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  1. Just a heads up, as of February 19, 2019, if a Veteran is wanting to submit a claim for contentions that are reconsiderations or reopens, the 526ez is no longer the authorized form and will no longer be accepted per Appeals Modernization Act (AMA) guidelines. I suggest anyone looking for more information to take a look at the VA Form 20-0998 which can be found at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-20-0998-ARE.pdf or https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals.asp and https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/56694/vas-appeals-modernization-act-takes-effect-today/ and https://www.va.gov/decision-reviews/ The authorized forms to submit the aforementioned types of claims are as follows: VA Form 20-0995 for supplemental claims, which can be found at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-20-0995-ARE.pdf VA Form 20-0996 for Higher Level Revies claims, which can be found at https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-20-0996-ARE.pdf and VA Form 10182 Decision Review Request: Board of Appeal https://www.va.gov/decision-reviews/forms/board-appeal-10182.pdf If you submit a claim pertaining to a contention that was previously denied using a 526ez, no action will be taken on that claim. You will simply get a letter stating that you need to download one of the aforementioned forms. The 526ez is still authorized for new contentions and for increases. EDIT ********** Any claims with re-open or reconsiderations prior to the specified date are treated as they were before. There is no need to re-submit anything.
  2. I've been trying to figure out what happened to my second NOD which seems like it disappeared from my C-file. I was told by phone by the RO that because my second NOD appealed decisions that were already on appeal from my first NOD that the second NOD was either cancelled or combined with the original appeal. I can only have one appeal in play for a particular contention was the explanation. Is this right? Confused? I am and certainly the RO is as well. This is the result of listening to the VSO who talked me into submitting a "reconsideration claim" (before I found Hadit). My story ought to be as good an argument as any why veterans should not pursue this avenue. It's a three ring circus. Just appeal...but I digress. So here's what happened. I filed a claim for SC of TIAs and a rating increase for migraines back in 2012. These were denied and the claim date missed the informal claim the VSO had submitted ahead of the FDC. The VSO told me that I probably had a bad rater and that trying it again was the surest and fastest way to fix the problem, even the missed informal claim date. So he had me compile N&M evidence and submit it with a "reconsideration claim." Of course, the RO didn't complete the claim before the one-year appeal deadline would pass for the original denied claim. So, in order to protect the original claim date, I filed a last-minute NOD appealing both contentions which got lost within the RO. Meanwhile, the "reconsideration claim" continued to process. In March 2013, I got an answer back on the "reconsideration claim" increasing migraines to 30% and continuing the denial of SC for TIAs and the underlying condition. I appealed these two contentions again through this second NOD, which is the one missing. In Big Top Ring 2, I finally won the battle over whether or not I had filed a NOD and had filed it in a timely manner (thank God for that certified mail hand stamped receipt from the post office counter!). This appeal was opened and processed within the RO. I was granted the earlier effective dates based on CUE determinations. The SC for TIAs/cerebral thromboses and increase in migraines to 50% were denied and will move on to the BVA. My Form 9 is in on these two. The SOC referenced and included decisions made in the reconsideration claim's decision but not the second NOD. In Ring 3 is this second NOD which never appeared in eBenefits. IRIS back-and-forth showed that it had been received and uploaded into my electronic C-file. Then it wasn't there. I mailed a package with a letter to the RO asking for a status update or explanation of what happened and enclosed a copy of the NOD and proof of postmark. Shortly after I mailed it, I got a call from the RO confirming what I was appealing to the BVA via the first appeal's Form 9 and that my Form 9 date was correct within the system. I asked about the second NOD and was told that I couldn't have two appeals for the same conditions/contentions. I did not get a solid explanation over what had happened to the NOD. I feel like I'm fairly well protected by my Form 9 which contains and expands on the arguments I made in the second NOD for those same two contentions. I'm not sure what the second NOD would gain me at this time except for a second RO review of those contentions and several more months of waiting with some low probability of success. But the principle remains. Doesn't the RO owe me an SSOC or at least a letter stating that I cannot have two appeals on the same contentions? I don't feel very comfortable not holding something in writing.
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