New Standardized Notice of Disagreement (VA Form 21-0958)

If a veteran or claimant receives a Rating Decision from a VA Regional Office and disagree with that decision they need to file a Notice of Disagreement [hereinafter "NOD"].  A NOD is a “written communication from a claimant or his representative expressing dissatisfaction or disagreement with an adjudicative determination of an agency of original jurisdiction.”  38 C.F.R. § 19.113.  The NOD must be filed within one year from the date of the underlying Regional Office [hereinafter "RO"] decision, and if no NOD is filed within the one-year appeal period following the RO decision, the decision will become final.  See 38 U.S.C. § 7105(b)(1).

Previously, there was no standardized form for a veteran to file a NOD.  Most veterans used the general VA Form 21-4138 (Statement in Support of Claim), some veterans simply filed a letter disagreeing with the decision, and some veterans simply telephonically contacted the VA disagreeing with the decision (something I highly discourage).

In February 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a new form intended to bring uniformity to the NOD process, the VA Form 21-0958.  To date, I have had positive results by using this form and I suspect this simplifies the appellate process for the ROs.  I have uploaded this form at VBA-21-0958-ARE (Notice of Disagreement).  * I’ll note the form does not include a block that indicates whether the veteran is requesting review before a Decision Review Officer (DRO) or a traditional appeal.  I suggest that the veteran clearly annotate on the form, or in an accompanying correspondence, which method they are requesting.*

If you received an unfavorable Rating Decision and need assistance in filing a NOD, please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation at sdirector@finkrosner.com or (732) 382-6070.

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Seth Director

About Seth Director

Over nine years of trial and appellate litigation experience at the Department of Justice and the Army Judge Advocate General Corps where I frequently handled high profile, complex litigation before various federal courts. I am now an associate in the Veterans’ Law section at the law firm of Fink Rosner Ershow-Levenberg, LLC, and a Department of Veterans Affairs accredited attorney. The Veterans’ Law section at Fink Rosner Ershow-Levenberg offers nationwide representation at all levels of the VA administrative process, as well as in the Federal court system, at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. I focus solely on Veterans’ law and Veteran-related issues, claims and benefits and can offer a unique perspective as a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

150 thoughts on “New Standardized Notice of Disagreement (VA Form 21-0958)

  1. Hello,
    I am trying to download VA form 21-0958 that was mentioned above. The page is blank. I am trying to appeal a negative decision on my agent orange compensation case. I did not serve in Viet Nam but I feel I was exposed to the poison while in Ranger training camp at Eaglin Air Base.
    Is there any way I can be Emailed the form to the above email address??
    Thank you.
    jerry

  2. Me too! Me too!

    I was overpaid in my dependency claim, I’d like a copy of the form as well, please.

  3. Anne,

    Happy to oblige and will email the NOD Form to you. That said, if you are having a overpayment issue you’ll need to contact the VA Debt Management Center. More information can be found http://www.va.gov/debtman/. Feel free to give me a call at (732) 382-6070 if you have questions. Good Luck. Seth

  4. Hi

    I received a letter dated 08/30/2013 informing me that I was rated at 30% for dysthemia disorders. But the VA never received medical documentation from my Psychiatrist who made a diagnosis of PTSD. Should I send info from my private psych with the NOD?

  5. Freddie,

    If you are disagreeing with a Rating Decision from the Regional Office and have relevant information (to include private medical treatment records) that support any issue subject to that Notice of Disagreement I would strongly recommend that you provide those documents in support of your NOD. Indeed, the VA Form 21-0958 has a block indicating what other evidence you are submitting along with the NOD. Just be aware that the VA will not issue a separately compensable disability rating for PTSD along with a dysthemia disorder (which is essentially a form of depression). Feel free to give me a call to discuss further and good luck.

    Sincerely,

    Seth

  6. Hello,
    Could you email me the NOD form….it is coming up blank when I attempt to download it. I am in need of assistance of an appeal. The VA is considering (proposed) lowering my current disability rating of 90% to 80% due to an recent x-ray of my knees and back. I was initially diagnoised with Degenarative joint disease about two yrs ago and now all sudden it has disappeared by x-ray results but my initial ratings were based from MRI’s. Thanks for listening!

  7. Douglas,

    I’d be happy to. Be aware that if you merely received a proposed reduction in rating percentage (or severance of service-connection) it is premature to file the Notice of Disagreement. As the proposed reduction in rating notification informs you, you can file additional evidence with the Regional Office within 60 days for consideration. Additionally, although the notification does not explicitly inform you, you can request a predetermination hearing pursuant to 38 C.F.R. § 3.105(i).

    Good Luck and I’ll email you the form shortly.

    Seth

  8. Happy to oblige. It appears that the VA has changed the link to VA Form 21-0958. I’ll provide a new link to the fillable PDF version of VA Form 21-0958 shortly. Seth

  9. May I get the form as well. I am not able to download the form from the VA website. Thank you in advance!!!

  10. Maricela,

    Happy to oblige. One thing I suggest is that veterans indicate in a cover correspondence whether they are requesting review by a decision review officer (DRO). Otherwise, your Regional Office will mail under separate cover notification if you are requesting traditional appeal or review my a DRO. Good Luck. Seth

  11. I have been appealing decisions from the VA since 1992. I have provided information from my VA psychiatrist and therapist, and people who know me. Three doctors have diagnosed me with PTSD service related and how can you people send me to a CNP doctor who sends in a doctor who believes that women do not have a voice. Why can’t you use original doctor’s notes to make a decision. I have been fighting a battle with my knees and feet for over 20 years and still you award me 10% for only my knees.

