If you were denied benefits in your claim for VA disability or if you believe your disability was rated too low, you can appeal the decision by filing a supplemental claim. Your supplemental claim must include evidence that is new or not provided to VA previously and relevant to your case.

The VA says that “new” evidence is simply that—new evidence submitted to the VA for the first time. It cannot be information that is already in VA records. It cannot be evidence a veteran has previously provided to the VA or evidence the VA has legally acquired on behalf of the veteran.

“Relevant” evidence is a fact or facts that VA did not have enough evidence to verify at the time of their prior decision. A fact that is necessary to substantiate the claim.

The VA says that submitted evidence which was previously reviewed in a claim denial is cumulative or redundant. It is not considered new and relevant.  Evidence previously reviewed in the decision that denied your claim can be found in your notification letter or rating decision. This may help you determine if the evidence you’re considering for submission is cumulative or redundant.

Here’s an example that may help clarify what is considered new and relevant evidence. Let’s say a veteran who is pursuing an Agent Orange claim has private doctor’s medical report that lists Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma as one of his diagnoses. If this veteran has never submitted this report to the VA, and his VA Claims File has no record of this disease, then this private medical report would be both new and relevant evidence.

You can file a Supplemental Claim anytime, but normally you should file within one year of VA's original decision.

Convincing the VA that you have new and relevant evidence can pose many challenges, but it can be the key to winning the VA disability benefits you were previously denied. If you applied for VA disability benefits and were denied, don’t give up. Call us at Cuddigan Law for a free review your case to see if you have grounds to appeal the denial.

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