Understanding the Initial Regional Office Decision
The VA is required to notify the claimant and his representative in writing of any adverse decision. The VA is required to include in its notice:
- The reasons for the denial
- A summary of the evidence considered
- Notice of the claimant’s appellate rights.
Usually, the notice will be a cover letter with the rating decision attached. Recently, however the VA has been utilizing a simplified notification letter to serve as the rating decision. It contains less detail. If you receive one of the abbreviated notice letters, it is advisable to request a complete copy of the actual rating decision.
Although the VA is required to explain the reasons for its decision in the Statement of the Case, the initial rating decision is still the primary document.
The Rating Decision
If the rating decision is not attached to the notification letter, you should request a copy of the rating decision. It is crucial that you understand the precise basis for VA’s decision.