    Dr. Thornton

  12. Mattie:

    Just for clarification, neither myself nor anyone at Fink Rosner Ershow-Levenberg are employed by or work for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our firm represents veterans who are appealing decisions from the VA. We would be happy to discuss your issues and, hopefully, explain what proactive measures you can take to strengthen your claim. Sincerely, Seth

  13. I am trying to download the VA NOD form 21-0958 but the VA website shows an error or it blank.
    The VA only gave me 10% for a wrist injury/surgery. I have constant pain on my wrist and it affects my everyday tasks & work. The VA has also given me less than 10% on my hypertension even though I’m on three medications. They say I have to have my BP has to be over 100. If I stop taking the meds it will go over. This is ridiculous because it seems like I have to stop taking the meds to prove to them I have hypertension.
    Respectfully,
    Jose

  14. Jose,

    Again, happy to oblige and I’ll email you with a copy of the form. I’ll also provide the rating schematic for hypertension so you understand how the VA rates that disability. Sincerely, Seth

  15. Hi Seth,

    First of all, thank you for your blog here and for your comments and help on other veteran’s disability claims forums, I’m sure you’ve provided invaluable information to many veterans.

    I would appreciate it if you would email me the VA NOD form 21-0958. I have tried and tried and tried to download it from the web using 3 different browsers (Firefox, IE and Safari) after making sure that I had the latest updated Adobe reader (which I do) and STILL… blank page. So frustrating! I even went to the Atlanta VARO today and asked them for the form. After waiting for about an hour to even be called to te “reception” desk, I was handed the wrong form (Statement in Support of claim). When I questioned that, (providing them with the correct form number and everything) they told me that, even though my claim had been decided, I was supposed to use the form they gave me to REQUEST the 21-0958 form and then AFTER they processed that, they would mail me the 21-0958 and THEN I could file my Notice of Disagreement. Needless to say, I left a very frustrated veteran!

    Then, as I was slowly walking away from the VARO (I have been awarded a 10% rating for injuries to my foot) towards my car, I encountered a VARO employee who was kind enough to stop and answer my question about the 21-0958 (whether I need it or not) and HE said “Just write it down on a blank sheet of paper, that’s enough.” HUH? I finally left the campus more confused than ever! So, I figured that I would contact the ONE person who seems to actually know what the — he was talking about and request the form from you.

    Thanks in advance for sending it to me. I will try to make heads or tails of this on my own for now, but you just might have yourself a new client!

    Again, thanks for all you do for your fellow veterans.

  16. RoseG:

    Happy to provide. The VA has actually proposed a regulatory change that would require veterans to file a Notice of Disagreement on the VA Form 21-0958. While not yet enacted, clearly the VA would prefer the submission of a NOD on the form developed for that purpose instead of the VA Form 21-4138.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me again if you have and questions and good luck.

    Seth

  17. RoseG:

    Happy to provide. The VA has actually proposed a regulatory change that would require veterans to file a Notice of Disagreement on the VA Form 21-0958. While not yet enacted, clearly the VA would prefer the submission of a NOD on the form developed for that purpose instead of the VA Form 21-4138.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me again if you have and questions and good luck.

    Seth

  18. Filed claim for PTSD and back 2010,denied 2012, filed NOD few days after. Should I send in up to date medical or keep it until I hear from the board that first made the decision. Also would it be practical to do a FDC and forget about lost time.

  19. Dwayne,

    Feel free to give me a call at (732) 382-6070 or via email (sdirector@finkrosner.com) to discuss further. It terms of providing new medical records . . . it depends. If you were denied for lack of diagnosis of PTSD or lack of confirmation of an in-service stressor and those documents are relevant then I would definitely do so immediately. It sounds like you are aware that a claim (it this case I’m defining claim as a particular issue) cannot (or at least should not) be in both appellate status and as a new claim as an FDC. If you were denied SC already and file a new claim for PTSD, then it will be considered a request to reopen a previously denied claim. In which case, the Regional Office will go through an initial threshold inquiry to determine if you have provided new and material evidence in support of your claim. This increases the evidentiary burden on a veteran and I would not advise that a veteran introduce another variable in an already complex adjudication process.

    Good Luck

    Seth

  20. Is there any chance you can send me the 21-0958 I have updated my adobe but nothing happens. Even tried on my Ipad. Do you have any advice on SCD shin splint claim but 0% rating?

  21. Tym:

    Will email you the form. In relation to your claim for shin splints (currently rated at 0%), I suspect that the predominant rating factor used for this disability was range-of-motion of the lower limb (ankle). In this type of scenario, usually the best way to address the rating percentage is for the veteran to describe (in lay terms) how this disability effects them. At that point, I can assess whether the diagnostic code used properly reflects the predominant disability. Happy to review a copy of the rating decision and walk you through the process.

    Good Luck

    Seth

  22. I am also attempting to download 21-0958. I have tried on all devices and it is saying I do not have the correct version of Adobe (lies). I would greatly appreciate it if you could email me this form so I can edited it in PDF form.

    Thanks in advance.

  23. Gentlemen,
    Could you please send me an email copy of VA form 21-0958 Notice Of Disagreement? The one that I received from VA is illegible. Thank you, Tom Nolan.

  24. Tom,

    Easily resolved, will email in a few minutes will PDF fillable version of NOD Form. Please don’t hesitate to contact me back if you have any procedural or substantive questions.

    Seth

  25. Dear Sir,

    I recently had my rating increased from 20% to 30% due to a back injury I sustained while serving. The problem now is I can’t walk due to numbness and lack of feeling in my left leg, and I’m in pain 24/7. I have an undiagnosed condition as every doctor I’ve seen can’t explain it. I want to appeal my rating increase, but I’m not sure exactly how to go about it. I’ve also tried to download the Notice of Disagreement form, but I keep getting a website telling me to update my Adobe Reader. Could you please email me the proper form, and any advice thereafter would be greatly appreciated.

