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Appeal, NOD, VSO dropped ball, been 9 years.


SGT Van

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Hi. Thank you all for your service! I wanted to get some insight... I originally had a 40% rating for lumbar strain degenerative disc (I actually have 3 herniated discs) that got reduced from a lame C&P exam to 20% in 2009.  I filed an NOD through the VFW and it was received by the VA. The VFW told me that then it was a waiting game for the BVA.  I waited... 2 years and heard nothing from the VA. Hounded the VFW via email and they finally responded to me stating that the appeal was closed because of lack of evidence. I got pissed and stopped trying.  The VA never sent me anything closing the appeal, and the VFW really gave me false information on this process and what any of this means. I was so mad that I waited years for nothing because I didn't know the process and I assumed the VSO would help me, but they didn't.

Now fast forward to today, about 10 years later and I have the strength to fight the VA again because I feel my rating should be 40% like it was in the beginning, and in fact my back is worse today verified by a MRI 4 months ago. I also had another C&P exam for nerve damage secondary to my back that just got approved another 40% in 10% increments due to my horrible sciatica.  My question is this... Since I filed the NOD in time, can I still fight to get the rating restored, and is there a possibility of backpay maybe if I use an attorney?

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Yes.  

    You may have to have some documentation of this, and I assume you do.  Remember, tho, the Veteran has all kinds of deadlines, and the VA has "0" deadlines.  This is the claimant friendly system they speak of.  

   Specifically, you file a NOD AND THEN you have to file an I9 within 60 days of the SOC.  So, if you were not sure about papers you received, did not read them, or did not give VA your address, things may not turn out that well for you.  

   Generally, tho, when you get a denial, but later benefits are awarded, your attorney may argue the original claim should be your effective date.  Of course, that's "muddied up" by the fact your effective date is the later of the claim date or "facts found".  

     My suggestion is, if you have a recent denial to your earlier effective date claim, then show it to an attorney.  

     If you did not appeal the effective date, its gonna be tougher.  We really cant give a great opinion on the validity of an effective date claim unless we reviewed your entire file.  

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48 minutes ago, broncovet said:

Yes.  

    You may have to have some documentation of this, and I assume you do.  Remember, tho, the Veteran has all kinds of deadlines, and the VA has "0" deadlines.  This is the claimant friendly system they speak of.  

   Specifically, you file a NOD AND THEN you have to file an I9 within 60 days of the SOC.  So, if you were not sure about papers you received, did not read them, or did not give VA your address, things may not turn out that well for you.  

   Generally, tho, when you get a denial, but later benefits are awarded, your attorney may argue the original claim should be your effective date.  Of course, that's "muddied up" by the fact your effective date is the later of the claim date or "facts found".  

     My suggestion is, if you have a recent denial to your earlier effective date claim, then show it to an attorney.  

     If you did not appeal the effective date, its gonna be tougher.  We really cant give a great opinion on the validity of an effective date claim unless we reviewed your entire file.  

Thanks for the insight.  I do have paperwork and I am going up before I do anything else to get my C-file. I truly hadn't changed my address and I never got any paperwork from the VA past filing my NOD. Also, I never knew what happened with it until I actually recently got into the VA website and looked at my claims.  Pretty frustrating all the way around.  This is pretty complex to me and I am just trying to get as educated as possible.

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