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Board of Veterans Appeals

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

1.  How do I appeal to Board?  

In order to appeal to Board, you must complete certain steps with designated time periods.  Board's How Do I Appeal? Pamphlet will guide you through these steps and appeals process. 

2.  I do not have a representative helping me with my appeal.  How do I find one? 

Although it is not required, you may decide to be represented by an accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO), attorney, or claims agent.  To help you find one, VA has a searchable list of accredited representatives.  You may also find a contact list of VSOs online.  To choose any representative, you must execute a Power of Attorney and send the completed form to the Board.

3.  What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is an agreement that authorizes one person to act on behalf of another person.  In the context of Board proceedings, appellants often execute a POA with an accredited representative, such as a VSO, private attorney, or claims agent.  This allows the representative, who is familiar with Veterans law and the VA claims/appeals process, to act on their behalf by submitting evidence and argument in support of the case.  For a searchable list of accredited representatives, please click here.

You are not required to have a representative for any VA proceedings, to include Board appeals, but if you would like one, you must submit a VA form that gives you designated representative the authority to act on your behalf.  To appoint a VSO you must fill out VA Form 21-22; to appoint a non-VSO representative, such as private attorney or claims agent, fill out VA Form 21-22a.  If you decide to execute a POA, you must submit the completed form by mail or by fax to the Board:

By Mail:    Board of Veterans' Appeals

                   P.O. Box 27063

                   Washington, DC 20038

By Fax:       (202) 565-4720

4.  Is a Power of Attorney required? 

No.  You can always represent yourself before VA, including in your appeal before the Board.

5.  Is a Board hearing required? 

No.  Board hearings are strictly optional in nature and are not required for a VLJ to decide your appeal.  If you desire a Board hearing, consider the advantages of selecting a video hearing.  For more information about Board hearings please review pages the Board's How Do I Appeal? Pamphlet or consult VA Form9.

6.  I have additional evidence to send to BVA.  Where do I send it? 

To send additional evidence or other correspondence to the Board, please use the mailing address or fax below:

By Mail:    Board of Veterans' Appeals

                   P.O. Box 27063

                   Washington, DC 20038

By Fax:       (202) 565-4720

Please consider providing a waiver of initial consideration of any evidence you send.

7.  What is a waiver of initial consideration of evidence by a local VA office? 

By law, you have the right to have the local VA office conduct an initial review of any new evidence submitted in your case, even if the case is with the Board and the evidence has been submitted directly to the Board.  See 38 C.F.R. § 20.1304(c).  If you provide a waiver of this right, then you agree to let Board consider the new evidence and issue a decision without your local VA office reviewing that evidence first.  Alternatively, if you choose not to waive this right, the Board must then automatically remand your appeal (i.e., send your appeal back to your local VA office) so that office can conduct an initial review of the new evidence and issue a new decision.  If you choose to waive initial review by the local VA office, you must submit a statement to this effect in writing with the evidence to the Board by mail, fax or while on the record at a Board hearing, if you have one.

By Mail:    Board of Veterans' Appeals

                   P.O. Box 27063

                   Washington, DC 20038

By Fax:       (202) 565-4720

8.  What is a docket number and how does it affect my appeal? 

A docket number reserves your place in the line of cases to be decided by Board.  The Board assigns this number to your case based on the date VA received your substantive appeal to the Board (e.g., your VA Form 9).  By law, the Board must consider appeals in the order in which they are entered on the docket.

9.  Can I request that my appeal be advanced on Board’s docket so it will be decided faster?

Yes.  You may submit a request for the Board to decide your appeal faster, and Board has the authority to grant such a request in limited circumstances, to include:  if you are of advanced age (75 years or older); have financial hardship or a serious illness; or for other sufficient cause.  See 38 C.F.R. § 20.900(c). 

If you want to make a request to advance your case, you (or your representative, if you have one) must do so in writing, and you must include the following information: (1) identify the specific reason(s) why you seek advancement; (2) the name of the Veteran; (3) the name of the appellant, if other than the Veteran (i.e., a Veteran’s survivor, guardian, or fiduciary); and (4) the applicable VA file number.  You (or your representative, if any) must send your written request to:

By Mail:    Board of Veterans' Appeals

                   P.O. Box 27063

                   Washington, DC 20038

By Fax:       (202) 565-4720

10.  Can I appeal a decision made by Board? 

Yes.  If you are not satisfied with a Board decision on any or all issues that the Board allowed, denied, or dismissed, you have the following options, which are listed in no particular order of importance:

  • appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court);  
  • file with the Board a motion for reconsideration of the decision;
  • file with the Board a motion to vacate the decision; or
  • file with the Board a motion for revision of the decision based on clear and unmistakable error. 

For additional information and further details about these options, please consult the VA Form 4597 that accompanied the BVA decision on your case.  NOTE: that if the Board remanded an issue (or issues) in your case, that particular issue is not appealable because further action must be taken by the local VA office before Board can issue a final, appealable, decision on that issue. 

11.  What is a remand?

A remand from Board to your local VA office sends your case back to that office with certain instructions for the office to follow.  In any remanded case, the Board has made a determination that it cannot fully or fairly adjudicate your appeal until the local VA office performs the actions outlined in the remand instructions.  The Board may remand a case for a variety of reasons, to include:

  • collecting additional information or records;  
  • providing a VA medical examination; or  
  • ensuring that the local VA office follows certain legal procedures that afford you due process  

If any action is required on your part, you will be notified directly by mail.  After your local VA office complies with the instructions, your appeal will be automatically returned to Board.

12.  My case has been transferred to another location (such as: the Regional Office (RO), Appeals Management Center (AMC), VA Medical Center (VAMC), VA Office of General Counsel (OGC), or National Cemetery Administration (NCA)).  What happens now? 

When the Board transfers your case to any of the above locations, it means that additional processing or other action must occur at that location.  Accordingly, if you have questions about your case, please contact the specific location where your case has been transferred.

 

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