    Jason

  26. Jason:

    Happy to do so and you should receive an email containing the NOD Form shortly. Have your physicians mentioned the possibility of radiculopathy? This is a common issue associated with lower back injury and can result in pain/numbness in the lower limbs. From my perspective, getting proper treatment is the most critical concern, however, be aware that many veterans are secondarily service connected for lower limb radiculopathy and will receive a separate rating under a different diagnostic code for this condition. Good Luck. Seth

  27. Seth:

    I’m in the process of preparing an NOD for the Agent Orange IHD claim received. There are numerous errors which I won’t go into at this time. However, my primary concern right now is whether or not if I am limited as to how much I am allowed to submit on each area of disagreement; such as evaluation percentage, service connection, etc?

  28. Richard:

    Negative, in fact each issue that you are disagreeing with in the NOD should be clearly identified in the notice of disagreement. This will save both you and your Regional Office significant time and headaches. As you are aware there are often multiple issues for service connected disability related to vital organs (effective date of award, secondary service connected disabilities, rating percentages, etc…) Will email you the same to give you a reference point if you want to explain your particular concerns. Sincerely, Seth.

  29. Seth – have been trying to download th VA Form 21-0958, the Notice of Disagreement and the page is blank, no form available to print. Would you be so kind to forward said form to my email so that I may print it? Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

  30. Tom,

    No problem. I uploaded another recently link from the VA with the NOD form, but vets are still having issues with the VA link (PFD compatibility issues it appears). Regardless, will forward you fillable PDF VA Form 21-0958.

    Seth

  31. Hello Seth,
    I too would appreciate if you can send me the fillable PDF VA Form 21-0958.

    I have just received my ratings and my number #1 disabling disability is IBS but for that I have received 0%. I developed this condition when returning from Saudi Arabia, 1997 and I have been consistently treated for this condition with lomotil since then. I have experienced some ‘accidents’ frequently in the past 5 years. I have seen a specialist in 2010 and he told me I should not have been on lomotil for this long. He also told me lomotil has made my colon lazy and now I must wear special undergarments. Along with this IBS comes, severe cramping, gas and bloating. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all you do.
    Sandy

  32. Sandy,

    Will email you a copy of the fillable PDF copy of VA Form 21-0958. As an aside did attempt to convert the PDF NOD to Word Format, however, the fillable version could not be converted. We try and figure out a solution.

    In terms of IBS, I suspect that you are rated under Diagnostic Code 7319 (spastic colitis, mucous colitis, etc.).
    Below is the rating schematic for this DC, however, the path of least resistance is for your treating physician to complete a Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) for this disability and provide that completed copy along with your NOD (VA Form 21-0958). Will also provide that form in email.

    Moderate irritable colon syndrome, with frequent episodes of bowel disturbance with abdominal distress, is assigned a 10 percent rating. Severe irritable colon syndrome, with diarrhea, or alternating diarrhea and constipation, with more or less constant abdominal distress, is assigned a maximum 30 percent rating. See, 38 C.F.R. § 4.114, Diagnostic Code 7319.

    Seth

  33. Could you e-mail me Form 21-0958 so I can file a NOD claim. Thanks. I’m unable to download it as well.

  34. Lorraine,

    Can do. Clearly there is an issue with the VA link for certain web browsers and/or older versions of acrobat reader. Fink Rosner will take another shot at converting the PDF into Word format and will provide link if possible.

    Seth

  35. Seth, perhaps you can help me. My husband is an 81 year old veteran with a 10% disability due to radiation exposure in 1953 on a carrier during the atomic blasts in the Marshal Islands, while in the Navy. He has had on going skin cancer problems throughout the years. Now he is in a vegetative state due to advanced Alzheimer’s. I care for him at home. In March of 2013 I submitted a request for a disability rating increase and some assistance for his home care. I received a denial letter in August, 2013 because the Alzheimer’s was not service related. I also received a letter in August stating that because he was incapacitated he needed help managing his VA benefits and that the VA may need to appoint a fiduciary for him. I immediately sent them a letter stating I was his wife of 53 years, I had his power of attorney, and that I was caring for him at home. On Jan 14, 2014 I received another letter from the VA stating they will find someone to manage his VA benefits. I called the VA benefits office and tried to get some answers as to why they were proceeding with the appointment of a fiduciary. I was told to call the Western Area Fiduciary Hub (WAFH) and speak with them. They told me it was just a formality someone would come to our home and ensure my husband was being cared for properly. On Jan 18, 2014 I received a letter form the WAFH Telling me to have ready for them a list of all our assets, bank accounts with numbers and bank statements, stocks, bonds, properties, incomes, letters of good character, addresses of next of kin. When I complained I was told I could appeal via VA form 21-0958. I tried to obtain the form via the internet and could not. Reading all the other questions written above, it seems this is not the form I needed anyway. His pension for 22 years of service in the Navy and Army reserve is $800 a month! Is there anything I can do to stop this? Nellie Sayer

  36. Robert,

    Can do. FYI, last night I walked I attempted to access the VA Linked NOD through various webbrowsers and operating systems (Windows XP, 7, 8 and Apple). The issue is acrobat updated its reader recently and unless the veteran has the most updated version of acrobat reader, they will be unable to access the NOD through the VA site. Long-winded answer, simply response . . . will provide a readable PDF copy of NOD via email. Good Luck, Seth

  37. Nellie,

    Providing the VA NOD to you via email is no problem, however, there are a number of different issues going on in relation to your husband’s claims. Feel free to give me a call at (732) 382-6070 and I’ll walk you through some of them in the simplest fashion possible. In relation to the decision of incompetency, if this is a proposed action then it is premature to file a NOD, if you received a final decision on competency then you’ll need to file a Notice of Disagreement. In relation to the decision to not grant an increase in disability rating, there is some scientific evidence to suggest a correlation between Alzheimer’s Disease and radiation exposure. Additionally, I would be curious to see the initial rating decision (I assume from the 1950s), veterans are not service connected for the type of exposure (be it radiation, Agent Orange, VOC exposure, Asbestosis) they are service connected for conditions related to that exposure. Finally, I’d be happy to triage the issue of filing a claim for Non-service Connected Disability Pension with Aid and Attendance. This may be the path of least resistance to get you and your husband much needed financial assistance. FYI, no person or entity should be charging any fees related to filing such an application, if you are considering such services advertised on the internet, please contact me and I’ll direct you towards free resources in your area. Email coming shortly. Seth

