Review of Decisions in the Modernized System
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For claims subject to the modernized review system, claimants have three basic options for trying to change a rating decision that does not grant all of the requested benefits. Claimants may: (1) request “higher-level review” by the agency of original jurisdiction, which is usually an RO; (2) file with the RO a supplemental claim with “new and relevant” evidence; or (3) file a notice of disagreement to appeal the decision directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Claimants may choose different review options, also called “lanes,” for different issues adjudicated within a rating decision. As long as the claimant takes one of these actions within one year of the notice of the decision, the claim will be considered “continuously pursued” and he or she will preserve the effective date of the claim that was denied in the decision being challenged. In fact, a claimant may continuously pursue (i.e., keep a claim alive) indefinitely by taking certain of these actions in succession after receiving continued denials from the VA.