There are several ways to establish service-connections for disabilities within the VA system. Deciding which one(s) pertain to you will depend upon when you were discharged and/or how many disabilities you might want to claim for any given time period. The list below describes seven different ways to qualify for a service-connected disability through the VA system. The video that follows will explain each one in more detail. Feel free to pause and replay those sections of the video that may apply to your situation so that you can better understand them:
If you’ve received a denial letter and ratings decision from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), don’t be discouraged. It is common for initial claims for veterans disability to be denied, and you can appeal. To appeal, you will need to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with the VA. Here’s some advice on filing an NOD and requesting an appeal.
Deadline for Filing a Veterans’ Appeal
You have one year to file the notice of disagreement. Note that the NOD must be filed within one year from the date the decision was sent to you, not the date you received it.
What Form to Use to Appeal
The VA does not have an official NOD form, but typically VA Form 21-4138, Statement in Support of Claim, is used to file an NOD. You can also write a letter to the VA to state that you disagree with the decision denying you benefits.
You can find the Statement in Support of Claim form on the VA website at www.va.gov/vaforms.