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VA decision reviews and appeals


The VA legacy appeals process has changed to a decision review process. If you disagree with a VA decision dated on or after February 19, 2019, you can choose one of the following decision review options to continue your case. If you aren't satisfied with that review, you can try another eligible option.

Mark your calendar

In most situations you have one year from the date on your decision letter to request a decision review. The deadline to file may be different if you have a fiduciary claim, a contested claim, or you’re filing a Supplemental Claim.

Decision review options

Add new and relevant evidence with a Supplemental Claim

To file, you’ll need Decision Review Request: Supplemental Claim (VA Form 20-0995).
Download VA Form 20-0995 (PDF)

When you choose to file a Supplemental Claim, you’re adding new and relevant evidence that supports your case or you’re identifying evidence for VA to locate and consider. A reviewer will look at all the evidence and determine whether it changes the decision.
Learn how to file a Supplemental Claim

You must submit new evidence that VA didn't have when making our previous claim decision.
4-5 months VA’s goal for completing Supplemental Claims is an average of 125 days.

Can I file a Supplemental Claim?

You can file a Supplemental Claim anytime if you have new evidence. Note: You can’t file a Supplemental Claim if you have a fiduciary claim or a contested claim (this is rare). See if one of these rare situations applies to you

Is there a deadline for filing a Supplemental Claim?

You can file anytime if you have new evidence, but we recommend you file within one year from the date on your decision letter. This protects the most advantageous effective date for you, if your claim is successful and you may be eligible for retroactive benefit payments.

What if I get a Supplemental Claim decision that I don’t agree with?

You can then request a Higher-Level Review of the Supplemental Claim decision, or file for a Board Appeal, which means your case gets reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge. You may also file another Supplemental Claim if you have additional evidence you want to submit for review.

Ask a senior reviewer to do a Higher-Level Review

To make a request, you’ll need to submit Decision Review Request: Higher-Level Review (VA Form 20-0996).
Download VA Form 20-0996 (PDF)

When you request a Higher-Level Review, you’re asking to have a more senior, experienced reviewer take a look at your case and evidence you already provided. The reviewer will determine whether the decision can be changed based on a difference of opinion or an error that VA made.
Learn how to request a Higher-Level Review

You can’t submit any evidence.
You and/or your representative can request an informal conference so that you can speak with the reviewer by phone. You can tell them why you think the decision should be changed and identify errors.
4-5 months VA’s goal for completing Higher-Level Reviews is an average of 125 days.

Can I request a Higher-Level Review?

You can request a Higher-Level Review of an initial claim or Supplemental Claim decision. This option isn’t available after a previous Higher-Level Review or Board Appeal on the same claim.

Is there a deadline for requesting a Higher-Level Review?

You have one year from the date on your decision letter to request a Higher-Level Review.

What if I get a Higher-Level Review decision that I don’t agree with?

You can then file for a Board Appeal, which means your case gets reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge. You also have the option to file a Supplemental Claim if you have additional evidence you want to submit for review.

Appeal to a Veterans Law Judge by requesting a Board Appeal

To file your request, you’ll need Decision Review Request: Board Appeal (VA Form 10182).
Download VA Form 10182 (PDF)

A Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C., will review your case.
Learn more about how to request a Board Appeal

About 1 year The Board’s goal for deciding appeals with no new evidence and no hearing is about a year.
You have the option to add new evidence that a judge will review.
You also have the option to request a hearing with a judge, either in person in Washington, D.C., or by video conference at a VA location near you.
Longer The Board will take longer to decide your appeal if you submit new evidence or request a hearing.

Can I request a Board Appeal?

You can request a Board Appeal after an initial claim, Supplemental Claim, or Higher-Level Review decision. You can’t request 2 Board Appeals in a row for the same claim.

Is there a deadline for requesting a Board Appeal?

You have one year from the date on your decision letter to request a Board Appeal, unless you have a contested claim.

What if I get a Board Appeal decision that I don’t agree with?

If you disagree with the Board’s decision and have new and relevant evidence that supports your case, you can file a Supplemental Claim. You can also appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Learn more about your options after a Board decision

What happens next?

Find out what happens after you request a decision review

You don’t need to do anything while you wait unless VA sends you a letter asking for more information. If VA schedules exams for you, be sure not to miss them.

Track the status of your claim or appeal

What if I need help?

A Veterans Service Organization or VA-accredited attorney or agent can help you request a decision review.
Get help requesting a decision review

What if I have more questions?

Get answers to frequently asked questions about decision reviews.
Go to FAQs