Veterans Disability Info Blog

VA Anxiety Claim Denied? Always File an Appeal


Anxiety disorders are a common and often debilitating issue faced by many veterans. If you have received a denial for your anxiety claim from the VA, it can be disheartening and frustrating. Don’t lose hope. Winning an anxiety VA rating and disability benefits for anxiety disorders can be challenging. Many veterans must appeal the VA decision at least once to secure benefits.

To learn more about anxiety VA ratings—including VA requirements, anxiety nexus letters, and tactics to prove a secondary-service connection for anxiety—read our free eBook,VA Disability Ratings for Anxiety: An Essential Guide for U.S. Veterans.

How to Appeal a Denied VA Anxiety Claim

VA offers disability benefits for various types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobias, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). There are several avenues for appealing the VA decision that veterans seeking a VA rating for anxiety disorders can pursue to ensure that the case is properly reviewed and considered.

In general, the VA offers three pathways for appeal:

Higher-Level Review Pathway

The first option is the Higher-Level Review pathway. This pathway allows you to bring attention to information that might have been overlooked or disregarded in your initial claim. By submitting VA Form 20-0996, you can request a higher-level VA official to review your case and hopefully make a more favorable decision.

Supplemental Claim Appeal

The second option is a Supplemental Claim Appeal. If you have new and relevant evidence that was not considered in your initial claim, this pathway allows you to submit this evidence for review. By filing VA Form 20-0995, you can request that this new evidence be added to your file and considered during the review process.

Board Appeal

If you are still unsatisfied with the outcome of your claim after going through the first two pathways, you have the option to choose a Board Appeal. This pathway involves having an expert Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals review your case. You can choose to have an in-person hearing in Washington, DC, or have the hearing conducted via videoconference at home or the nearest VA office by submitting the Decision Review Request: Board Appeal (VA Form 10182).

Be sure to speak with an experienced VA disability lawyer specializing in VA disability appeals. These professionals help veterans evaluate denied claims, gather additional supporting evidence, and construct a compelling appeal.

What to Do After Winning Your VA Claim Appeal

Once you win your appeal for a VA anxiety rating and disability benefits, you can take several important steps to optimize your benefits and payments.

Set Up Direct Deposit

Set up direct deposit by completing the necessary form included in your award packet or calling the VA at 800-827-1000. Direct deposit allows your payments to be deposited directly into your bank account and may speed up the payment process.

Wait for Payment

Wait for payment. The Regional Office will need to assign a rating and effective date for your benefits and determine the payment amount. While veterans should receive back pay within 15 days of a decision granting retroactive benefits, it is not uncommon for the process to take up to three months or longer if the lump sum retroactive payment is a substantial amount. Stay in contact with your VA disability lawyer to ensure you are informed of the status of your payment.

Learn About VA Healthcare Options

Explore your VA healthcare options. Even if you continue to see a private doctor, signing up for VA healthcare can provide additional options if your anxiety disorder worsens or if you need specialized anxiety disorder treatment. By enrolling in VA care when you first receive benefits, you will have one less thing to worry about in the future.

Seek VA Anxiety Rating Increase

File for a VA rating increase. If your anxiety disorder or associated conditions worsen, you may need to seek a higher rating or increase in benefits. It’s crucial to stay proactive in monitoring your condition and advocating for yourself to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve.

Consider Additional Benefits

Beyond disability payments, veterans with anxiety disorders may qualify for various other benefits, including vocational rehabilitation, education, and VA loan programs. It is also important to consider the benefits that your spouse or children may be eligible for.

If the VA has denied your anxiety claim, don’t give up. By understanding the appeal pathways available to you and taking the necessary steps to present additional evidence, you can increase your chances of receiving the benefits you deserve.

Remember to stay proactive, persistent, and informed throughout the appeals process. Be sure to reach out to a VA disability lawyer for assistance if needed.

To learn more about VA ratings for anxiety—including VA requirements, anxiety nexus letters, and tactics to prove a secondary-service connection for anxiety—read our free eBook, VA Disability Ratings for Anxiety: An Essential Guide for U.S. Veterans.

We are Here to Help

If you are having trouble obtaining benefits, contact us online or at 888.878.9350 to discuss your case.