The Purpose of VA One-time Reconsideration Requests

Many times when I am reviewing initial IDES combined rating decisions with prospective clients, they will tell me that they want to go to a formal hearing (“FPEB”) to increase the ratings assigned to DOD unfitting conditions. Frankly, in the IDES process, that is not how things work.  The purpose of FPEBs is to add additional unfitting conditions to the DOD side of your case. For example, if you have a lower back injury that you believe is unfitting but the Informal Panel (“IPEB”) did not agree, you can request an FPEB to make the case as to why this condition should be found separately unfitting.  But if you wish to appeal a low rating for a DOD unfitting condition, the proper mechanism for doing so is the submission of a VA one-time reconsideration request.  Such requests must be drafted like a formal FPEB case brief and attach new and material evidence meriting deviation from the initial rating assigned to the condition.  It is a written appeal to a VA Decision Review Officer and does not result in a live hearing like with the FPEB.  However, the good news- you still retain your right to go to an FPEB to add additional conditions to your DOD case.  Not to worry, I plan, develop and write all VA one-time reconsideration requests for my clients, including developing both medical and nonmedical evidence to support our contentions.