It is not uncommon for an application for VA disability benefits to be denied, and the appeal process can be quite lengthy. However, some veterans are eligible to request a priority review. This means, they may be able to get their case resolved more quickly, so they are better able to access the benefits they need to provide for themselves and their families.
How to Ask for a Priority Review
The VA refers to a priority review as being Advanced on Docket. You will receive this status automatically if you are 75 or older. Veterans under age 75 can request that their appeal be Advanced on Docket if they meet one of the following criteria:
- They are experiencing financial distress.
- They have been diagnosed with a serious illness.
- They can provide evidence of another sufficient cause to justify a priority review.
These requirements are somewhat vague, which is understandably frustrating. However, a terminal illness, bankruptcy, pending foreclosure, current homelessness, or being the victim of a natural disaster would all be examples of situations that would warrant a priority review.
Your attorney can help you determine if your case might qualify for the Advanced on Docket status. If your case qualifies, your attorney will submit a letter with your name, VA file number for your claim, the reason you want a priority review, and any evidence you can provide to support your claim. For example, if you are filing for bankruptcy, your filing documents outlining your income, assets, and debts would provide proof of your financial distress.
If you don’t qualify for a priority review, the best way to increase your chances of being approved for benefits in a timely fashion is to work closely with an experienced attorney to prepare your appeal. Your attorney can prevent unnecessary delays by:
- Developing a solid legal argument
- Locating the correct supporting evidence
- Making sure you don’t miss any key filing deadlines
- Avoiding common mistakes that veterans often make when trying to handle their own cases
Do You Need to Speak With a Veterans Benefits Lawyer?
If you need to speak with an experienced veterans benefits lawyer, please contact us online, or call our Virginia Beach office to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia, including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk, and Suffolk.