  38. Could you e-mail me Form 21-0958 so I can file a NOD claim. Thanks. I’m unable to download it as well.

    Despite being Diagnosed with severe DJD of the neck (accepted as SC) and VA CT scans and MRI’s that show that it has gotten worse … the claims board states it is getting better because of a transcription error on a recent follow up C& P that said I have 50 degrees of range of motion to the left [when I actually have 15] … multiple VA progress notes show the worsening condition and nerve damage … but the board claims they have no documentation. So once again I will provide them with copies of their own notes and copies of their own CT and MRI results but need the new form to do so .. any advice to counter this blatant denies of their own specialists (rheumatologists, radiologists and physical therapists) conclusions would be appreciated … thanks for what you do

  39. Bruce,

    Can do and will email you shortly. That said, I am concerned about the terminology “Claims Board”. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals is a different subcomponent of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Will clarify with you via email so I can feel secure knowing that you are filing the right appellate form. FYI, the path of least resistance will be to have your treating physician complete a DBQ for back. Will email that form to you too. Good Luck Seth

  40. I’m not sure the place you’re getting your info, but
    good topic. I needs to spend a while learning more or figuring out more.
    Thank you for excellent info I was searching for this information for my mission.

  41. Can you send me a copy of VA Form 21-0958 via PDF file so I can fill it out online and then make copies as required…this is so much easier then filling it in by hand.

    I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and surgery was performed at the McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, VA. Unfortunately, nerves were severed and tissue destroyed leaving me iimpotent and incontenent. I wish to apply for compensation for these disabilities as my “creative organ” was fine prior to surgery and I suffered on incontenence as well prior to the operation. I was operated on September 19,2011 and have no achieved an erection since that date…Viagra and the pump doesn’t work…

    Please advise of what you believe I should do??? Thanks in advance for your time and assistance.

  42. Dennis,

    Sorry about the delay in response, but we’ve got a bit of a snow issue in the Northeast. Will email you form, however, if you are initially filing a claim this is not the form you would use. Feel free to give me a call because there are a few questions I have before explaining what actions you need to take.

    Seth

  43. Seth,

    Please send me a copy of VA Form 21-0958 via PDF file. I have the latest version of Adobe Reader, Win 7, and have tried to download with Chrome and Firefox. I have issues with IE and don’t use. Thanks

  44. Joe, will email you with form on Monday. Still haven’t given up the idea converting form into Word format, but to date our computer folks met with resistance. Seth.

  45. Michelle,

    Will do via email. As I tell all veterans, feel free to email/call if you have procedural or substantive questions about your claims. Regardless of the need for formal representation, a short telephone call with the veteran will usually serve two critical needs: (1) triage the issue for the veteran and explain what actions they need to take; and (2) adds to the institutional knowledge of this firm which permits us to better serve the veterans we currently represent and those we will represent in the future. Seth

  46. Good evening can you Email me a copy of the VA Form 21-0958. thank you very much.

    Willie King

  47. Willie,

    Will do. As always, if you have any procedural or substantive questions about filing the Notice of Disagreement, please do not hesitate to call or email. Seth

  48. would you please e-mail me a copy of VA Form 21-0958. I tried to download the from and the page is blank. I need to file a disagreement. thanks juan

  49. I recently received a partial denial of my disability claim. I am getting a NOD ready to mail. Is it best to have an attorney or is it best to use a VA organization like DAV.org to go through the appeal process?

  50. Don, I don’t know if there is an absolute answer to your question. In many cases, a veteran, or a veteran with the assistance of a VSO, are perfectly capable of handling the issues on appeal. Other claims are decidedly more complex and require a level of regulatory/statutory understanding and time investment that really does require the assistance of someone with a deeper understanding of Title 38. Again, happy to provide consultation to triage the issues on appeal in your claim regardless of you want for legal representation. Seth

  51. I hate to be the 10,000th person to ask, but would you please send me the NOD. I can’t open it either. Thank you.

  52. Could you e-mail me Form 21-0958 so I can file a NOD claim. Thanks. I’m unable to download it as well.

  53. Seth, could you e-mail me Form 21-0958. I read a lot of your comments, thanks .

  54. Harry, Can do. I don’t think we’ll ever resolve the issue of why many veterans are unable to download the fillable PDF version of VA Form 21-0958; however, I’m always a fan of providing a simple solution to a complex issue so email will be coming shortly. Seth

  55. Can you please email a non PDF format of the form. I am trying to help my father in-law appeal a decision and cannont get the PDF versions to work. Thank you

  56. I like all the comments. Please e-mail me a copy of VA Form 21-0958 (Notice of Disagreement? Thank you

  57. Seth, thank you so kindly. I have another question. When the VA tell you to send a letter if you disagree with what they approve do you still have to send the VA form 21-0958 or wait until you hear from them again. Thanking you so kindly in advance.

  58. Would it be possible to give you a telephone call and if so what would be a convenient time.

  59. Hello Seth again I wish to thank you. I received an award of 90%. I sent in a request for 10% unemployability. Then I sent in a letter of Disagreement not the VA Form 21-0958 because I had two issue’s that I disagreed with. Now that I have received the VA Form21-0958 from you should I just wait until I hear from the VA or go ahead and send in the VA Form 21-0958.

