Scheme Nickname: 
Benefits adjudication before the Board of Veterans' Appeals

The Board of Veterans' Appeals reviews 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. 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 60 days to file VA Form 9 to request a hearing before the Board. Note: after receiving a determination, 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.

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, 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.

Comments/Notes on Adjudication Structure: 
The veteran first applies to either the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA), the Veterans Health Administration, the National Cemetery Administration, or the Office of General Counsel (see 38 CFR 3.2600 for a brief overview of the initial process). If the veteran is dissatisfied with a determination that he/she receives, then he may submit an appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (more than 96% of appeals arise from VBA). The Board may decide the case by reversing, remanding, or sustaining the determination of the agency below. If the veteran is dissatisfied with the Board's decision, he/she may appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans' Claims--an Article I court. Further levels of review include the Federal Circuit Court and U.S. Supreme Court.
Types of Adjudication: 
Type B
Resources & Articles:
Distinctive Features: 
The VA has a duty to assist veterans develop their claims. This includes helping to identify and gather evidence that will bolster veterans' requests for benefits. The record never closes.
Verified by Agency: 
Is this a Major Adjudication: