Veterans should know that an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) does not guarantee that your disability claim will be approved. You can go through each of the various appeal options available to you under the Appeals Modernization Act, including appealing your case to the BVA, and still have your claim denied.
In a recent fiscal year, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals reported that it approved about 40 percent of appeals presented to it. If you find yourself among those who received notification that your appeal was denied, you need to know that you still have options.
Next Stop: The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals has the final say on your disability claim within the VA system but does not have the final word on your claim overall. Once the BVA has issued its denial, your next step is to appeal the denial to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). There are several characteristics of the CAVC that you should know:
- The CAVC Is Not Part of the VA: The CAVC sits outside the VA system and exists to review decisions made within the VA structure. It is staffed by lawyers and judges who are not part of the VA, providing them with a fresh perspective on your claim.
- The CAVC Will Not Receive New Evidence: Unlike the BVA, which can receive new evidence that was not presented to your Regional Office, you will not have an opportunity to supplement your claim before the CAVC reviews it. Instead, the CAVC will review the existing record and determine if the VA adjudicated your claim properly and in accordance with the law.
- There is a Strict Timeline for Appealing to the CAVC: You will have 120 days from the date the BVA mails you its denial letter to docket your appeal with the CAVC. If you fail to do so, you must start the disability claim process all over again. Not only is this an inconvenience, but the effective date for your claim will be the day you file your new claim, not the day associated with your older claim that you failed to appeal.
Benefits of Working with a Veterans Law Attorney
If you have made it to the BVA without an attorney’s assistance and received a denial notice, now is the time to get knowledgeable legal help with your next steps. Not only does the CAVC have a specific deadline for docketing your appeal, but specific rules and regulations govern its operations. Winning your claim before the CAVC is crucial for you to get the benefits and back pay you deserve, and a veterans law attorney can give you the edge you need to prevail.
Whether you are just starting the VA’s disability claims process or you have received your denial notice from the BVA, Veterans Law Attorneys can step in and quickly get your claim moving in the right direction. Contact us by calling (866) 894-9773 or visit us online to schedule your initial consultation with us.