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Veteran Law Judge explains what to expect during BVA Hearing

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Veteran Law Judge explains what to expect during BVA Hearing

BVA Hearing: What to Expect.
Gain insight into the BVA Hearing process with helpful advice from a Veteran Law Judge.

BVA Hearing: What to Expect.

Understanding a BVA hearing. VA understands that if you don’t agree with the initial decision VA made on your claim and choose to appeal to the BVA, there is a range of options available. But it can be difficult for many people to decide what’s best for them since they may not know what lies ahead. To help you make an informed choice, here are some possible paths your case may take.

A Veteran Law Judge explains the process of a BVA Hearing what veterans need to do and how a BVA Hearing is conducted either in person or via Virtual Meeting.  This is great information for Veterans that need their decision made.

Read the full article here: What to expect during a Board of Veterans’ Appeals hearing – VA News

In the video, Judge Tanya Smith, a Veterans Law Judge, explains to Veterans what to expect, what to prepare, and what happens after a BVA hearing.

Board of Veterans Appeals Board Hearing Overview – YouTube

For your convenience here is a transcript of the video

Hello, I am Cheryl Mason,

Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

Listening to Veteran feedback, we have heard that Veterans

are not sure what to expect during a Board hearing.

In this video, one of my colleagues, Judge Tanya Smith

will walk you through what happens during your hearing,

and answer some of your questions.

As a Veterans Law Judge for more than 14 years, before I

became Chairman, people often ask me for tips about how to

prepare for their hearings. My advice is to work with your

representative, make sure you have your evidence ready, and

answer the Judge’s questions to the best of your ability.

Remember, the Board Judge is there to here to help you.

With that, I will turn this over to Judge Smith.

And to all Veterans, family members, and caregivers, thank you for your service.

Hello. This is the Board of Veterans Appeals Board

Hearing Overview. Thank You for taking the time to watch

this video. My name is Judge Tanya Smith

and I am a Veterans Law Judge at the Board

of Veterans Appeals today I am going

to give you an overview of the Board hearing process.

During this video, you will learn about the variety of

ways a Board hearing can take place. I’ll also tell you

what to expect during a Board hearing, and what happens

after your Board hearing and finally, we’ll go over the

decision process and when you can expect to get your decision.

To start, you should know that you do not have to

have a hearing. Board hearings are entirely optional and not

necessary for the Board to decide your appeal. To save

wait time, you may instead choose to submit a written

statement in support of your appeal and a Veterans

Law Judge will carefully review and consider any statements

you submit before deciding your appeal. If you do decide to have

a hearing, VA strongly supports having an accredited

representative with you at your hearing, such as someone from

a Veterans Service Organization, or VSO, a VA-accredited

lawyer, or a claims agent. You can find a list of

representatives on the VA’s website at accreditation/index.asp

Hearings at the Board can take place in a variety of ways and

you are encouraged to choose the format that best fits your

circumstances: One option is a virtual tele-hearing that can

be held from your home or from a location of your choosing

You are no longer required to travel to a VA facility

for a hearing. A virtual tele-hearing is an easy, modern

way to connect with a Veterans Law Judge from any location.

Using your computer or mobile device, you will connect

directly to a secure, virtual tele-hearing room scheduled

just for you. During this meeting, you and the Judge can

see and hear each other and talk just as you would face to

face. Your representative, caregiver, family member, or

whomever you choose can be with you. Another option is a

videoconference hearing at a VA location near you. The Board

will contact you via a letter to schedule your appearance and

inform you of the date, time, and place of your hearing.

You will report to your hearing location with your

representative and anyone else you would like with you for

support. The VA Regional facility that is hosting your

hearing will use state-of-the-art equipment to connect

a video and audio feed to a Veterans Law Judge in

Washington DC who will hear your story?

Finally, your third option is you can elect to travel to

Washington D.C. to have an in-person hearing at the

Board of Veterans’ Appeals. You might be thinking: which

hearing is right for me? The answer is, it completely

depends on your circumstances. One really great advantage

of choosing a virtual tele-hearing instead of an

in-person hearing is that you won’t have to travel anywhere.

This is really helpful especially if your closest

The regional office is far from your home. You can have

your hearing from your home, from your car:

as long as you have a strong connection and a phone,

computer, or tablet, you can have your hearing.

I’m now going to talk about what happens during

your Board hearing, regardless of which option you choose.

Just before your hearing begins, the judge may conduct

a pre-hearing conference. At this conference some

preliminary matters will be reviewed, such as issues

that are going to be discussed and whether you are submitting

any additional evidence at your hearing. At the start

of the hearing, the judge will ask you to raise your right

hand, if possible, and swear you in, asking you to take an

oath or affirm that you’ll tell the truth during the

hearing. During the hearing your representative

if you have one, and the judge will have a conversation

about the issues on appeal. Please keep in mind that these

hearings are an opportunity for you to tell your story, and

you should be comfortable in doing so. The judge will listen

to your testimony and may ask you a few questions to better

understand your case. Your representative, if you have one,

may help you at the hearing. Here are some

things you should do during the hearing. Tell the judge why you

you qualify for the VA benefits in your appeal. Answer any

questions the judge has about your appeal. Share any new

evidence with the judge – You can choose to add new and

relevant evidence, either at the hearing or within 90 days

after the hearing. Adding evidence is optional.

Hearings typically last about 30 minutes. Once your hearing

has concluded, please understand that the Veterans Law Judge

will not issue a decision on your appeal at that time. The

hearing is only a way for you to submit evidence and explain

your case to a Veterans Law Judge, not a way of obtaining

a decision in that moment. After the hearing,

a transcript of everything that was discussed during

the hearing will be added to your file as evidence, in

addition to any evidence you submit at the hearing.

The transcript will be reviewed by a Veterans Law Judge

when deciding your appeal. If you want a copy of the

transcript, you or your representative should

request one during your hearing. Okay, you’ve had your hearing,

and your transcript and evidence are all in your file.

Now what? Let’s talk about the Decision process.

Under the law, appeals at the Board must be worked in

docket order. That means that an appeal filed in 2016 will

be worked before an appeal filed in 2020. When the 90-day

the time period for submitting new evidence after your hearing has

concluded, your appeal will be placed on the docket

for a decision by a judge. If you don’t have new

evidence to submit, you can waive the 90-day time period

that is automatically added to your appeal. However, sometimes

Veterans Service Organizations will ask for time to make

additional arguments in support of your case, so contact your

representative first if you’re considering waiving this time

period. When the docket date is reached, the appeal will go to

the Judge, who will then review the hearing transcript and

the other evidence in your appeal file before making a

decision. You will receive your decision in the mail

and your representative will also receive a copy. You can

track the status of your appeal by signing in at

At the Board, our mission is you – the Veteran and your

family. Your hearing is an opportunity to sit down with VA

and tell your story so that the Judge has the information to

decide your appeal. Every Veteran’s story and experience

is unique, and we are here to guide you through this process

to ensure you receive the benefits and services you

deserve. For more information about the Board, please

visit BVA Thank you.


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