If the VA Regional Office denies your claim, you can appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA). Your claim will then be reviewed at a hearing held via teleconference, before a travel board, or in Washington, D.C.
There are three possible results from a BVA hearing:
- Your benefits are granted on appeal.
- Your appeal is denied.
- Your claim is remanded to the Regional Office.
If your case involves more than one issue, you will receive a separate decision for each issue that is part of your appeal. This means part of your claim could be approved and part of it could be denied or remanded.
If the BVA decides to grant your benefits, the claim is typically sent back to the Regional Office for implementation. This means the Regional Office must decide certain details, such as the effective date of the claim or the disability rating that is warranted given the severity of your condition. However, if your claim is for an increased rating, the BVA will assign the percentage and instruct the Regional Office to determine the correct effective date.
If your claim has been granted, you will not immediately receive your back pay or retroactive benefits. Your benefits will be paid following the rating decision from the Regional Office. There is no specific timeline the VA must follow for awarding back pay, but your attorney can keep you informed of the progression of your case. The period while you are waiting for your award of benefits from the Regional Office will be included in your back pay, however.
If your benefits have been granted, it’s recommended that you sign up for direct deposit by completing the form included in your award packet or by calling the VA at 800-827-1000 and following the prompts. If you’re not already receiving VA medical benefits, you should sign up at this time, so you have access to an appropriate care provider if your condition worsens.
Denial of Appeal
If the BVA issues a denial, the decision is final within the Veterans Benefits Administration. However, you can still choose to appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). This is a separate entity that is not part of the VA.
If you want to appeal to the CAVC, you have 120 days to file your appeal. This preserves the original effective date of your claim.
The CAVC provides judicial reviews of the existing record only. No new evidence or oral testimony is allowed. At the CAVC, judges are only concerned whether the BVA applied the law correctly.
If you miss the CAVC deadline or do not wish to take your appeal to the next level, you can reopen your VA claim. Unfortunately, if you have your claim reopened, the effective date will be the date the claim is reopened—causing you to potentially lose many months of retroactive benefits if your claim is approved.
Remanded to the Regional Office
A remand is not an approval or denial of benefits. It simply means that more information is needed to make a decision. Claims are remanded back to the Regional Office with instructions to acquire the needed information before a BVA decision is made.
You can view the BVA remand instructions at the end of your decision letter. Some examples of potential instructions might include submitting a detailed work history for a TDIU claim or attending a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam to address specific evidence needs.
We’re Here to Help You Get the Benefits You Deserve
The VA appeals process can be frustrating, but you don’t need to go through it alone. Working with an experienced Veterans benefits attorney is the best way to increase your chances of a successful appeal.
The office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, has been helping Veterans access the VA disability benefits they need to provide for themselves and their families for over 20 years. Fill out the contact form on this page or call our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.