When a veteran’s claim for veterans disability benefits is rejected, there are multiple avenues by which they can appeal that decision and seek a second chance to have their claim approved.
One such way is with a Higher Level Review for those that meet the eligibility requirements.
Before choosing this option when seeking veterans disability help, it is essential to understand how the process works and the various pros and cons of seeking this type of appeal on a rejected VA disability claim.
What Is A Higher Level Review for Veterans Disability Benefits?
A Higher Level Review or HLR is one channel for appealing a veterans disability benefits claim that was rejected by the VA.
Higher Level Reviews are a part of the new VA Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 which gives veterans more ways to submit appeals regarding their rejected claims.
HLR is a process that forwards the claim to a more experienced, senior VA claims adjudicator for a second review of the existing claim.
They must be chosen as a method of appeal by the veteran before filing a Notice of Disagreement or for a Decision Review Officer hearing.
Veterans disability claims will be reviewed by the senior adjudicator and acted on accordingly.
The goal of using HLR to appeal a previously rejected VA disability benefits claim is that the more experienced VA representative may find mistakes in the review process or other valid reasons why the claim should be approved.
What Are The Pros of Seeking An HLR?
There are a number of advantages to choosing an HLR for a veterans disability claim when an appeal for reconsideration is necessary:
- Faster Than Other Appeals - An appeal elevated to an HLR takes no longer than 125 days for the rejected veterans disability benefits claim to be reviewed again and a decision made on it, a time frame that can be considerably faster than other appeals options.
- Easier Appeals Process - All that is required for an HLR is for the veteran to submit VA Form 20-0996 and then wait for a decision.
- Reviews By Senior Claims Adjudicators - Veterans disability claims submitted for HLR are reviewed by the most experienced adjudicators at the VA who have the ability to find processing mistakes, evidence omissions, and other problems in the claim submission that resulted in its being declined.
- Fast Notification of Decisions - A notice of decision after an HLR is sent to the veteran immediately after the review. HRLs conclude with one of three decisions: the senior reviewer will overturn the previous decision and approve the claim for disability; return the claim to the central office for correction after noticing an error; or agree with the previous decision and reject the benefits claim.
What Are The Cons of Seeking An HLR?
The main disadvantage of seeking an HLR after having a veterans disability benefits claim rejected is that the veteran may not submit additional evidence during this process.
The claim is re-assessed as it was initially submitted.
If a veteran has additional evidence supporting their VA disability claim since it was initially filed and wish to include it, they may only do so by choosing a different appeal path such as filing a Supplemental Claim or a Board Appeal, both of which can be more involved and take longer.
Noting this, an HLR is most suitable in cases where a veteran feels his disability claim is as complete as it can be and that the initial reviewer either made a mistake or did not fairly consider the evidence that was presented.
Get Veterans Disability Help When In Need of A Disability Claims Appeal
Higher Level Reviews are one appeal option to have a declined veterans disability benefits claim re-assessed by an experienced senior claims adjudicator when a veteran disagrees with their initial decision.
Of course, this appeal method may not be recommended for all cases, especially if there is more supportive evidence to be submitted.
Whether submitting an HLR or choosing a different avenue of appeal, a knowledgeable veterans disability help expert can be a valuable resource for any veteran trying to get their disability claim approved.
Facing A Rejected Veterans Disability Claim in Ohio?
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Call 888-802-1549 To Discuss Your VA Claim!