After a veteran or claimant files a notice of disagreement (NOD), they are asked by VA if they want "traditional" review or Decision Review Officer (DRO) review. In most cases, DRO review has its advantages. In fact statistic show that 22.7 percent of appeals that underwent a traditional review received a full or parital award while 31.5 perceont of appeals that underwent a DRO review received a full or partial award. Thus, the odds of receiving a favorable decision before a DRO rather than traditional review are 56 percent higher than under the traditional appeals process. When you are deciding upon DRO review, bear in mind:
•Personal hearing before DRO are not automatically part of the process unless you request a hearing.
•You may request a hearing at any time, but DRO Review with de novo review only occurs if you request DRO review within 60 days after notice is received.
•With traditional review, no hearing is possible.
•Under traditional review, the rating board will not make a different decision based on a difference of opinion, there must be new evidence since the first rating decision or a mistake in analyzing the law or evidence. A DRO acting under de novo review is permitted to make a different decision based on a different opinion of the evidence
DRO review happens in most cases. Veterans chose a DRO review in 61 percent (534,439) of all appeals filed from 2003 to 2010. If the DRO continues to deny your claim, you will receive a Statement of the Case(SOC). A veteran or claimant is required to respond to the SOC with a VA Form 9 appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) within 60 days (or the remainder of the one year period to file an NOD).