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Many veterans in Tennessee have suffered some sort of disabling injury or illness in connection with their service to the country. In these circumstances, the veteran can apply for disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

These veterans benefits work differently than, say, Social Security disability benefits. One important difference is that a veteran can be found partially disabled and receive payments commensurate with a partial disability. In the world of Social Security, either one is unable to work or is capable of employment and thus not eligible for disability payments.

A veteran who gets an unfavorable decision from Veterans Affairs also has to follow a different appeals process. For instance, the first step a veteran takes in an appeal is to file what is called a Notice of Disagreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Veterans Affairs then conducts an internal review, including a review of any additional documentation that a veteran submits in support of his or her position.

If Veterans Affairs upholds all or part of its position after review, it will send a Statement of the Case to the veteran applying for the benefits. The veteran will then have 60 days to appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals.

The Board’s review can take years, but in most cases, the end result is that the Board requires the original decisionmaker to examine the decision further. If a further appeal is needed, it gets to a federal appellate court that specializes in issues related to veterans. A vet must make sure to appeal to this court within the allotted timeframe.

While this serves as on overview as to how appeals of veterans disability benefits work, it is usually a good idea for a veteran in Southeast Tennessee needing to appeal a decision to get the help of an experienced attorney.