Other Fields
Agency Scheme: 
Appeal Level One
Appeals: Basic Structure
Appeal Office (local name): 
Appeal Office (global name): 
Office of the Secretary
Appeal Officer #1 (Title): 
Veterans Law Judge
Are administrative appeals permitted from final decisions issued by this appellate office?: 
Comments/Notes on Adjudication Structure: 
The Board of Veterans' Appeals reviews de novo benefit claims determinations made by local VA offices and issue decisions on appeals. Any aspect of any decision made by VA on a benefit claim--disability, healthcare, and cemetery--can be appealed for any reason (more than 96% of appeals arise from VBA). A veteran has one year to appeal a determination with which he or she is dissatisfied. To express such dissatisfaction, a veteran must submit a notice of disagreement (NOD) to the local VA office. After the office reviews the NOD and issues a statement of the case (SOC). After receiving the SOC, a veteran has either 60 days or the remainder of the one-year period from the notice of the determination to file a VA Form 9 (substantive appeal) to perfect an appeal to the Board. The veteran may ask for a hearing before the Board at any time during the appeal process. Note: after receiving a determination from the agency of original jurisdiction, a veteran may ask that a decision review officer to review his or her claim. This request may be made before, after, in lieu of, or in conjunction with filing a notice of disagreement. The Board may grant or deny the veteran's claim, or remand the claim for additional development. If the veteran is dissatisfied with the Board's decision, he/she may appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans' Claims--an Article I court. Further levels of review include the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Court and U.S. Supreme Court.
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - General Information
Which party (or parties) is/are permitted to file appeals with this office?: 
Private Party
Are private parties permitted to have representation at appeal hearings?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Who may serve as a private party representative?: 
About what percentage of private parties were represented at hearings (FY2013)?: 
Is the agency permitted to have representation at appeal hearings?: 
N/A (e.g., Agency Not Party to Hearing)
Are ex parte contacts prohibited?: 
Regulations/rules of practice for appeal hearings (please include CFR citations): 
38 CFR Parts 3, 19 & 20
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Hearing Procedure
What types of hearings are permitted on appeals adjudicated by this office?: 
Please provide the approximate percentage of each type of hearing relative to the total number of appeal hearings (FY2013)
How is the type of hearing selected for appeals heard by this office?: 
By Private Party
Required by Rule
How many appeal officers preside at each hearing?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Usually a single Veterans Law Judge (VLJ) presides at a hearing; however, multiple VLJs may preside at a hearing, as necessary.
Is factual development permitted at the appellate hearing as a means of supplementing the record from below?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Can third-parties submit amicus briefs and/or evidence?: 
Are appeal hearings recorded and/or transcribed?: 
N/A (Document-Only Hearings)
Are appeal hearings open to the public?: 
No (Hearings Always Closed/All Types of Cases)
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Oral hearings are presumed closed.
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Post-Hearing Procedure
Who typically drafts final decisions on appellate cases adjudicated by this office?: 
Adjudication Officer
Staff Attorney
Who has authority to issue final decisions on appellate cases adjudicated by this office?: 
Adjudication Officer
Do agency regulations or guidance provide time limits for issuance of final decisions on appellate cases?: 
About how long does it take on average—as of FY2013—to adjudicate appeals by this office?: 
235 Days
Is judicial review available after issuance of a final decision on appellate cases adjudicated by this office?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Case Management
How are claims/cases processed at this appellate office?: 
Please briefly describe your case management practice(s) at this office: 
Generally cases are decided by docket order; however, "[a] case may be advanced on the docket on the motion of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, a party to the case before the Board, or such party's representative." 38 CFR 20.900(c)(1).
Does the agency permit web-based electronic filing of briefs or other documents in cases adjudicated by this appellate office?: 
Are final decisions issued by this appellate office published and/or posted on the agency website?: 
Yes (All Decisions)
Do agency regulations/rules of practice specify the contents of the administrative record on appeals heard by this office?: 
Do agency regulations/rules of practice provide for closure of the record on appeals heard by this office?: 
Comments/Notes on Appellate Process & Procedures (Optional): 
Hearings before the Board take place either in-person or via video teleconferencing. In-person hearings occur either at the Board's offices in Washington, D.C. or in a veterans' local VA office (to which the Board member, or Veterans Law Judge, travels). Hearings are informal and non-adversarial, and a veteran may have a representative accompany him or her to the hearing. The Board accepts new evidence from a veteran at any time in the process (even after the hearing), and the Board has a duty to gather evidence newly identified or discovered by a veteran; however, it must usually remand the case to the local VA office should new evidence be presented that can influence the appeal, unless the veteran waives initial consideration of that evidence by the local VA office. Decisions by the Board are not precedential; however, OGC may issue precedential decisions. See 38 CFR 19.5 If there is no applicable rule or procedure supplied, the Chairman may prescribe one consistent with statute and regulation. See 38 CFR 20.2 The Board uses the "benefit of the doubt" rule, which resolves an approximate balance of positive and negative evidence in favor of the veteran.
Total # of Appeal Officers: 
Comments/Notes on Appellate Adjudicators (Optional): 
"The principal functions of the Board are to make determinations of appellate jurisdiction, consider all applications on appeal properly before it, conduct hearings on appeal, evaluate the evidence of record, and enter decisions in writing on the questions presented on appeal." 38 CFR 19.4
ADR: General Information
Is ADR available at one or more points for appellate cases heard by this office?: 
CASELOAD STATISTICS - Supplementary Statistics
Does your agency maintain annual caseload statistics for this hearing office by case type (e.g., discrimination complaint, licen: 
If "Yes," please indicate preferred format below.: 
Separate email with statistical attachment (e.g., PDF, MS-Word, Excel)
Do you have any additional comments about your agency's responses on this form? If so, please provide comments below.: 
The Board of Veterans' Appeals does not operate in a manner which allows for easy categorization under the "hearing level" and "appeal level" definitions being used for this study. The Board of Veterans' Appeals adjudicates any and all claims arising under a law that affects the provisions of benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs. All such claims are reviewed de novo. The Board provides the opportunity for all appellants to have hearings with respect to their claims, regardless of whether they have already been provided with hearings as part of the claim/appeal process at a lower level. The purpose of a hearing before the Board "is to receive argument and testimony relevant and material to the appellate issue." 38 CFR 20.700(b). No adjudication is done at any Board hearing. As such, the Board feels that it is best categorized as an "appellate level" agency within the definition of this study, but it also engages in actions that this study categorizes as "hearing level." For completeness, the Board has provided information on both the Appellate and Hearing Level forms. Due to numerous types of claims that the Board has jurisdiction over and the extensive legislative authority which has created all of these types of claims, it would be very labor intensive to provide the original Legal Authorities (Statute/Exec. Order) and Statute (Common Name) for all case types listed in this form. As such, the pre-populated entries in those fields have not been checked for accuracy. As to Part V, question 1, the number provided for "Total # Cases Filed/Opened" includes (1) new cases added to the Board's docket and (2) cases received at the Board, which consist of all cases physically received at the Board, including original appeals and cases returned to the Board's docket. Please see page 27 of the Board's Annual Report for FY2013 regarding this information (sent separately). As to Part V, question 2, Supplementary Statistics, they can be found on page 24 of the Board's Annual Report for FY2013 (sent separately). If you have any questions about the answers given in this form, please contact the individuals listed on the following page.
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