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In April 23 2020 I submitted a claim for my right knee. May 15th I received a denial letter. I requested a higher level review on June 2nd. On Oct. 20 I received my informal conference call. Today, Oct. 24 on Va.gov I noticed the Higher level review was closed and a new claim opened on Oct. 22 with a submittal date of April 23rd.
Under the view detail tab of the claim is says
- Higher-Level Reviews
- How long does it take VA to make a decision?
- What should I expect if I request a call with a senior reviewer?
- How do I request a Higher-Level Review?
- What happens next?
- What if I need help?
- What if I have more questions?
- What if I get a Higher-Level Review decision that I don’t agree with?
What you’ve claimed:
right knee strain (please see VBMS note dated 10/22/2020) (Supplemental)
What could this mean for me and my claim?
What is a higher-level review? A HIGHER-LEVEL REVIEW is a new review of an issue(s) previously decided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) based on the evidence of record at the time VA issued a notice of the prior decision. The higher–level reviewer WILL NOT consider any evidence received after the notification date of the prior decision.
How long does a VA higher-level review take?125 days. How long does it take the VA to make a decision? Our goal for completing Higher-Level Reviews is an average of 125 days.
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.
Get the latest information about in-person services, claim exams, extensions, paperwork, decision reviews and appeals, and how best to contact us during this time.
Go to our coronavirus FAQs
Can I request a Higher-Level Review?
You can request a Higher-Level Review of an initial claim or Supplemental Claim decision. You have one year from the date on your decision letter to request a Higher-Level Review.
This option isn’t available after a previous Higher-Level Review or Board Appeal on the same claim. It’s also not available if you have a contested claim (this is rare).
- You can’t submit any evidence.
- You and/or your representative can speak with the reviewer on the phone. You can tell them why you think the decision should be changed and identify errors.
How long does it take VA to make a decision?
Our goal for completing Higher-Level Reviews is an average of 125 days.
What should I expect if I request a call with a senior reviewer?
If you request an informal conference with a senior reviewer, they’ll call the phone number that you or your representative provided on the Higher-Level Review form to schedule a time to discuss your case with you. During the call, you and/or your representative can talk about why you think the decision should be changed and identify errors, but you cannot submit new evidence.
Note: The senior reviewer will try to reach you or your representative by phone, and if no one answers, they’ll leave a voicemail. If the senior reviewer is unable to leave a message or make contact after 2 attempts, they’ll proceed with their review and issue a decision.
How do I request a Higher-Level Review?
To request a Higher-Level Review, fill out the Decision Review Request: Higher-Level Review (VA Form 20-0996).
- Select a benefit type in Part I of the formThe most common benefit type is compensation, but if you’re unsure, check your VA decision. You can’t select multiple benefit types. You have to complete a separate form for each type.
- Optional: Request a call (informal conference) with the reviewerNote: You and/or your representative can speak with the reviewer on the phone. You can tell them why you think the decision should be changed and identify errors. To schedule an informal conference, select times and list a phone number in Part II of the form. A reviewer will call 2 to 4 weeks after VA processes your request.
- List the issue(s) you want reviewed in Part III of the formYou can include all or just some of the issues VA has decided. You’ll need to list the issue(s) you disagree with and the VA decision date for each.Note: You can’t submit any evidence.What if I have new and relevant evidence? If you have evidence to submit, please select another decision review option.
Learn more about the decision review options
- ApplyFill out the Decision Review Request: Higher-Level Review (VA Form 20-0996).
Download VA Form 20-0996 (PDF)Submit your application by mail, in person, or by faxBy mailSend the completed form to the benefit office that matches the benefit type you selected on the form.CompensationDepartment of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444In personBring your completed form to a regional benefit office.
Find a regional benefit office near youBy fax Fax your completed form and any supporting documents to 844-531-7818. You can also ask a regional benefit office for a copy of this form to fill out. Or you can call the VA toll-free hotline at 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET, to request a form.
- Find addresses for other benefit types
What happens next?
You don’t need to do anything while you wait, unless VA sends you a letter asking for more information. If VA schedules exams for you, be sure not to miss them.
If you’ve filed a request for a Higher-Level Review, we may randomly select you to receive an email with a short, optional survey. If selected, you’ll get a survey within 10 days of the date on your notification letter. You aren’t required to fill it out, but your feedback will help us improve the new decision reviews process. It takes about 3 minutes to answer the questions. Please review your VA.gov profile to make sure we have your most recent email address. Find out how to update your email address.
What if I need help?
A Veterans Service Organization or VA-accredited attorney or agent can help you request a decision review.
Get help requesting a decision review
What if I have more questions?
Get answers to frequently asked questions about decision reviews.
Go to FAQs
What if I get a Higher-Level Review decision that I don’t agree with?
You can then file for a Board Appeal, which means your case gets reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge. You also have the option to file a Supplemental Claim if you have additional evidence you want to submit for review. Last updated: October 7, 2020
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In April 23 2020 I submitted a claim for my right knee. May 15th I received a denial letter. I requested a higher level review on June 2nd. On Oct. 20 I received my informal conference call. Today, Oct. 24 on Va.gov I noticed the Higher level review was closed and a new claim opened on Oct.