After you file a VA disability claim, the VA will send you a notice of its decision. The notice will tell you your disability rating. The rating is a measure of the severity of your disability and determines the amount of compensation you can receive.

If you feel the VA has undervalued your claim, you may want to request a VA disability reconsideration. There is no official process for a VA reconsideration of value. Instead, if you’ve been discharged from service and want the VA to reconsider a decision, you’ll first need to request a decision review.

If you’re still on active duty, your military physician will refer you to the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES), which has its own process.

This page will walk you through the appeals process and the VA reconsideration timeline. Read on to learn how long a VA reconsideration takes.

During Your Service: The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)

Your first chance for a VA request for reconsideration is during your service through IDES. IDES is a collaboration between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA. With IDES, the two departments can share information on your claim and you won’t need multiple physicals.

If you’re injured or fall ill during active duty, IDES will determine if you can continue service or if you’re eligible for disability. You’ll be assigned a military Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO) and a VA Military Services Coordinator (MSC) to help you during the process.

What Is the IDES Process?

Your military physician must refer you to IDES. Then your MSC will send you to the VA for a Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam.

The Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) will review your exam results and your service treatment record to determine if you have a disability claim or if you must return to duty. The MEB phase usually lasts 72 days, including 31 days for the VA physical. If you disagree with the MEB’s recommendation, you can file a rebuttal.

The MEB will take 7 days to review your rebuttal. Keep in mind that these timelines are goals for the DoD and VA, and your claim may be subject to delays.

Next, the MEB will issue a report to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB). The PEB will determine a proposed disability rating. The PEB should take 35 days to return a rating.

If you disagree with the proposed rating, you can appeal the decision to the Formal PEB (FPEB). The FPED should issue a decision within 24 days. You have the option to appeal the FPEB decision, which will take 10 days.

If you disagree with the rating after the appeal, you can request a VA rating reconsideration (VARR). A VARR takes two days once the PEB sends your claim to the  VA Disability Rating Activity Site (D-RAS). 

How long does a VA reconsideration of value take? 

Once you accept the decision, you should expect to receive a final disposition within 5 days. Next, IDES aims to complete the administrative part of your transition to separation or retirement within 26 days.

From the date of referral to IDES to the date of your separation (or return to duty), the DoD and the VA aim to complete 80 percent of IDES cases in no more than 180 days.

After Discharge: VA Claim Decision Review

If you have left the service and want to dispute your VA disability rating, you’ll request a decision review. For a VA decision on February 19, 2019, or after, you’ll choose from three review options: a Higher-level Review, Supplemental Claim, or Board Appeal. If your decision is dated earlier, you’ll use the legacy appeals process

Higher-Level Review

If you request a Higher-level Review, you’ll be assigned a reviewer from the original agency that issued the rating. The reviewer will review the record from your initial claim. You can’t submit new evidence.

The reviewer determines if they can change the decision because of an error or a different view of the facts. The review should take four to five months. If you still disagree after the higher-level review, you can request a Board Appeal of that decision.

Supplemental Claim

If you have new, relevant information to support your claim, you can file a Supplemental Claim. When you submit a Supplemental Claim, a reviewer will determine whether the new evidence changes the decision.

The VA can take four to five months to review your Supplemental Claim. If you disagree with the decision on your Supplemental Claim, you can submit the claim for Higher-level Review or Board Review.

Board Review

When you request a Board Review, a Veterans Law Judge on the Board of Veterans’ Appeals will review your case. If you don’t have new evidence, you can request a direct review. You can expect a result from a direct review within one year.

If you have new evidence, you can submit it within 90 days of your request for Board Review. Or you can request a hearing with the Veterans Law Judge, and you’ll have 90 days from the hearing date to submit evidence. Reviews with new evidence can take over a year.

If you disagree with the judge’s opinion, you can appeal your claim to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). You have only 120 days to submit an appeal to the CAVC.

At any time after the Board’s decision, if you think the judge made a clear and unmistakable error (CUE), you can send a VA reconsideration letter to the Board.

VA Claim Reconsideration for Clear and Unmistakable Error

Because there is no VA disability reconsideration form, you’ll need to write a letter or memo to convince the Chairman of the Board to review the decision.

The letter will need to point out the error, explain how it is clear and unmistakable, and identify what you think the VA should do to remedy it. Because the Chairman isn’t required by law to hear a claim for reconsideration of value, it is a good idea to have a certified VA attorney help you draft your VA reconsideration letter. 

Gerling Law Understands VA Disability Claims

It’s important to remember that you can have only 120 days to appeal a Board decision to the CAVC, but you can submit for CUE reconsideration at any time. Therefore, don’t let the myth of VA claim reconsideration dissuade you from filing an appeal or request for decision review.

The VA and DoD have strict timelines for the decision review process, but there is no set VA reconsideration timeline. If the Chairman doesn’t accept your request, you won’t be able to file an appeal after the deadline has passed.

If you’re wondering how long a VA reconsideration takes, you can ask how long reconsideration took for others and get a hundred different answers. Or you can talk to your certified VA attorney who understands the VA reconsideration timeline.

The attorneys at Gerling Law know the details of the complicated VA appeals process and have experience winning VA claims. Let us work to help you get the disability compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Gayle Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

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