Winning Strategies for a Favorable BVA Appeal Decision

If your claim is denied at the regional office or BVA level, you have a legal right to appeal. Through careful planning, persuasive arguments, and additional evidence, veterans can convert a denial to a grant.

Practice Your Presentation

Once you’ve submitted your higher-level review or supplemental claim, it can take several months to a few years for BVA to complete the appeals process. Your case may be on an evidence docket during this time, so you can submit new evidence for a VLJ to review.

Alternatively, your attorney may request a personal hearing with a Decision Review Officer at your regional office. This DRO will conduct a de novo review and may overturn or uphold your previous unfavorable decision. In either scenario, you must be prepared to make the strongest possible arguments to win the Board of Veterans appeals decisions. By preparing your evidence and working closely with an experienced VA benefits attorney, you can ensure your claims are heard and understood. If you still need more time to satisfy after this process, filing a further appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is important. This will require another hearing and a lengthy wait.

Read Your C-File

When veterans submit a request for a copy of their VA C file, they should expect to wait 10-12 weeks before they receive the CD. The C file contains any applications and appeals they have filed for benefits, including any requests to review a decision or for higher-level appeals.

A veteran’s C file should include copies of service medical records and any records from VA Medical Centers and private treatment centers that have provided care to the veteran. In addition, the C file should contain compensation and pension exam reports (C&P Exams) written by an examiner who evaluates a veteran for disability ratings. In most cases, the C file will also contain any rating decisions made by the VA and internal memos about the veteran’s case. It is important to read this information to understand what evidence has already been considered and why the claim was granted or denied.

Gather Additional Evidence

The first step is to gather any additional evidence that you have. This can include medical records that document the severity of your symptoms or a supplemental claim for benefits. The key is to present a persuasive argument and a strong case with as much new evidence as possible.

A JMR is a detailed argument that focuses on the legal or factual errors in the original decision. It is the most difficult type of appeal to win, but it can be very effective if done properly. A JMR should be as precise and focused as possible to limit the issues on which the BVA adjudicator can construct another denial.

Prepare for Your Hearing

The BVA judge will look at your evidence and make a decision. They may rule in your favor and grant you benefits if initially denied. They may also remand your case and ask you to submit additional evidence. This occurs when the RO fails to consider a claim or theory that the evidence suggests you have (but that you didn’t specifically raise). If your appeal is remanded, you will receive a Statement of the Case within one year of the date of your DRO decision. At this stage, you can hire an attorney to handle your appeal for a fee.