For over 15 years, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals has used an internal quality review team to review Board decisions before they’re published. New research says that the quality review process is ineffective and that the Board’s stated accuracy rates of 93-95% are questionable.
Quality Review Process
The Board’s quality review team randomly reviews Board decisions before they’re sent to claimants. Its goal is to identify legal errors and encourage veteran’s law judges to fix any errors before final decisions are issued. It also trains staff and suggests systemic changes to the Board’s work.
Based on the quality review team’s work, the Board has stated that it has an accuracy rate of 93-95%.
But Does Quality Review Work?
New research questions the effectiveness of the quality review team’s work.
The Board is overwhelmed with appeals; it issues over 50,000 decisions every year. Given the high number of decisions and the small number of lawyers dedicated to the quality review team, researchers suggest that quality review likely prevents only 60 decisions from needing to be appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veteran’s Claims (CAVC).
Researchers also question the Board’s stated accuracy rate of nearly 95%. They showed that roughly 76% of Board decisions appealed to the CAVC are remanded back to the Board because of an error in the Board’s decision. Even VA’s Office of General Counsel has questioned the Board’s belief that it has only a 5-6% error rate.
Appeal Your Board Decision
What does this mean for you? Given the high rate of CAVC remands, don’t immediately give up when you receive a Board decision denying your claim. Contact us to talk about your case to see if we can help you appeal to the CAVC.