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Can I Add New Issues To A Dro Appeal?


Theblaze

Question

Background:
- I filed an appeal requesting "DRO review procedures" with St. Pete in April 2012.
- I just received an award letter on a different claim that I do not agree with

Question: Can I add the items I do not agree with from this most recent decision to the already in-line DRO appeal?

St Pete says their "average" processing time for DRO appeals is 377 days, so their decision might be made around April 2013-ish.


It seems like it would be a time saving move for everyone involved if they could decide all my issues in April.

Thanks and Happy New Year to everyone!

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I suggest you this carefully: If the link doesn't work, you can google M21-1mr,Part 1, Chapter 5, Section C,

As it depends on whether the DRO would take jurisdiction over issues not already raised on appeal.

If these are new claims, the DRO probably would not be able to address and decide them at all unless they are highly contingent on whatever he/she is reviewing regarding the appealed decision.

www.benefits.va.gov/warms/docs/.../m21_1/mr/part1/.../ch05_secc.d...
I think you should NOD the decision you just got and keep that separate from anything the DRO review involves.
But I hope you have a vet rep too, as they would be familiar with your issues and know what is best to do.
"It seems like it would be a time saving move for everyone involved if they could decide all my issues in April."
Yeah, we claimants here all are hoping for that.
As of last week:
900,121 claims pending under eligibility C & P and of those, 864,790 Comp and Pen claims , in the nationwide rating bundle.
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My last BVA decision combined at least 3 RO decisions and adjuticated them all at once. I think the VA does this without asking you.

If you are still in the appeal period, then by all means "add" your issues, or else you wont be able to add them later.

The M21 Manual says, to the effect, that, if your NOD is "unclear" as to which issues you are appealing, they are supposed to ask you for clarification. This, to me, would mean that you could "add" issues to your NOD all the way up to the year appeal period.

In other words I do not beleive that you would be required to appeal ALL your issues at once. So, if the VARO decision decided 4 issues, A, B C and D, you could file a NOD disputing Issue "A", and then 6 months later, but still in the one year appeal period, file a NOD on issues B, C, And D, if you so choose.

In many areas of VA law the Veteran is not required to submit ALL the evidence or requirements at the same time. For example, you could apply for Benefit "A" and submit the "nexus" statements much later, as well as other evidence, and still get the original effective date as long as your Doc did not state your condition began on x date, because your effective date will NEVER be earlier than the day the doc says your condition startted no matter when you applied.

The "down side" to filing 3 or 4 NODs, one for each issue would be that the VA is likely to lose one or more of these NODS. That is why I like to dispute all issues, then I can always "withdraw" some issues later, but you cant "add" issues after the one year period.

I think an exception to that is that you can add an issue beyond the one year appeal period when you file your I9. The VA is then required to file a SSOC.

Edited by broncovet (see edit history)
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Background:

- I filed an appeal requesting "DRO review procedures" with St. Pete in April 2012.

- I just received an award letter on a different claim that I do not agree with

Question: Can I add the items I do not agree with from this most recent decision to the already in-line DRO appeal?

St Pete says their "average" processing time for DRO appeals is 377 days, so their decision might be made around April 2013-ish.

It seems like it would be a time saving move for everyone involved if they could decide all my issues in April.

Thanks and Happy New Year to everyone!

You can, because a NOD is the first step in the appeals process. That way the DRO will have your claim in it's entirity. When you submit your NOD, be sure that you ask for A DRO and specify the disability(s) you are in disagreement with, the VA cannot deny you this step. I have witnessed VA collect the NOD's and send to the DRO collectively without the vet asking for such action.

Edited by meghp0405 (see edit history)
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My last BVA decision combined at least 3 RO decisions and adjuticated them all at once. I think the VA does this without asking you.

If you are still in the appeal period, then by all means "add" your issues, or else you wont be able to add them later.

The M21 Manual says, to the effect, that, if your NOD is "unclear" as to which issues you are appealing, they are supposed to ask you for clarification. This, to me, would mean that you could "add" issues to your NOD all the way up to the year appeal period.

In other words I do not beleive that you would be required to appeal ALL your issues at once. So, if the VARO decision decided 4 issues, A, B C and D, you could file a NOD disputing Issue "A", and then 6 months later, but still in the one year appeal period, file a NOD on issues B, C, And D, if you so choose.

In many areas of VA law the Veteran is not required to submit ALL the evidence or requirements at the same time. For example, you could apply for Benefit "A" and submit the "nexus" statements much later, as well as other evidence, and still get the original effective date as long as your Doc did not state your condition began on x date, because your effective date will NEVER be earlier than the day the doc says your condition startted no matter when you applied.

