(a) In general. A Notice of Disagreement must be properly completed on a form prescribed by the Secretary. If the agency of original jurisdiction decision addressed several issues, the Notice of Disagreement must identify the specific decision and issue or issues therein with which the claimant disagrees. The term issue means an adjudication of a specific entitlement as described in 38 CFR 3.151(c). The Board will construe such arguments in a liberal manner for purposes of determining whether they raise issues on appeal, but the Board may dismiss any appeal which fails to identify the specific decision and issue or issues therein with which the claimant disagrees.
(b) Review options. Upon filing the Notice of Disagreement, a claimant must indicate whether the claimant requests:
(1) Direct review by the Board of the record before the agency of original jurisdiction at the time of its decision, without submission of additional evidence or a Board hearing;
(2) A Board hearing, to include an opportunity to submit additional evidence at the hearing and within 90 days following the hearing; or
(3) An opportunity to submit additional evidence without a Board hearing with the Notice of Disagreement and within 90 days following receipt of the Notice of Disagreement.
(1) The information indicated by the claimant in paragraph (b) of this section determines the evidentiary record before the Board as described in subpart D of this part, and the docket on which the appeal will be placed, as described in Rule 800 (§20.800). Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this section, the Board will not consider evidence as described in Rules 302 or 303 (§§20.302 and 20.303) unless the claimant requests a Board hearing or an opportunity to submit additional evidence on the Notice of Disagreement.
(2) A claimant may modify the information identified in the Notice of Disagreement for the purpose of selecting a different evidentiary record option as described in paragraph (b) of this section. Requests to modify a Notice of Disagreement must be made by completing a new Notice of Disagreement on a form prescribed by the Secretary, and must be received at the Board within one year from the date that the agency of original jurisdiction mails notice of the decision on appeal, or within 60 days of the date that the Board receives the Notice of Disagreement, whichever is later. Requests to modify a Notice of Disagreement will not be granted if the appellant has submitted evidence or testimony as described in §§20.302 and 20.303.
(d) Standard form required. The Board will not accept as a Notice of Disagreement an expression of dissatisfaction or disagreement with an adjudicative determination by the agency of original jurisdiction and a desire to contest the result that is submitted in any format other than the form prescribed by the Secretary, including on a different VA form.
(e) Alternate form or other communication. The filing of an alternate form or other communication will not extend, toll, or otherwise delay the time limit for filing a Notice of Disagreement, as provided in §20.203(b). In particular, returning the incorrect VA form does not extend, toll, or otherwise delay the time limit for filing the correct form.
(f) Unclear Notice of Disagreement. If within one year after mailing an adverse decision (or 60 days for simultaneously contested claims), the Board receives a Notice of Disagreement completed on the form prescribed by the Secretary, but the Board cannot identify which denied issue or issues the claimant wants to appeal or which option the claimant intends to select under paragraph (b) of this section, then the Board will contact the claimant to request clarification of the claimant's intent.
(g) Response required from claimant—
(1) Time to respond. The claimant must respond to the Board's request for clarification on or before the later of the following dates:
(i) 60 days after the date of the Board's clarification request; or
(ii) One year after the date of mailing of notice of the adverse decision being appealed (60 days for simultaneously contested claims).
(2) Failure to respond. If the claimant fails to provide a timely response, the previous communication from the claimant will not be considered a Notice of Disagreement as to any claim for which clarification was requested. The Board will not consider the claimant to have appealed the decision(s) on any claim(s) as to which clarification was requested and not received.
(h) Action following clarification. The unclear Notice of Disagreement is properly completed, and thereby filed, under paragraph (a) of this section when the Board receives the clarification.
(i) Representatives and fiduciaries. For the purpose of the requirements in paragraphs (f) through (h) of this section, references to the “claimant” include reference to the claimant or his or her representative, if any, or to his or her fiduciary, if any, as appropriate.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105)
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0674)