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Hello Guys and Gals!
I recently had a successful claim re-opened and wanted to know if any of the rules change from whence it was just a new claim to begin with. Are my appeals rights preserved after the decision is rendered for the reopen? ( Note that this reopen was filed within a year after the last decision (September 2016))
Does the NOD clock stop at this point, because I see lots of posts about people who had their claims just sit around, and we're forced to of due to claims inactivity.
My one year period had begun in Sept. So, still plenty of time to act. Just performing more CYA.
If it was reopened then you will get another Decision and then it will start one year after the reopen decision. Am I understanding the question?
I believe so, yes. I was mostly concerned on if I absolutely had to nod before September, or ride the claims coaster again.
Once a decision from the reopen your clock begins again
OK, very good, the difference could have meant an eed back to 2014 or to last month, whilst I have been aggressively gathering docs this entire time, and tens of thousands (if not more would be lost in the ebb of time, depending on results from upcoming C&Ps) in retro.
Fortunely, in my rare case, the VA's own doctors are the ones who have single handedly turned the tide on my claims with statements noting "occured while in service". Not much to dispute there...(I hope).
Carefully read 38 CFR 3.156 a, b, and C. This is the regulation on reopened claims.
Understand that "reopening" the claim is not the same as awarding the benefit. YOu need to meet the threshold of "new and material evidence". The evidence you send in needs to be both new and material, to reopen. "material" evidence means that the new evidence submitted has a "reasonable chance" of substantiating your claim.
Its a fairly low threshold, but it is not "no threshold". Yes, VA can decide to reopen the claim, then deny it again.
It is always best to file the applicable nod within the year, and eliminate doubt. Its true, if you submitted new and material evidence it should be reopened and you should not have to file the nod. However, again, the VA can decide to reopen and then deny. So, you want to reopen the claim and file the NOD, both.
YOu see there are multiple reasons why VA can/does deny. One can be that evidence is missing. But there are other reasons also. Maybe you dont have a nexus, even with all your evidence in. In that case reopening wont help you, you still lack the nexus. But filing a nod may give you another chance to get a nexus and preserve your effective date, for example.
The VA is bizarre in the way things happen and why. My recent case was an "matter of fact" case, and the VA did not elaborate (expand) at all. Duty to assist was "duty to resist", in my opinion.
However, a couple years ago, I did a re-open "with" new evidence. I had previously been denied for a skin blemish that had occurred when I was in Iraq. The VA said it was from acne, not from service. Then a year later in a unrelated exam they discovered a minute piece of metal under the blemish that I had examined (denied) previously. So then I did a re-open with this new evidence. Not only did the VA service connect for the blemish, I also was awarded for a scar and believe it or not, acne, which is what they denied me for from the start. Duty to assist, this time around.
So, hope you get a good examiner and a great rater,
50/50 at best, but I do wish you the good luck,
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