Service Officer: Overview of VA Appeals

By Joseph Mesa

Supplemental Claim appeal must add evidence that is new (or not provided to VA previously) and relevant to your case.  It is recommended that this appeal should be file within one year from the date on the decision letter.  Note:  This appeal will not allow a fiduciary claim or a contested claim.

Higher-level reviews (HLRs) consist of de novo reviews of the issue(s) identified by requesters.  De novo review means the adjudicator re-examines and re-adjudicates the claim in question without deference to the prior decision, except for proper favorable findings.

Board of Veterans’ Appeals is appealing to a Veterans Law Judge in Washington, D.C.  A judge who’s an expert in Veterans law will review the case.  This appeal provides the claimant 3 options.

Option 1:  Request a Direct Review – A Veterans Law Judge will review the appeal based on evidence already submitted.  The claimant is not allowed to submit evidence and can’t have a hearing.  This review will take about 1 year for the Board to complete.

Option 2:  Submit more evidence – A claimant is allowed to submit more evidence but must submit this evidence within 90 days of the date VA receive the Decision Review Request.  The evidence submission option will take more than 1 year for the Board to complete

Option 3:  Request a hearing – Claimant request a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge.  Claimant can choose to add new and relevant evidence, either at the hearing or within 90 days after the hearing.  Adding evidence is optional.  The hearing will be transcribed and added to the claimant’s appeal file.  Claimant can choose from 3 different ways to speak with the Veterans Law Judge:  Virtual hearing from claimant’s home; Videoconference hearing at a VA location near claimant; or In-person hearing the Board in Washington, D.C.  The hearing request option will take more than one year for the Board to complete.

If you have any questions about appeals, contact Joseph at [email protected].