5 VA mistakes that veterans can appeal

Jonathan Kaupanger
December 08, 2017 - 11:45 am

Here’s a newsflash, the VA isn’t perfect. (I’ll pause here so you can wipe that shocked look off your face.) Veterans Affairs does make mistakes on claims and here’s a list of five common legal slip-ups that will let you appeal a decision.


  1. Failure to notify you of required evidence. The VA is required to let you know what evidence is needed for you to prove that you can get a benefit. The notice has to specify what evidence you are responsible for submitting, opposed to the evidence that the VA will get on your behalf.  If you filed a claim or have one that is pending on or after Nov. 9, 2000, this notice is required!  If you didn’t get this notification, and can show that it did harm your case, this can be a basis for appeal.  You will need to show that there is evidence that is helpful to your claim and that you would have provided it had you known it was needed.

  2. The VA didn’t help you get your records. By law, the VA has to help you get the records that support your claim. If you’ve identified the records correctly, the VA has a duty to get them for you. This means you MUST provide enough info about when and where you were treated so the VA can reasonably find them.  This is only relevant if the records you identify are related to your claim.

  3. The VA didn’t provide a medical examination or opinion. The VA is required, in some cases, to give you a medical exam in order to find out if your disability is service-connected. The VA is required to provide this exam when there isn’t enough medical evidence in the file but there is evidence that you have a current disability.

  4. The medical exam or opinion was inadequate. If you get a VA medical exam, it has to meet certain requirements. The doctor must explain in detail the reasoning behind the decision on whether the disability is linked to service and also give an actual opinion about whether this linkage exists or not.

  5. Inadequate explanation of decision. If you’ve appealed to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA), the BVA is required to include a discussion of the facts and the law on which the decision is based. You’ll probably want an attorney’s help at this point, to check if the BVA failed to address medical or lay evidence that helped your claim.

   Contact us about this article, or share your story at gethelp@connectingvets.com.