NOTICE OF DISAGREEMENT After receiving an adverse RO decision, the initial step in the appeal process is to file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD). A NOD is defined as a “written communication from a claimant or his or her representative expressing dissatisfaction or disagreement with an adjudicative determination by the agency of original jurisdiction [the RO] and a desire to contest the result.” In layperson’s terms this means you must communicate your disagreement and desire to appeal in writing. As a veterans disability law firm, we often counsel veterans on filing their NODs. A NOD must be filed at the VA office that sent the claimant the notice of the determination being appealed.In many Regional Offices, an informal “reconsideration” is conducted upon request for employees of Veterans Service Organizations. If a claimant receives a notice tha the claimant’s records were transferred to another VA office, then the NOD must be filed with the VA office that received the records.A denial of a reopened claim or a claim alleging clear and unmistakable error in the previous decision is then appealable by fling a timely NOD on the new or reopened claim. In some cases, the best strategy is to use the one-year filing deadline time as an opportunity to better prepare and bolster a claim. While a NOD does not need to be lengthy, it should meet the following basic requirements: There must be a NOD for each issue of a claim.
When the last day falls on a weekend or holiday, the period ends on the next workday.The VA uses a legal doctrine called “.” This means that “if a letter properly directed is proved to have been either put into the post office or delivered to the postman, it is presumed, from the known course of business in the post office department, that it reached its destination at the regular time, and was received by the person to whom it was addressed.” It is recommended that you send your NOD with some form of proof of mailing.It is a good practice to send the NOD to both the medical facility and the RO because medical facilities are usually not accustomed to processing NODs. The deadline to file a NOD is one-year from the date of the mailing of the VA notice to the claimant regarding the adverse decision The date on the letter notifying the claimant is considered the “date of mailing.” A NOD postmarked before the expiration of the one-year deadline will be considered timely filed.The date is calculated by excluding the first day and counting the last day.If a claimant does not file a NOD or new and material evidence within the required one-year period, the claimant can pursue benefits by filing a new claim at the RO.
A new claim filed after the one-year NOD time period expires can allege that the prior decision to deny the claim is incorrect because it contains “clear and unmistakable error” (CUE). If the evidence supporting the claim is sufficient and the issues are clear, submitting the NOD immediately is the better strategy because it will start the claim moving through the appeal process immediately and protect against the NOD one-year filing deadline.The Secretary may extend the period in which to file a NOD, if “e” is shown. However, even if the time is extended the BVA may overrule the RO.If the deadline is missed, but the RO agrees to extend the deadline, it is recommended that a claimant also file a reopened claim with the RO, along with a letter explaining (1) the reopened claime is being filed to preserve the earliest possible effective date in the event that the VVA overrules the RO, and (2) the claimant requests that the RO postpone any action on the reopened claim until the pending appeal is finally decided.The RO is required to notify the claimant in writing.The law requires the notice to include the reasons for the denial and a summary of the evidence considered, as well as the appellate rights for the claimant.For example, a claimant may file one NOD for date of service connection, and a second NOD for the date of disability onset, and a third NOD for a disability rating.