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What is the difference between higher-level review and supplemental claims for VA disability?

There’s a lot of terminology to get familiar with when it comes to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims process. When a claim gets denied, or a Veteran disagrees with the decision made on their claim, there are two different ways to move forward in hopes of achieving a favorable outcome.


We’ll discuss both options in this blog, 1) higher-level review and 2) supplemental claims to clarify which would be best for your unique situation and how to go about it. Keep reading as we break down the two below (and how we can help):


What is a higher-level review?

According to the VA’s webpage on higher-level review, this process is defined as “requesting a new review of your case by a higher-level reviewer.” The new reviewer offers a new opinion, which then determines whether or not the first reviewer made an error in judgment. Although Veterans are not allowed to add any new documentation before the second review, the reviewer is typically more senior and will review all case details thoroughly.


You’ll have to be patient though – the VA states that their goal timeline for higher-level reviews is around 4 to 5 months.


How do you request a higher level review?

Here are a few ways to request a higher level review of your disability claim:


  • Online. Visit this link to request online via the VA’s system.

  • By mail. Download and fill out this form; send it to the applicable address on this page.

  • In person. Download and fill out this form; bring it to the nearest VA regional office (you can use this webpage to find the closest to you).


What are supplemental claims?

Supplemental claims are different from higher-level review in that they allow Veterans to submit additional evidence and information to support their claim. If you disagree with your claim and have new or missing information that may enhance your claim, this is the route for you. The additional documentation can include updated medical records, nexus letters, and anything else that may further the claim’s validity.


How do you submit supplemental claims?

According to the VA’s webpage on supplemental claims, you are eligible to submit as long as the following criteria are met:


  • Your claim was already decided upon in the past.

  • Your claim is not a contested claim.

  • You have new information to include.


Here’s how to submit your supplemental claim:


  • Online. Click here to submit online via the VA’s system.

  • By mail. Download and fill out this form; send it to the applicable address on this page.

  • In person. Download and fill out this form; bring it to the nearest VA regional office (you can use this webpage to find the closest to you).


We can help you throughout your entire claims process

What’s even better than a successful higher level review or supplemental claim is never having to do either in the first place, because your benefits were granted on the first attempt.


Our team of professionals at MRPY Professional Services are ready to help you get there. Review our full page of services here. When you’re ready to work one-on-one with one of our experts, sign up for an expert chart review here to get started.




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