Filing a Higher Level Appeal

Judge Writing On Paper And Gavel At Desk
Judge Writing On Paper And Gavel At Desk

If you disagree with VA’s decision, you can request to have a senior reviewer take a new look at your case. The reviewer will determine whether the decision can be changed based on a difference of opinion or an error.

You can request a Higher-Level Review of an initial claim or Supplemental Claim decision at any time but it is best to do it within 12 months from VA's decision on your original claim.

When filing a Higher-Level Review you cannot submit any evidence, the originally submitted evidence must stand. You (or your representative) can speak with the reviewer on the phone and state your case before a decision is made.

How to Request a Higher-Level Review

Complete a VA Form 20-0996 to request a higher level review.

You’ll need to list the issue(s) you disagree with and the VA decision date for each issue. You cannot submit any new evidence. If you wish to submit new evidence you should request a different type of secondary review. 

You may also request an informal phone conference with the reviewer. You, or your representative can speak via telephone with the review and explain why you believe that VA's decision was wrong or point out any errors you believe VA made.

You can either submit the completed form by mail or in person. 

What Happens Next?

You don’t need to do anything while you’re waiting unless VA sends you a letter asking for more information. If VA schedules exams for you, be sure not to miss them. You can check the status of your appeal on eBenefits.

If You Don't Agree With the VA's Supplemental Appeal Decision?

If you disagree with the VA's supplemental appeal decision, you can request either a Supplemental Review, or file for a Board Appeal, which means your case gets reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge. 

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