Free Legal Representation on Disability Compensation Claims Appeals at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals
National Veterans Legal Services Program is starting a new Lawyers Serving Warriors (LSW) program to provide free legal representation to veterans whose disability compensation claims have been denied by a VA regional office and are now on appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).
1. What types of claims does your program assist with?
The program will provide free legal representation to veterans who appealed to the BVA a VA regional office decision that included at least one of the following types of claims:
- Service connection claims for a mental disorder (such as PTSD, depression, anxiety disorder)
- Increased disability rating claims for a mental disorder (such as PTSD, depression, anxiety disorder)
- Claims to restore a disability rating for any service connected disability for which the VA has reduced a rating
- Claims to reinstate disability compensation benefits when the VA has terminated benefits
2. Are there any timing issues affecting eligibility for assistance?
Yes. To be considered for our program, the following requirements must be met:
- The veteran must have submitted a substantive appeal (VA Form 9) to the VA; AND
- The veteran has not: (1) already had a hearing before a Board of Veterans’ Appeal member or judge, or (2) received a letter from a VA regional office indicating that it has completed its actions in the appeal process and that the case is ready for transfer to the BVA. This letter is commonly referred to as a “90-day letter” as the letter indicates that the veteran has 90 days to send the BVA additional evidence or appoint a representative for representation at BVA.
If you are not sure what a substantive appeal (VA Form 9) looks like, please click the following link: Form 9;
If you are not sure what a “90-day letter” looks like, please click the following link: 90 day letter
3. I believe I meet the basic eligibility requirements for the program, how do I request assistance from Lawyers Serving Warriors?
NVLSP will need to obtain your VA claims folder to screen the case for inclusion in the program. To request assistance, follow these steps:
- Download and complete our Privacy Act Waiver so that NVLSP can request your claims file.
- Send to NVLSP a copy of your substantive appeal (VA Form 9) and Statement of the Case.
- Complete a request for assistance at the following link: https://nvlsp.wufoo.com/forms/request-for-assistance-bva-appeal/
4. How do I send to NVLSP the three documents requested above?
Please send us these documents by one of the following methods:
By email: Lawyersserving@nvlsp.org
By fax: 202-328-0063
By mail: NVLSP
ATTN: LSW BVA
1600 K Street NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20006-2833