His lecture topic educated the attendees of the conference on Downstream Issues: Keeping Your Clients’ Claims Afloat. Downstream issues are those that arise after a veteran receives a Rating Decision, whether it be favorable or unfavorable. Important things to consider include:
- Are all of the claimed conditions discussed;
- Are the conditions rated properly;
- Are the proper effective dates assigned;
- Are all of the dependents accounted for; and
- Are any additional claims deferred for additional information.
All of these must be examined carefully to determine whether an appeal needs to be filed. From the standpoint of the veteran, do they feel as though their conditions are rated properly and thus there is no need to appeal? From a representative’s standpoint, is there a plausible basis for the appeal or do you want to continue to represent your client? A further review of the medical evidence might be needed to determine if the ratings are correct. Once the Rating Decision is received, usually that is when the hard work begins.