- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

What is the correct terminology to use when disagreeing with the denial of the VA claim? There are many different opinions as to what words to use to keep the original date of claim rather than have the date change to the date the notice of disagreement is submitted. The consensus of the opinions is thus:

1. Is “Reconsideration” the appropriate word to use as this will keep the original date you file the claim?

2. Will the words “Disagreement” or “Appeal” of the decision result in the date of the claim being adjusted to the date the Disagreement or Appeal paperwork is filed.

None of this seems logical to me, but I constantly hear this all the time, even from some NSO [National Service Office] reps. There are many myths about the VA adjudication process that confuse the facts. Is there any truth to what word or words you must use in the title when filing an appeal to a claim that was denied? Would any of these words if wrong result in the appeal being considered a new claim or if additional support information was provided?

People at VA seem noncommittal in their answers to my inquiries.

David L.
U.S. Army Master Sergeant (Retired)

Dear David:

Title 38 of the CFR [Code of Federal Regulations] defines a “Notice of Disagreement” as a written communication from a claimant or his or her representative expressing dissatisfaction or disagreement with an adjudicative determination by the VA and a desire to contest the result of that decision.

While special wording is not required, the Notice of Disagreement must be in terms that can be reasonably construed as disagreement with that determination and a desire for appellate review.

If the agency of original jurisdiction (VA Regional Office) gave notice that adjudicative determinations were made on several issues at the same time, the specific determinations with which the claimant disagrees must be identified.

For example, if service connection was denied for two disabilities and the claimant wishes to appeal the denial of service connection with respect to only one of the disabilities, the Notice of Disagreement must make that clear. There is no foundation in law or regulation to use the date of the NOD as the effective date for the issues specified in the appeal. A properly filed NOD will protect the date of claim.

Also the word “Reconsideration” exists in regulation only for decisions of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. There is no precise authority to permit a Regional Office to reconsider a decision.

Shaft notes

• A one-of-a-kind summer camp for military children from families with wounded, disabled or fallen family members will double the number of camp locations available across the country this summer.

Story Continues →