handle an appeal. However, starting in 2007, federal law (Public Law 109-461) authorized that legal counsel can be paid a reasonable fee for assisting the veteran in the appeal process. The veteran and attorney can now enter into a contingency agreement, in which the attorney can receive up to 20 to 33 and a third percent of any retroactive benefits payable at the denial of benefits upon appeal. Prior to 2007, this was not allowed, and veterans were at a definite disadvantage when considering an appeal. The cost of legal counsel would limit the ability of a veteran to proceed with an appeal. Therefore, having legal counsel will help you determine if your situation justifies an appeal. A veteran starts the appeal of a denial by filing a Notice of Disagreement. You usually have one year from the date of the denial letter to submit a Notice of Disagreement. If you miss this deadline, the denial...
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