  60. James, just give me a call and I can walk you through. Technically, there is no such thing as filing a claim for employability. Is the VA Form 21-8940 was filed your Regional Office should have opened up a claim (likely increase in disability rating) for any condition listed on the VA Form 21-8940 as effective employability. Seth

  61. James,

    You or any veteran can call my office between 8am and 6pm, ETS. If I’m unable to answer, I should be able to give you a call back that day. Again, usually able to triage the issues and give my suggestion on how to proceed quickly, so don’t worry it.

    Seth

  62. I need help downloading form 21-0958 (Notice of disagreement. Can you please email me a copy?? Thanks.

  63. I need help downloading form 21-0958 (Notice of disagreement). Can you please email me a copy? Thank you

  64. Carly, no problem. Will forward the PDF Fillable version of VA Form 21-0958. Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you have questions in the future. Seth

  65. Hello Seth,

    I received a letter from the VA with rating of zero (0%) for bilateral hearing loss, due to the C&P hearing exam was deemed in accurate, therefore my(Military) in service hear test were used in place of the C&P exam, which I believe to be in accurate. I have had to Puretone audiometric exam conducted (Years 2012 & 2013)by professional audiology and each reports supports Severe-profound hearing loss in both ears. Should I file a Decision Review Officer (DRO ) or a Traditional. Please advise.

    2012 Results@ Professional Audiology Services
    1K 2K 3K 4K
    R 65 67 85 90
    L 80 80 90 95

    2013 Results @Richmond VA
    1K 2K 3K 4K
    R 80 85 90 97
    L 93 95 100 100

  66. Eddie, beat you to punch. Below email response, explains two issues I commonly see confused: (1) exceptional patterns of hearing loss under 38 CFR 4.86; and (2) difference between DRO review versus traditional appeal.
    FYI, if you were recently discharged and your hearing thresholds have decreased that dramatically please go follow-up with doc because something medically may be causing that type of hearing loss beyond normal diminishment associated with age. Seth
    ______________

    Foremost, I have never seen that huge a discrepancy between VA (or mil) audiology examination and private audiology examination. Don’t know what your speech discrimination is (this is usually where I see differences in examinations), but the puretone DB provided qualifies for what is considered an “exceptional patterns of hearing impairment” under 38 CFR 4.86. Without considering speech discrimination, I calculate 2013 average DB at 88 (R) and (L) 97. Under Table VIA and Table VII this equates to 50%.

    To answer your question, in most circumstances I request review before a decision review officer (DRO). The timeline for appeal via traditional appeal (reviewed by rater without power to review de novo) and DRO is proximately the same and DROs have power to review the evidence without consideration of the prior rating decision (de novo is latin for “of the new”). I would list the type of review you are requesting in the NOD to eliminate the need for the VA to issue separate notification.

    Despite literature on the internet indicating that “traditional appeal” means direct appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (just reviewed Vietnam Veterans of America conflating the issue), there will always be either promulgation of a rating decision (granting issue[s] on appeal) and/or Statement of Case. If the veteran wishes to further appeal after promulgation of the Statement of Case they then have 60 days to perfect an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals through submission of a VA Form 9.

  67. I am unable to obtain a copy of the VA Form 21-0958. Could I get a link for this paperwork. I am coming to the end of my NOD time. I have tried to seek help from local offices and no one will help me. I also lost my paperwork from my disability rating during a move. I requested copies but am still waiting on a reply. I am not sure what else to do other than file my NOD now.

  68. Shawn, can and will do. Feel free to give me a call to discuss at (732) 382-6070. If you have signed up for ebenefits you should be able to access information regarding the prior decision. Seth

  69. While on active duty between 1989-1995 I received a root canal that cause my tongue to become seriously infected. This infection of my tongue cause me to lose taste and several teeth and bone. During my active duty tour this root canal cause the tooth next to it to also become infected. After being discharge from active service on January1995. I was told that I had 90 days to get my dental work done at my local VA. I promptly report to my local VA two weeks after my discharge from active duty. I was refused treatment and told that I did not qualify. I joined the National Guard and was placed on Tittle 10 orders several time. Once again I was told that I could not received treatment from the VA up to 90 days after coming off active duty order(DD 214 was in Hand). I was refused once again. I was told as I had DD 214 in hand that I made to much money. Therefore, I could not received treatment. I submitted a VA Claim but I was denied on the basis of this injuries not being cause by combat or service trauma. I know experience bone loss and loss of teeth and constant pain. I have lost my ability to distinguished difference taste.

    Note:
    After having received dental care at the army facility in Louisiana the examiner ordered me to go to the VA Medical Center to finish my treatment because the assets to treat me were not readily available. I was advised once again that I had 90 days to have treatment completed. The treatment did not get completed, as I was denied care coming off of active duty status but, still with in the 90 days to have received the needed treatment. This situation has definitely affected my quality of life.
    ANY ADVISED WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

    THANKS,

  70. Joe,

    Eligibility for dental care through the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Care administration operates much differently than general eligibility for other disabilities. Below hyperlink details eligibility, but the one most applicable to your situation would be if you are (or can be) service connected for a disability related to dental.

    If you believe loss of tooth/TMJ/loss of taste is related to the root canal you had in service, you’ll need to file a claim with your local Regional Office for service connected compensation.

    Otherwise, Your local VAMC (this is the VHA not the VBA) will make the determination as to whether you are eligible for dental care. This is an appealable decision. That said, personally I would talk to the patient advocate at your local VAMC. Most issues regarding treatment can be resolved informally.
    http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/publications/IB10-442_dental_benefits_for_veterans_2_14.pdf

  71. I’m trying to get the NOD form, it says I need a newer PDF version, but I can’t download it since it’s a company tablet. Also, if I was paid a severance check when separated from the Navy, and the VA took it back before I start getting my disability, how can I fight that one! Due to that situation, it caused me to fall behind in nearly every bill, and credit car, and eventually, I had to file bankruptcy? What can I do, do you know a way to fight this?

