If you disagree with a decision made by the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board), you can appeal their claim(s) to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). As part of the appeal process, the Rule 33 Conference will be scheduled. This conference occurs after the timeframe for the the VA to submit the Record Before the Agency (RBA) ends. This conference typically occurs over the telephone with attorneys involved in your appeal case. During the conference call, your case will be discussed and the parties will decide whether or not the case can be resolved before going through the full Court process.
What Parties Are Involved in The Rule 33 Conference
The Rule 33 Conference usually involves your attorney and the attorney representing the VA at the VA’s Office of General Counsel. The conference is led by a neutral attorney from the Veterans Court Central Legal Services staff.
If you are self-represented and do not have an attorney, you may or may not need to participate in a Rule 33 Conference. If you have an attorney to represent you, a conference will always be set, but you will not have to participate.
The purpose of the Rule 33 Conference is to focus on issues on the Veteran’s appeal in hopes of having an agreement to override the errors from the decision of the Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA). Fourteen days prior to the conference, your attorney will submit a Rule 33 Briefing Conference Memorandum, which is a statement of issues and arguments that are part of your appeal. The VA attorney will review this statement and decide with his or her supervisor whether to offer a settlement in your case.
Advantages of Having an Attorney for The Conference
Being able to have your attorney advocate for you in the Rule 33 Conference is one of the big advantages of having an attorney at the CAVC. The VA offers settlement in many cases during the Rule 33 Conference, which can be a great outcome if it means the Board will get to reconsider your appeal.
It is rare that the VA offers to grant a Veterans' claims in settlement discussions. The most common outcome is that the VA will agree to send the appeal back to the Board because the Board missed something when originally making a decision on your appeal. If your attorney and the VA attorney reach a settlement agreement that you approve, both sides will work together to file a document with the Court asking the Court to remand the appeal to the Board, or in rare cases, approve a settlement agreement granting your claims.
Getting a favorable outcome in the Rulee 33 Conference can help you avoid a long and contentious Court process, while giving you another opportunity to succeed on your claims.
Contact a Veterans Benefits Attorney Today
If you have been denied VA disability benefits or need help with an appeal, contact the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will work to protect your legal rights so you can get the benefits you deserve. Call us today at 877-629-1712 or use our online contact form in order to find out more.