When filing your VA disability claim, you want to provide the VA with as much information related to your claim as possible. This only benefits you as it increases the chances that your claim will be approved and that you will begin receiving benefits sooner rather than later. It also spares you from the decision review process, which can delay the approval of your claim.
Hindsight is often 20/20, though. You may remember a certain record that you would have liked to have submitted to the VA only after you get a denial letter in the mail. Or you may obtain a favorable and informative evaluation after your claim has already been submitted to the VA.
There are certain points in the life of your claim that you can submit “new and relevant” evidence to the VA for its consideration. Knowing when and how to take advantage of this can mean the difference between the approval and denial of your claim.
What is “New and Relevant” Evidence
Before discussing when “new and relevant” evidence can be submitted, it is helpful to know what such evidence is. “New” evidence must be evidence that is truly new; that is, the evidence must be evidence that the VA did not receive previously. If the VA was previously provided a copy of the document or record you are considering submitting, then it is not “new” evidence.
“Relevant” evidence means that the evidence must have a tendency to prove some disputed element about your claim. If the evidence’s presence or absence would not make any difference to the outcome of your claim, then it will not be considered “relevant.”
Any document or evidence you want the VA to consider as new and relevant evidence must meet both requirements.
When Can I Submit New and Relevant Evidence?
Once you file a VA disability claim, you can continue to provide additional evidence to support your claim for up to one year. However, while your initial claim is pending, it is best to provide the additional evidence as soon as you can.
If your claim is denied, you may file a Supplemental Claim and provide new and relevant evidence. A Supplemental Claim should be filed within one year of the denial of your claim. Additionally, you can submit new and relevant evidence if you ask the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to review your denial and request a judge to hear your case. In this situation, the evidence must be submitted within 90 days of the hearing date.
Get Experienced Legal Help with Your VA Disability Claim
Identifying useful and compelling “new and relevant” evidence is not as straightforward as it may appear. Retaining the services of a knowledgeable attorney familiar with VA disability claims and appeals, like Valor Firm, can help you make the right moves in your case to get your claim approved.