Questions About Your VA Claim or Appeal Under the New Process

What you need to know about the new VA appeals process.

For VA decisions made on or after February 19, 2019, appeals are no longer accepted under the Veterans Administration's legacy appeals system. There are now three ways you can challenge the denial of any or all of your claim(s). Here are some frequently asked questions about the new VA appeals process.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Represent Me at My Appeal?

You may choose to have a representative present during your videoconference or in-person hearing or you may elect to proceed without a representative. The VA regulates how much lawyers can charge veterans for handling an appeal. To learn more, read our article on hiring and paying a VA-accredited lawyer.

The VA can help you find an accredited VA attorney, claims agent, or Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representative. To learn more, visit the VA's website at www.va.gov/decision-reviews/get-help-with-review-request/.

How Do I Testify Before a Veterans Law Judge?

If you chose the third route in the new appeals system, a Veterans Board Appeal, and you request a hearing, you have three ways to provide testimony to the Veterans Law Judge.

  • Participate in a virtual hearing from the comfort of your own home.
  • Participate in a video conference hearing at a VA location near you (this may be more optimal than an “at-home” hearing, because the VA has the most up-to-date video conferencing technology).
  • Request an in-person hearing to take place before the Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington, D.C. This option will take more than a year to complete and significantly longer than cases where no hearing is requested.

What Happens During a Video Conference?

If you have a representative, the representative will be with you during the videoconference.

The Veterans Law Judge will listen to your reasons why you believe you are entitled to benefits that were not granted and may ask you or your representative questions about your claim. You can give the judge any new evidence you have about your claim. The judge will let you know if you should go to a VA medical exam after the hearing. You can also add new and relevant evidence up to 90 days after the hearing.

This hearing is transcribed, and the written transcript will become part of your appeal file.

To learn more, see the VA's brochure on video hearings.

If I Win My Claim on Appeal, What Will the Effective Date Be?

With the new appeals system in place, as long as you can accomplish your review or appeal using one of the newly created three routes, your effective date for any claim granted will date back to your original claim.

What If I Disagree With the Decision of the Veterans Law Judge?

Once a decision is rendered, the veteran can disagree and appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. This appeal to the Court of Appeals must be made within 120 days. The Court of Appeals may not view new evidence, but it can remand back to the Board of Veterans Appeals for a new decision.

Can I Change My Route to Review or Appeal?

Yes, you can change your mind! If you want to change the route you originally chose, you can send in a new decision review request form within a year from the date of your Veterans Benefits Administration decision. Include a letter explaining why you changed your mind.

If you chose a Board Appeal and you want to change to a Higher-Level Review or Supplemental Claim, you can switch within one year from the date on your Veterans Benefits Administration decision or 60 days from the date on which you submitted your original form and selection.

Note, you cannot select a different appeal option if you have already submitted your evidence or if you have already had your hearing.

How Can I Find My Status for My Claim or Appeal?

You can track your claim or appeal progress on a new VA web page. The Board of Veterans Appeals has recently created an Appeals Tracker where you can check the status of your claims or appeals. To create an account, go to https://www.va.gov/claim-or-appeal-status/.

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