Board of Veterans' Appeals
Five year workload trend
What options do Veterans and appellants have to reduce the time they have to wait for a decision?
Board of Veterans Appeals - Board hearing overview
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On July 28, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) by Executive Order 6230, Veterans Regulation No. 2(a). The Board was delegated the authority to render the final decisions on appeal for the Administrator (now Secretary) and was directly responsible to the Administrator (Secretary). The Board was charged “to provide every possible assistance” to claimants and to take final action that would “be fair to the Veteran as well as the Government.” The Board continues to meet this charge.
The Board is comprised of a Chairman, Vice Chairman, and such number of Veterans Law Judges and Board members as necessary to meet the Board’s mission to conduct hearings and dispose of appeals properly before the Board in a timely manner. 38 U.S.C. § 7101(a). View the Board's organizational chart.
To address the growing number of appeals, the Board, over the past 5 years, has grown from approximately 800 to about 1200 personnel and we are still growing thanks to the continued investment of the Department and Congress. The Board increased its staff to include Veterans Law Judges, attorneys, and administrative and operational personnel, recruiting and hiring widely diverse, bringing together different backgrounds, education, experience, ideas, and perspectives to include Veterans, military spouses and family members, caregivers, survivors, first generation Americans, and LGBTQ+ members. This diversity strengthens the Board and enable us to better serve our constituency.
The Board composition and procedures are governed by 38 U.S.C. §§ 7101-7112. The Board often receives questions regarding how appeals are worked at the Board. Under 38 U.S.C. § 7107 (a)(1), all appeals at the Board shall be considered and decided in regular docket order according to its place on the docket. Docket is defined by the date of receipt of the appeal. So, appeals are processed in first in first out method. The only exceptions are those appeals that are advanced on the docket whether the appellant is age 75 or over; or for which motion has been filed for serious illness; severe financial hardship; or for other sufficient cause shown.
Currently, the Board is working both legacy and appeals modernization act (AMA) appeals filed by Veterans and appellants. Legacy are those appeals that existed prior to the implementation of the AMA in February 2019 and are the oldest pending appeals. More information can be found in the metrics section here on the Board’s website.
How do I file an appeal?
If you are dissatisfied or disagree with a VA decision, you have the right to file an appeal with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The Board will review the evidence presented and issue a decision.
How do I find the status of my appeal?
When will your appeal be decided?
As a general matter, the Board is required by law to review appeals in docket order. However, the Board may advance an appeal on the docket (AOD) if the appellant demonstrates unusual hardship such as serious illness, severe financial hardship, or other sufficient cause. Additional information on AOD status is located under Customer Service.
Why does my appeal at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) take so long, and what is the Board doing about it?
The Board understands that many Veterans and appellants have been waiting a long time for a decision. We acknowledge that this wait can be very frustrating and want to explain why getting a Board decision can take a long time, and what options Veterans and appellants have to reduce the time they have to wait for a decision. The Board decision wait times page is available with additional details.
Who is my hearing coordinator?
If Veterans, appellants, representatives or Regional Offices have questions about their hearings, the Hearing Coordinator List provides the hearing team coordinator points of contact.
In 2017 the AMA was passed and took effect in February 2019. AMA created a new decision review process allowing Veterans to choose from three lanes to determine the path their appeal will follow. The three lanes to choose from are supplemental claim, higher-level review, and appealing to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
- View the Board’s “What can Veterans do if they don’t agree with their initial claim decision” factsheet (PDF, 1 page) for more information.
- New VA appeals status tool provides tracking and transparency for Veterans
- Appeals status video
- VA, U.S. Digital Service launch new web tool to help Veterans track their benefits appeals
- Your rights to appeal our decision (PDF, 2 pages)
What happens after you receive your initial claim decision?
Initial Claim decision received. Do you agree with your initial decision?
You are done! Please visit the VA website to see what benefits and services you may receive.
No? Choose one of three options:
- Supplemental Claim—Add or identify new evidence relevant to your claim and a reviewer will look at all evidence and decide if it changes the decision; or
- Higher-Level Review—A senior reviewer will review the evidence already in your file to see if the decision should be changed; or
- Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals—Next Steps…Choose one of three options:
- Direct Review—A judge will review your appeal. No hearing and no new evidence submitted; or
- Evidence Submission—You have additional evidence to submit and must do so within 90 days of filing your appeal. A judge reviews with no hearing; or
- Hearing with a Veterans Law Judge—You will have a hearing and can submit new or additional evidence in support of your appeal.