You’re nervous about going to court to overturn your disability decision, but you know it’s an important step to resolving your claim. If you present the evidence in your case, will the Court simply grant your benefits, or is there more to it than that?

What Are My Goals When I Face the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims?

If you received an unfavorable decision on your claim from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, your next step is to take your claim to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). This court cannot overturn the decision made by the Board, but it will review the decision-making process followed by the VA to determine if you have a basis to reopen your claim.

You can ask the CAVC to do any one of the following:

  • Acknowledge error in the decision. The Court's staff will discuss with your VA attorney to establish the basis of your appeal (in other words, which part of your claim or denial contains an error). Any errors must have a legal basis in order to qualify for appeal.
  • Petition for new evidence. The Court does not examine any new evidence that was not contained in your original claim. However, if an error is uncovered, the Court can send the claim back to the VA for a reconsideration of your case. A Court ruling to reopen your claim has two benefits: you are allowed to submit new evidence in your claim, and your original filing date is preserved (allowing you a greater amount of past due benefits).
  • Request an earlier disability date. The VA will usually grant an effective date for benefits on the date when the granted claim was filed. However, there are some cases where veterans can change the disability onset date to months or years prior to the date of filing (such as if past service medical records have been discovered by the VA).

Before you go in front of the Court, it is vital that you speak with an experienced VA disability attorney. Having an attorney by your side significantly increases the odds that your case will be resolved successfully. At Cuddigan Law, we can answer all of your questions before going before the CAVC, and advance all court costs until after your benefits have been won. Call us today to get started, or learn more about filing for benefits in our free book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims.


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