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Federal Court Upholds VA Claim Regulations Requiring Use of Specific VA Forms

On April 7, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its decision in National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, Inc., v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, No. 2015-7025, a case that challenged the validity of regulations adopted in 2015 by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  The final rule adopted by the VA requires all claims and appeals to start by using VA forms.  Standard Claims and Appeals Forms, 79 FR 57,660 (Sept. 25, 2014).  The Federal Circuit upheld VA’s new rules, and held that VA may require forms from veterans to:

  1. notify VA of an “intent to file”using VA Form 21-0966;
  2. file a new claim using eBenefits or VA Form 21-526;
  3. file an appeal using VA’s Notice of Disagreement (NOD) Form 21-0958.

The court also rejected arguments that VA has a duty to develop claims that a veterans for which a claim has not been specifically filed.

TAKEAWAY FOR VETERANS:  BE SURE TO USE THE PROPER VA FORM AND FOLLOW VA’S RULES WHEN FILING OR APPEALING CLAIMS.

If your claim for VA service connected compensation was denied and you want to discuss your rights, call VA Disability Attorney John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

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