VA Form 21P-0970 — A New NOD For Denials

VA Form 21P-0970 doesn’t actually exist, at least not yet.  However, the Federal Register posted a Notice for a comment period that ends July 22, 2016.  This means that the public has the opportunity to submit their thoughts to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

What Is VA Form 21P-0970

VA Form 21P-0970 is part of the VA’s ongoing effort to standardize the way people communicate with the agency.  The VA wants everyone to use specific forms to communicate.  If a claimant doesn’t use the standardized form, the VA will mail a letter explaining that a specific form is necessary to move forward.

Recently we’ve seen the VA introduce several standardized forms, including an Intent to File Form and Notice of Disagreement Form for Compensation appeals.

VA Form 21P-0970, if introduced, will be the standardized form necessary to appeal denials for VA pension benefits, dependency and indemnity compensation benefits, burial benefits, and accrued benefits.  The VA will provide the claimant with this form right along side the denial letter.

What Was The Old Method For Appealing a Pension Denial?

Most people use VA Form 21-4138, the venerable statement in support of claim.  The 4138 is basically a blank piece of paper that the appellant can use to write whatever they want.  If done correctly, using the 4138 to appeal a denial worked fine.  If done incorrectly, the 4138 reads like a long, confusing pen-pal letter.

The issue, according to the VA, is that people use the 4138 for a wide variety of purposes.  This makes it hard for the VA to determine the purpose of the submitted evidence.  Evidently, this slows down the VA’s process and results in longer response and decision times.

We are on the record as agreeing with the VA.  Any steps the Department can take to streamline claims and appeals is likely to prove beneficial.  Like any change, the introduction of a standardized form to appeal pension denials may take some to get accustomed to.

Before submitting your appeal for Aid and Attendance benefits to the VA, contact VA Legal Team for a free case review.  We will review the denial letter and your other correspondence with the VA to give you the best chance at an award letter.