Reopening Your Claim: New and Material Evidence

VA_medicalIf you’ve returned from military duty with a service-connected injury or illness, you’re likely familiar with the process necessary for applying to get disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). After filling out a great deal of paperwork and pulling together the medical evidence needed to prove your claim, you still might have been denied by the VA.

After this denial, you may have appealed your claim with a hearing with the Decision Review Officer (DRO), a hearing by The Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA), and a hearing before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). Even if these options were unsuccessful, it’s still possible to reopen your initial claim if you have "new and material" evidence  

New and Material Evidence

To get a claim reopened, you need to provide new and material evidence to the VA—the claim can’t simply be opened automatically.

This evidence is information, medical reports, doctor opinions, a new diagnosis, lab findings, and/or other documentation you didn’t submit with your original application and is so significant and substantial to your claim, the VA would find it unreasonable to ignore it. On the basis of the new evidence, the VA must feel that there’s a solid possibility that the claim could be approved. We can help you appeal the denial of a re-opened claim.

What’s Considered New and Material Evidence

For the VA to consider your evidence as new and material, it must address the exact and specific reasons the VA denied your claim in the last denial delivered to you, and it must be:

  • New evidence that's not in your current VA records
  • Evidence other than what the VA has already acquired on your behalf
  • Evidence that's not cumulative or redundant
  • Evidence that relates to an “unestablished fact” that could help prove your claim
  • Evidence that would have a direct influence on the VA decision, such as a new diagnosis

Contact Cuddigan Law

Cuddigan Law has years of experience assisting veterans file applications and appeal denied claims, and they can help if you want to reopen an existing claim. Our skilled VA disability attorneys will examine your specific case and look at your new and material evidence to determine if it’s substantial enough to help get you an approved claim.

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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