You may or may not have an attorney representing you before the VA. If you are unrepresented, the greatest obstacle you face is preserving the earliest effective date possible for your claim for service connection. An earlier effective date can translate into a Veteran being awarded years, or sometimes even decades, of back benefits.
REMEMBER, if your initial claim is denied by a VA regional office, file a NOTICE OF DISAGREEMENT as soon as you can. Failing to file a notice of disagreement means that your “claim stream” will die, and you may potentially lose the right to substantial back benefits owed by the VA.
In addition to filing a Notice of Disagreement within the proper time limits, in order to continue appealing a claim denial, a Notice of Appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals must be filed in response to the VA’s Statement of the Case (again, within the proper time limits).
Further complicating matters, even when a VA disability claim is granted, the VA may grant it on a lesser rating percentage than is owed, and may fail to pay the Veteran years–or sometimes decades– of back-benefits. A Veteran may also need to file Notice of Disagreements and appeals to the BVA on the rating percentage granted and the effective date (back benefits). If you need to appeal a low rating percentage or an effective date that denies years of back benefits, call (504) 235 4075. Our office will submit the medical evidence and written submissions to prove the rating percentage you deserve, and the back benefits you are owed.