The "down side" to filing 3 or 4 NODs, one for each issue would be that the VA is likely to lose one or more of these NODS. That is why I like to dispute all issues, then I can always "withdraw" some issues later, but you cant "add" issues after the one year period.

I think an exception to that is that you can add an issue beyond the one year appeal period when you file your I9. The VA is then required to file a SSOC.

Sir, I'm not understanding where your comment "the veteran is not required to submit ALL evidence or requirements at the same time"? When any veteran submitts a claim, all supporting documentation should be enclosed. Not only will this cut down on the processing time, but having a "Complete" claim may be decided by the DRO even before it gets to DC. Also, by having a complete claim, you will never have to worry about VA misplacing documentation.

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"Not only will this cut down on the processing time, but having a "Complete" claim may be decided by the DRO even before it gets to DC. Also, by having a complete claim, you will never have to worry about VA misplacing documentation."

they can turn the new evidence into a new claim and then "bundle" them together and put you back at the bottom of the pile. It happened to me....

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Thanks for the advice.

Looks like what I'll do is file the NOD and request a de novo DRO review.

That way it'll be in the system and then I'll keep my fingers crossed that they bundle the new one with the "old" one that is coming up for review (since it sounds like they sometimes do that). Or at a minimum they work them both at the same time but based on the file date of the first one.

That is a load off my shoulders, thanks everyone!

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Meg

Of course its better to submit "all the evidence at the same time" and make your claim as complete as possible. However, it is not always practical to do so.

To explain, I will give two examples:

1. Veteran "A" has arthritis of the knee he fractured in service. He DOES NOT have a doctor that has opined a nexus, that is, evidence he needs for service connection. He is pretty sure, however, that this arthritis was from his in service fracture. So, he applies anyway, say, Jan 1, 2012.

In six months, his doc does a C and P exam and, sure enough, the doc agrees the arthritis was "at least as likely as not caused by the in service fracture". He gets his benefits Jan 1, 2012 and gets, in this example 12 months retro.

2. Veteran "B" also has arthritis of the knee he fractured in service. His VSO suggests he "wait" to file until A DOCTOR opines a nexus, which he does. He schedules an appointment, and, sure enough, the VA orthopedic doc sees him on July 1, 2012. The Veteran files the same day, because the doc says his arthritis is at least as likely as not due to in service fracture. He, likewise, gets SC, but not until July 1, 2012. In this example he will get HALF the retro because he applied 6 months ago instead of 12 months ago.

Bottom line: If you dont have all your evidence, go ahead and apply...it will take the VA months anyway, and you preserve your effective date. Then work on getting all your evidence together.

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Meg

Of course its better to submit "all the evidence at the same time" and make your claim as complete as possible. However, it is not always practical to do so.

To explain, I will give two examples:

1. Veteran "A" has arthritis of the knee he fractured in service. He DOES NOT have a doctor that has opined a nexus, that is, evidence he needs for service connection. He is pretty sure, however, that this arthritis was from his in service fracture. So, he applies anyway, say, Jan 1, 2012.

In six months, his doc does a C and P exam and, sure enough, the doc agrees the arthritis was "at least as likely as not caused by the in service fracture". He gets his benefits Jan 1, 2012 and gets, in this example 12 months retro.

2. Veteran "B" also has arthritis of the knee he fractured in service. His VSO suggests he "wait" to file until A DOCTOR opines a nexus, which he does. He schedules an appointment, and, sure enough, the VA orthopedic doc sees him on July 1, 2012. The Veteran files the same day, because the doc says his arthritis is at least as likely as not due to in service fracture. He, likewise, gets SC, but not until July 1, 2012. In this example he will get HALF the retro because he applied 6 months ago instead of 12 months ago.

Bottom line: If you dont have all your evidence, go ahead and apply...it will take the VA months anyway, and you preserve your effective date. Then work on getting all your evidence together.

couldn't disagree more! submit a fully developed claim, adjudicated within 90 days.

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"Not only will this cut down on the processing time, but having a "Complete" claim may be decided by the DRO even before it gets to DC. Also, by having a complete claim, you will never have to worry about VA misplacing documentation."

they can turn the new evidence into a new claim and then "bundle" them together and put you back at the bottom of the pile. It happened to me....

that's true, many times veterans will submitt additional documentation and then they find that their claim has been returned to the development phase..

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"Not only will this cut down on the processing time, but having a "Complete" claim may be decided by the DRO even before it gets to DC. Also, by having a complete claim, you will never have to worry about VA misplacing documentation."

they can turn the new evidence into a new claim and then "bundle" them together and put you back at the bottom of the pile. It happened to me....

Ditto !

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