  72. Aidan,

    In terms, of providing copy of PDF fillable NOD form . . . can do. The severance pay recoupment is a different issue and was likely proper recoupment by the VA. I’ll email you the section of the VA Adjudication Manual on severance pay for your review. Feel free to give me a call to discuss at (732) 382-6070. Seth

  73. I have read all of your comments and needless to say I am in the same boat with everyone else trying to obtain a VA Form 21-0958 Notice of Disagreement. I am going to appeal my rating of 70% due to being unemployable. I have a letter from my previous employer telling me I can not be hired due to my PTSD. I ran into all the same problems everyone has with this form. Any chance you can email me one. I would deeply appreciate your help. Thanks, Henry

  74. Henry, Can do and will disregard. In terms of TDUI, please make sure you have fully completed and submitted the VA Form 21-8940. Good luck. Seth

  75. I am also having trouble down loading the NOD form Can you also email it to my email address. I received my finding and there was one that VA gave me zero percent however it is directly related to me being in the military for 23 years

  76. Deneal, can do. One thing to be aware of is if the VA granted service connection then they are not contesting the fact that the injury/disease/disability is related to service . . . the current level of disability what they rated you for (it appears at a noncompensable (0%)). In short, current level of disability is the critical factor. Will email the same shortly. Seth

  77. Ashley, Will email you the PDF Fillable version of VA Form 21-0958. I would suggest notifying your Regional Office in the NOD whether you are requesting DRO or traditional appeal. Will save your Regional Office from having to send separate notification. Seth

  78. I have been trying to get the form VA Form 21-0958. The form is blank an I can’t get it. Is there some where that I an get the form. I have downloaded everything that the site said I needed but it comes up blank. In need of some help please. Craig

  79. Craig, PDF fillable VA Form 21-0958 forwarded via email. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns. Seth

  80. hello, I have been trying to get the VA Form 21-0958. All I keep getting is a blank page. Is there anyway I can emailed the from? I find it very unprofessional to submit a hand filled out form. Thank you for you time.

    VR
    Daryl K.

  81. I also tried to download the form and it comes up blank. Could you possibly email the form? Thank you.

  82. Daryl,

    Will forward via email and confident that the triage team at your local RO will appreciate a typed Notice of Disagreement. Seth

  83. Ned,

    Forwarded PDF fillable version of VA Form 21-0958. Feel free to give me a call at (732) 382-7060. Very common that a veteran simply needs constructive guidance and not formal representation. Regardless, I would be happy to triage some of the issues and discuss if representation is possible or even needed. Seth

  84. Couldn’t download form VA Form 21-0958. All the pages were blanks. Could you also email me a copy of VA Form 21-0958. Thank you.
    PS I also will need help in filing the disagreement form.

  85. I too am trying to obtain VA Form 21-0958 but, have been unable to do so. If it is not too much trouble, could you please email me a copy?

    Thank you in advance!

    Anina

  86. Woodford, Can do with the emailed form. Feel free to contact me at (732) 382-6070 or via email at sdirector@finkrosner.com. Many veterans/claimants who reach out to me genuinely do not need formal representation, merely guidance on how to proceed. Each claim I review adds to my collective knowledge and makes me a more informed advocate so please don’t hesitate to contact. Seth

  87. I am a 63 y.o. Vietnam Era Vet, living in Costa Rica, and preparing my NOD for VARO Houston due September 7, 2014. I was Rated 30% SC in 1973. Disability is due to traumatic amputation by propeller shaft of Right Great Toe & 1/3 Metatarsal bone. I am seeking help preparing my NOD, and representation before the VA. I sought an increase in my rating due to: moderate/severe sciatica; painful, debilitating scar tissue; increased ankylosis, clawing and limitation of motion; exfoliating tropical fungal skin infection; abscess acquired (Right foot); shortening of limb; partial loss of use of foot; also, IU – Unemployed since Nov. 2008. Effective date of this claim is Jan. 9, 2012. VA allowed 10% for mild sciatica; nothing for other claims. I hope your firm can help – Thank you.

  88. Thank you for posting this. I just found out there was an actual NOD form now.
    I filed an NOD for P&T from my initial claim. I was rated at 100% in Jan 2012 but it said I would have future exams. I submitted the P&T NOD letter in July 2012 but they did not treat it as a NOD, AND added it to my “deferred” claims. I was unaware they did this and waited for the NOD response. By the time I seen what they did, it was over the 1 year time limit to file. This past week I sent in a letter stating what happen, that I want the NOD to be processed and that I’d like it done through DRO.
    Can they just close my NOD and move it onto the list of “deferred” claims? If so, I guess I’ll be waiting forever for this to be adjudicated.
    Thank you for any info/assistance.
    - Chief

  89. Stephen, Foremost, I factually understand why the RO would want to first adjudicate the deferred issues before making a determination of P&T. Frankly, it is probably in your interest to first have the RO considered the deferred issues [appellate timelines are approaching 2 years on average].

