Understanding the Appeals Process

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Appeals of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ benefits rulings have been taking well more than a year to resolve. At least 350,000 veterans of wars before those in Iraq and Afghanistan have outstanding appeals of benefits decisions, according to VA records.

DAV will advise you on the appeals process and represent you for free. However, it’s helpful to know what to expect.

The Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) is part of the VA, but it is separate from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). If you have been denied disability benefits, you first seek review of the denial at the VBA Regional Office level. Next, you can appeal to the BVA.

There are three different types of BVA hearings you may have: a travel board hearing, a hearing in Washington D.C., or a videoconference hearing. These hearings are conducted in very similar fashion. But electing to use a videoconference hearing is much quicker to obtain a date, and the success rate for the appellant is even slightly better.

All of these hearings are held before a Veterans Law Judge from the Board of Veterans Appeals. The judge will have reviewed your file before the hearing and will summarize the issues you are appealing and discuss evidence that will be used during the hearing.  Usually the BVA visits each regional office annually for about five days to conduct travel board hearings. Multiple hearings will be scheduled for each time slot, and hearings are conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. It is to your advantage to arrive early to be one of the first claimants to sign in so you can avoid waiting too long for your hearing.

The same as with a travel board hearing, a BVA hearing slot in Washington, D.C. will have multiple claimants scheduled. So again, the first claimant to sign in will be the first to be heard, and so on.

When you have a videoconference hearing, the Veterans Law Judge is in the hearing room in Washington, D.C., while you and your NSO are in a conference room at your local VA office.


A decision will not be rendered immediately after the hearing. You will receive your decision at a later date. The judge may send your case back to your VA Regional Office (this is called a remand) to correct errors that may have been made. Or the judge may deny your appeal or may grant your benefits to you.


  • MKruzan

    I have been denied transportation by the DAV. I was never informed of any appeal process and was left with obtaining another means of transportation at my own expense for service connected medical services and treatment at the Iowa City VA Health Care which is out of state. I had contacted my VAC supervisor prior to my ride departing to cancel my ride due to illness and an injury that occurred the evening before and was unable to travel. I left a message on the VAC answering machine. During a county Veterans counsel meeting, I was told I would be denied future rides because I had not contacted the VAC supervisor the day before and that I had inconvenienced the driver and other riders. Less than a week later, I received a letter from the DAV at the Iowa City VA Health Care System stating that I am denied future rides on the DAV van without any information about a appeal process. I want to appeal and feel that I was denied future rides unfairly.

  • Timothy Gill

    how long do it take to see board

  • Rob Middleton

    Why would bva judge send remand to dav for a letter to support

  • CheeWeez Williams

    I just got approved for a motion to advance on the docket and the DAV is my representative. How long before they submit my argument so the board can make a decision? I don’t want a hearing. Just go with the evidence.

    • Solar Cell Phone

      My motion move fast in about 90 days after the JLV review your file u will move up quick .I’m waiting now for the judge to make a decision

  • Steve

    I got in a statement of case couple weeks ago denied my unemployability in other injuries on my IU part they because I was receiving drill pay I should be able to find a substantial job….WTH I was being medically retired getting ready for the board my unit told me I had to make sure I walk my papers through because they were not going to be responsible plus my orders stated I would still be a drill. It wasn’t like I was just 100% running and jumping just making sure documents being send over and get time in service papers straighten out I would feel since my commander did a evaluation on me and I also sent in the paper with her saying how she would not retain me and my service connected injuries and condition keep me from performing my job my job I did what I thought was right to get things done for me but I see the Veterans Administration really doesn’t care.

  • washburn road

    100% SSDI – 40% VA… I need an attorney – thoughts?

  • T CP

    Is there a time limit for choosing representation? I have a BVA hearing coming up. Waiting on a docket #.

    Thank you.

  • Karen Hall

    BVA board has sent the appeal back to the DAV office representing me? Ideas why? Has been put on docket with a 90 day response date for DAV.

  • chrisb23s

    the bva judge has my file. is there an average time for how long it will take for a decision. can anyone help