VA Improperly Rejects Some Claims for Not Being on a VA Form
Alex August 24, 2015
By: Todd M. Wesche
VA recently changed its rules for how it will accept claims for various benefits. Before the change, VA would accept either a “formal” or “informal” claim. A person applying for the benefits (known as a claimant) would submit a formal claim using VA’s forms and could also submit an informal claim without using the form.
On March 24, 2015, VA began requiring claimants to use its specific claim forms. If a claim filed on or after March 24th was not made on VA’s forms, VA will reject it.
However, VA has rejected some informal claims filed before the change took effect. When it does so, VA instructs the claimant to submit a new claim on the proper form, the VA Form 21-526EZ.
Submitting a new claim could be very harmful to the claimant! If it grants the benefit, VA would pay the benefits effective from the date it received the claim. So submitting a new claim could mean that benefits are not paid until days, months, or potentially years later than the claimant is entitled to.
To help ensure VA awards benefits from the earliest date possible, the claimant should submit the new claim on the VA Form 21-526EZ and also file a Notice of Disagreement (VA Form 21-0958) against VA’s decision to reject the informal claim filed before March 24, 2015.