    That said, P&T is a final adjudicative agency determination that would be subject to appeal. Indeed, this determination would form the predicate for eligibility for Chapter 35 educational benefits. I’ve attached link to a BVA decision that provides insight into the controlling laws and regulations governing P&T at http://www.va.gov/vetapp03/files/0300974.txt

    Seth

  90. Hi, I also am unable to download the VA form 21-0958. Could you please send me one at your earliest convenience?
    I had claimed service related hearing loss, to which they promptly set up a hearing test and concluded that they’d go 10%. But I had also claimed service related back injury/pain to which they denied disability without even seeing a doctor yet? Thought that was confusing. Any insight would be appreciative.
    Brett

  91. Brett, will email VA Form 21-0958. Frequently, if the Regional Office does not see service medical records specifically documenting a back injury they will deny without ordering a C&P examination. Feel free to email me with more specific information and, hopefully, I can help triage the issues for you and explain what actions to take. Seth

  92. Sir, could you please email form 21-0958? Also, I have some questions about my claim that I would like to ask in a private forum. Jonathan

  93. Jonathan,

    Will email you with VA Form 21-0958, and happy to response to any questions via email or telephone at (732) 382-6070. I only ask that you call me Seth not Sir . . . Seth

  94. Hi,
    Could you please email the current form to me? I am unable to download the PDF from the VA web site.
    Thanks!
    Charlie

  95. I also am unable to download the VA Form 21-0958 “Notice of Disagreement”. Could you please email me a copy? Thanks.

  96. Hi-
    I received a PTSD rating of 50% due to MST. I was denied hearing loss, tinnitus and lumbar strain.
    I used eBenefits to open up a new claim (add a secondary to the PTSD actually) for ED. I understand that ED is not awarded a %, but is paid as a SMC K for loss of use.
    The information is in my initial claim about ED, but I didn’t claim it as a separate disability. VA did not touch on the subject in my Rating Decision. So I just filled out a 21-4138 stating they have all the medical evidence of ED submitted with my PTSD claim… and I am requesting a secondary to award me the SMC.
    Question is….. is that the correct way to go about requesting the SMC (using eBenefits) or will they look at that and laugh and just throw it away?
    Another question. I plan on appealing the denial due to service connection on the hearing and back claims. I have the NOD filled out. I am on the fence about appealing the 50% PTSD decision and looking for a 70% or more…
    If I file the NOD without disputing the PTSD rating, can I go back and file an appeal on that alone (within a year) or does the primary NOD and appeal need to include everything on the first go?
    The reason I’m on the fence is I would say I’m actually in between the 50 and 70% ratings… so I fear that if you don’t quite reach the 70… it automatically drops down to the 50. I dunno… maybe leave well enough alone?
    Thanks for listening!!

  97. Paul, I try to simplify in order of questions. 1) Erectile dysfunction can be an actual service connected disability but most commonly is a form of special monthly compensation (loss of creative organ). Functionally, the way you are going about (i.e. filing a supplemental claim) is most efficient method. I’ll note that a physician’s letter indicating that ED is related to the PTSD or, more commonly, the medication for PTSD would ease the decision-making process for the RO. 2) question is yes you can file a NOD on the back and hearing and — at a later point — file a second NOD within one year of the Rating Decision on Rating Percentage for PTSD. Logically, however, you are increasing the chances of confusion by the RO; 3) the rating criteria for mental health are intended to most proximate with the effect of the S/C disability on occupational and social functioning. There is no one symptom that would mandate a 70% disability versus a 50% disability rating. What I try and do is evaluate the C&P examination results against the veteran’s treatment record and, if possible, a DBQ completed by the treating mental health professional. At minimum, if the veteran appeals, there is competent and contemporaneous medical evidence in the record so the VA can make an informed decision. Will email the same. Seth

  98. I filled a claim for IBS back in 2011 and was denied. I then filed NOD and had my C&P march 2014. The MD said i had all symptoms of severe IBS and gave me a diagnosis dated back to 1992. When i received my decision letter last week i was given a rating of 0% from 2011 up till March 4, 2014 (Date of C&P) And from march 4,2014 given a 10% rating. I will file NOD. You have any suggestions

  99. Wilbur,

    This is an issue of rating percentage between 2011 and March 4, 2014 and not effective date of award. Unfortunately, this commonly when a claim has been pending for years involving rating percentage. You need to develop evidence regarding the level of symptomology between 2011 and 2014. I would obtain copies of your health records and prescription medication records between these periods of time. If your physician can complete a DBQ for IBS (it is rated by the RO under diagnostic code for Irritable Colon Syndrome) this will resolve the rating percentage based upon current level of disability. Will email the same. Seth

  100. Seth, I was recently awarded 50% for PTSD. I also have Central Sleep Apnea but was denied compensation because I didn’t complain about it while I was in the Army. I’ve been told that Sleep Apnea is caused by PTSD. Part of the supporting fact for PTSD is that I have “chronic sleep impairment “. How should I go about this??

  101. Danny, I get this question often and the answer is not as easy as many veterans or VSOs believe. The is medical literature suggesting a causal relationship between OSA and PTSD . . . there is also an abundance of medical literature indicating that OSA is not related to an acquired mental health disorder. It has been rare that I’ve seen C&P Examiners opine to the former, so I suggest that — if the veteran is going to file such a claim — they have their treating physician document why they believe that the sleep apnea is related to the PTSD. This is a link to a non-precedential BVA decision that highlights how complicated the issue is and provides a guidepost for how one veteran went about the process at http://www.va.gov/vetapp09/files2/0918715.txt Again, competent and thorough medical evidence usually controls the day. Good Luck. Seth

  102. Seth,

    Like so many other veterans have indicated, I am unable to access the NOD directly from the VA website. Can you privide me with a link to a working copy or email me this form. Thanks for all you do!

    Dave

  103. Can you please email me the va form 21-0958. Unable to retrieve it from the VA Website

  104. Hi Seth,

    Thank you so much for this website. The information is great! I am a 40% disable veteran living in Washington DC who have be filing claims in appeals since 1999 (when I got out of the Army) with the help of the DAV.

    Right now I have:
    30% for Endometriosis because of a diagnostic laparoscopy and chronic uncontrolled
    pain.
    10% for Cervical strain because of a fall in 1995 where I struck head and back and a car
    accident in 1998. I was also diagnosed with tension headaches.
    10% for Back strain because of a fall in 1995. I was diagnosed with muscle spasm and
    tension headache in 1995. Back strain diagnosed in 1998. 1999 I was diagnosed as
    muscular for back pain.

