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 or (732) 382-6070.

This entry was posted in VA Benefits News and tagged , by Seth Director. Bookmark the permalink.
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.

94 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.

  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 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.



  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.


  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.

  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.


  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.


  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 ( 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


  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


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.

  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.


  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.


  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.


  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 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.


  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.

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