VA Announces Veterans Can File Supplemental Claims Online
The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced major changes to how it handles disability claims and the appeals of VA decisions denying such claims. You may now file a VA Supplemental Claim online when you need to appeal a VA determination.
What does filing a supplemental claim do? It allows the veteran to submit new evidence, medical records, and other documentation electronically. Filing online helps to speed up the VA claim process in several ways, according to VA.gov:
- Saving time with supplemental claims submitted directly on VA.gov, with step-by-step, interview-style questions.
- Allowing secure and quick uploads for additional evidence and records.
- Saving progress so you can complete the paperwork at a later time.
- Allowing access to the VA application system using mobile devices and smartphones.
- Expanding application procedures to include submission by mail.
What is a VA Supplemental Claim?
If you file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs for disability benefits, the VA requires you to apply, have it reviewed, and wait for the VA decision on that claim.
The VA may agree with the veteran that the medical conditions are service-connected and worthy of VA compensation. In other cases, the VA may disagree with the veteran, deny the claim (or parts of it) and close the case.
At this stage, some wonder whether the VA has had its final say on the matter. Did you know you can submit a Supplemental Claim to the Department of Veterans Affairs and have your claim revisited? Doing so may or may not change the VA decision, but having the option to appeal is important.
How to File A VA Supplemental Claim
- Apply for VA benefits: This is the stage where you fill out VA claim forms, submit supporting evidence such as your medical records, buddy letters from friends and family supporting your claim, etc.
- Submit and wait for VA review: The Department of Veterans Affairs processes applications on a first-come, first-served basis. The length of time to process your claim will depend on where in line you are, how complicated your claim is, and other variables.
- The VA makes a decision: Once the VA has processed your claim, it will mail you its determination via the U.S. Postal Service.
- Decide whether you agree with the VA decision and file a supplemental claim if you don’t.
If you do not agree with the VA decision on your medical claim, you can appeal using a VA Supplemental Claim.
It’s best to come to the appeal process with new supporting evidence and/or information unavailable at the time of the previous claim decision, “which may change VA’s decision regarding a claim,” according to VA.gov.
Why File a Supplemental Claim
As mentioned above, new medical evidence can motivate a supplemental claim, but so can new legislation such as the PACT Act, which requires the VA to add a list of new medical conditions to a list of “presumptive conditions” the VA assumes (automatically) are service-connected and worthy of compensation.
If you had a VA claim denied before PACT Act legislation increased the number of qualifying medical conditions, it makes sense to file a supplemental claim as you may be entitled to VA benefits you may have been denied prior to the passage of the PACT Act.
Read more: How the PACT Act Changed Your VA Benefits
Veterans may also file a supplemental claim if they would like VA to review their claim based on new legislation, for example, the newly implemented PACT Act.
VA.gov advises veterans to seriously consider doing so, but adds that your case may be stronger with any new relevant supporting documentation:
“If filing a supplemental claim for a newly presumptive condition due to the passage of the PACT Act or similar legislation, submitting new and relevant evidence may not be required but is still highly recommended.”
Veterans should include any medical evidence “documenting the diagnosis and severity of the claimed condition and proof of qualifying military service. Otherwise, the Veteran can ask VA to obtain some documentation, including medical records from a VA Medical Center or private insurance provider.”
To file a supplemental claim online, get started at the VA Supplemental Claim official page at VA.gov.
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.