    In 1999 the Disable American Veteran (DAV) also put in claims for Migraines (because of the headaches since 1995), Neuro-Psychiatric condition ( because migraines fall under those conditions), and Post-operative scarring (because of the surgery I had for my Endometriosis. All of these claims were denied (after multiple appeals) in 2004.

    In 2002 the DAV also put in another claim for Cyst, which was also denied in 2004. After this last appeal failed I just decide to suffer in silence and live off medication. I had a young child to attend to while going to college. I became disillusioned and gave up on the VA system.

    Fast-forward to 2012, I had a major incident. The Neurology department at the VA hospital at first thought I was having seizure, but after multiple test, hospital visits and overnight stays at the hospital/emergency room visits, they told me I was having Complicated Migraines. This type of migraine can be debilitating mimicking stroke and seizure like systems. I usually have pain in my neck, muscle spasms (body shaking or jerking), falling down episodes (lightheaded and off balance). I feel nauseated, have blurred vision, slur speech, pins-and-needles feeling in arm, sensitive to light, voices irritate me (feels like brain is scrambled, numbness in fingers, stabbing sharp pains, and my blood pressure is high 150-178/95-106. My normal pressure is 114-125/80-85.

    The DAV put in a claim for Migraines again 2013 along with Cervical radiculopathy because of the pinched nerve in my neck (VA diagnosis). Both these claims were denied as directly linking to service connected disabilities. The VA rater went as far as to say that I was denied because my fall happen before I got in the service although the Veteran’s Affairs is giving me 20% for something the rating office is saying did not happen.

    To top everything of, my new primary care doctor just told me this month that I was diagnosed with Fibroids (which fall under Cyst) in April 2012 from and ultrasound that the VA hospital did not tell me about. My primary care doctor along with the Neurology department think it may have some effect on my migraines and recommend that I see a OB-GYN specialist. Since the complicated migraines got worst in October 2012.

    Seth, I am sorry that I had to write a long story explaining what has been going on for the last 15-20 years to me, but that is the only way I could show how terrible the VA medical rating system is. All of the disabilities I filed for when I got out of the Army in 1999, are now worse because they were ignored by the VA and their medical system. Even my doctors now complain about the red type of the VA administration. All they do is give medication because that is what they are allowed to do. The good doctors go above and beyond but then end up leaving the system.

    I now have to go through the process of filling out the VA Form 21-0958. I don’t even know where to start. I am just tired of all this all ready. I have another appointment at the DAV, but although they try to help, the office in this area is very hands off and not much help at all.

    Can you advise me on what to do next? Thank you in advance of reading my comment and have a blessed day. And keep doing what you are doing. It is very much appreciated.

  105. Sylvia,

    Foremost, no need to apologize. I’m going to hypothesize that the VA has denied service connection for Migraines, in part, because they are stating that the tension headaches noted in service are unrelated to your current diagnosis. One of the issues I commonly encounter is that veterans have never seen copy of their service medical records (SMRs). Personally, I would request a copy of your C-File through your local Regional Office Privacy Act officer. Your C-File will contain copy of your SMRs. Once acquired I would respectfully ask your physician (after reviewing the SMRs) if he/she believes there is a causal relationship between the trauma incidents (fall/car accident) that occurred in service and your current diagnosis. If you are able to get a written opinion from that physician then I suspect you will have resolved (or at minimum greatly enhanced) the critical element for service connection that has been causing you consternation over the years. Seth

  106. Hi Seth,

    First I would like to thank you for all of the valuable information you have provided for Veterans. My son is a 23 yr. old disabled vet and we are just starting this entire process and it can be quite daunting.

    My son recently received his initial letter regarding his claim for benefits. We will be submitting a NOD on a few items. However, one item has become confusing to me. The Issue/Contention is anxiety disorder with major depressive disorder. The Explanation says “Entitlement to treatment for active psychosis or an active mental illness is established because the psychosis/mental illness was diagnosed within the required time.” Doesn’t this mean he is covered by VA for treatment for these issues? We have tried (unsuccessfully) twice to have him admitted to a VA hospital in California, but the “transfer officer” keeps telling us that he isn’t coverd by VA for treatment. Am I reading this incorrectly?

    Any information you can give me will be extremely helpful.

    Thank you.

  107. Hope, foremost it appears that your local VA Regional Office granted service connection for what is considered a form of psychosis diagnosed within one year of discharge under 38 CFR 3.309. Don’t worry about the actual diagnosis, there may be a co-morbidity between the primary diagnosis (gen. anxiety disorder) and a form of psychosis and the VA will rate in almost all cases based upon symptoms not diagnosis.

    It terms of treatment, has your son submitted a VA Form 10-10EZ (located at https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov/). The VHA will make a determination of eligibility and assign a priority group if eligible. This may be a paperwork catch-up issue, i.e. VHA has yet to make the health care eligibility determination or have not received official notice that the mental health disorder is now service-connected. In terms of resolution, please talk to the patient advocate at your local VA Medical Center. I always start off with the simple answer, rather than the complex. Otherwise, feel free to call me at 732-382-6070. Seth

  108. Could you email me NOD Form 21-0958 as I have not been able to download.I am appealing a negative rating on a claim I filed.

  109. How is it possible that every single person is having the same issue accessing a form that is intended to help them dispute their claim? It looks like the issue is over a year old. Has anyone contacted the VA about this? I am having the same problems too. Can you send me a copy of the form VA Form 21-0958? Thank you.

  110. Leo, one astute veteran with some computer savvy called me a few days ago and said if the veteran downloads FOXIT they will be able to access, view, and revise VA Form 21-0958 within Google chrome. Otherwise, I’m just a small fish in a big pond, and — as I’m sure service taught you — try to solve complex issues with simple solutions whenever possible. Will email you shortly. Seth

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