Navigating the complexities of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims can be a daunting task. Understanding the various avenues available for veterans seeking to appeal or supplement their claims is crucial. In this article, we will delve into VA Supplemental Claims explained by Garren Cone, an accredited claims agent from AVET appeals, as he sheds light on the significance of supplemental claims in the VA claims process.
The Power of Supplemental Claims
Garren Cone acknowledges the pros and cons of the Appeals Modernization Act of 2019, particularly focusing on the benefits of supplemental claims. He points out that these claims can reflect decisions made as far back as 2007, illustrating the temporal flexibility they offer to veterans. This temporal advantage allows veterans to open a supplemental claim even years after the initial decision, surpassing the typical one-year statutory limit in most instances.
The Core Requirement: New and Relevant Evidence
One crucial distinction with supplemental claims is the requirement to submit new and relevant evidence. Garren stresses the importance of understanding what constitutes “new and relevant” evidence. Previously, the term used was “material,” a legal term, but now the emphasis is on relevance. The evidence must have the potential to change the outcome, convincing the VA that their initial decision was incorrect.
The Role of Providers in Gathering Evidence
Garren underlines the significance of reliable providers like Prestige Veterans in the process. Whether veterans navigate the claims process alone or with the assistance of a claims agent or attorney, they must plan to provide the VA with fresh, impactful evidence. This evidence could stem from a thorough review of medical records or statements from reputable sources like Prestige Veterans.
Examples of New and Material Evidence
The discussion delves into examples of evidence that can be considered new and material. Garren notes that a migraine buddy log could serve as effective medical evidence. Furthermore, lay statements, even from a spouse or a combat buddy, can carry significant weight. Veterans need to consider the “well-grounded” nature of their claims. This involves establishing a connection between the incident in service, its current impact, and a causal connection.
The Weight of Evidence in the VA Process
Garren sheds light on the VA’s process of developing a claim and how evidence is weighed. He explains the concept of equipoise, where evidence from the veteran and the VA are weighed against each other. If the scale is even, the Reasonable Doubt Doctrine dictates that the decision must be in favor of the veteran. This underscores the importance of submitting substantial evidence, such as reports from reputable organizations like Prestige Veterans, to tilt the scales in the veteran’s favor.
The Human Element and the Role of Advocates
Leah Bucholz emphasizes the human element in the adjudication process, acknowledging that mistakes can occur. She highlights the importance of having a knowledgeable guide in the form of a claims agent, attorney, or a Veterans Service Organization (VSO) to navigate potential roadblocks. Garen supports this by stating that veterans can represent themselves but having a seasoned professional can be immensely beneficial, especially when facing challenges.
In conclusion, supplemental claims offer veterans a valuable opportunity to introduce new and impactful evidence into their claims process. Understanding the intricacies, requirements, and the weight assigned to evidence is crucial. The insights provided by an accredited claims agent like Garren Cone and the support of reliable organizations like Prestige Veteran can significantly enhance a veteran’s chances of success in their pursuit of VA disability benefits. Veterans are encouraged to leverage the resources available to them and make informed decisions throughout the claims process.
At Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting, a veteran-owned company, we specialize in Independent Medical Opinions (IMOs) known as Nexus letters.
Our purpose is to empower YOU, the veteran, to take charge of your medical evidence and provide you with valuable educational tools and research to guide you on your journey.
Understanding the unique challenges veterans face, our commitment lies in delivering exceptional service and support.
Leveraging an extensive network of licensed independent medical professionals, all well-versed in the medical professional aspects of the VA claims process, we review the necessary medical evidence to incorporate in our reports related to your VA Disability Claim.
Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting is not a law firm, accredited claims agent, or affiliated with the Veterans Administration or Veterans Services Organizations. However, we are happy to discuss your case with your accredited VA legal professional.