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Understanding Appeals

How to File an Appeal

Our Benefits Advisors are available statewide to represent you in filing an appeal on your current rating decision. These services are free of charge and our Benefits Advisors are all Veterans who have chosen to serve their fellow Veterans and Veteran families. All our Benefits Advisors are well versed on communicating your unique situation to the VA efficiently and effectively. Let us do what we do best. Serve you.

Appeals Process

Veterans and other claimants for VA benefits have the right to appeal decisions made by a VA regional office, medical center, or National Cemetery Administration (NCA) office. Typical issues appealed are disability compensation, pension, education benefits, recovery of overpayments, reimbursement for unauthorized medical services, and denial of burial and memorial benefits.

A claimant has a Limiting Date of 1-year from the date of Notification of a VA decision to pursue a course of action under the Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 (AMA). The AMA was signed into law and took effect on 19 February 2019.

Under the AMA, there are three distinct appellate review processes:

  • Supplemental Claim (SC) – this process allows the claimant to submit “new and relevant” evidence in support of the claimed issue. With the SC, there is a “duty-to-assist” and the VA will assist in the location of evidence in support of a claim. The Supplemental Claim goal is to be adjudicated within 125 days.
  • Higher Level Review (HLR) – this process does not allow the claimant to submit additional evidence and is based solely on the evidence already of record. HLR is a request for a review by a senior adjudicator based on a belief that a mistake was made, and no new evidence may be submitted. The Higher Level Review goal is to be adjudicated within 125 days.
  • Appeal to Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) (Notice of Disagreement – NOD) The appellate has three options under AMA with an appeal to the BVA:

Direct Docket – in this appeal, the appellate believes that a mistake was made. No new evidence may be submitted, and the BVA judge will review the same record and make a decision. The Direct Docket appeal will be adjudicated on average up to 365 days.

Evidence Docket – in this appeal, the claimant has new evidence for the BVA judge to consider. The claimant has 90 days from the NOD to submit new evidence. The BVA judge will consider the new evidence provided. The Evidence Docket appeal will be adjudicated on average over 365 days.

Hearing Docket – in this appeal, the claimant is requesting a hearing before a BVA judge. The claimant will be placed on a docket (waiting list) for a hearing before a judge by videoconference (or in DC). Following the hearing, the claimant will have 90 days to submit new evidence. The BVA judge will make a decision based on the hearing and the evidence submitted. The Hearing Docket is based on availability but typically takes over 365 days.

There are 98 BVA judges and 67,000 Veterans waiting for hearings.

Visit the Board of Veterans Appeals website for specific details on the appeals process.

Board of Veterans’ Appeals

What is the Board of Veterans’ Appeals?

The Board of Veterans’ Appeals makes decisions on appeals on behalf of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Although it is not required, a Veterans service organization, an agent, or an attorney may represent a claimant. Appellants may present their cases in person to a member of the Board at a hearing in Washington, D.C., at a VA regional office, or by videoconference.

A final Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision that does not grant a claimant the benefits desired may be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, an independent court that is not part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Notice of an appeal must be received by the court with a postmark that is within 120 days.

Who is on the Board of Appeals?

The Board of Veterans’ Appeals (also known as “BVA” or “the Board”) is a part of the VA, located in Washington, D.C.

Members of the Board review determinations for benefit claims made by local VA offices and issue decisions on appeals. These Law Judges–attorneys experienced in Veterans law and in reviewing benefit claims–are the only ones who can issue Board decisions. Staff attorneys, also trained in Veteran’s law, review the facts of each appeal and assist the Board members.

View more information on the Board of Appeals.

How to Track Your Appeal Status

You can track your appeals decisions by going to the VA website “The Board of Veteran’s Appeals Decision search results” page. If you cannot find your appeal on this site contact your Benefits Advisors.

  • The pamphlet “How Do I Appeal?” is available on the Board of Veterans’ Appeals website.
  • You may also request your decision by writing:
    Hearings and Transcription Unit (014HRG)
    Board of Veterans’ Appeals
    811 Vermont Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC  20420
    U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
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