Sign up for the Benefits Newsletter

Related Benefits Articles

  • The U.S. Supreme Court
    U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
    If you disagree with a decision of the Board of Veterans' Appeals you may appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans' Claims
  • Veterans Affairs VA Seal
    The Appeals Process Overview
    Was your recent VA disability compensation award not enough? Have you been denied VA education, pensions, or health care benefits?
  • Legal Advice. Notepad with message, coffee cup and red pencil. Office supplies on desk table top view.
    The Appeals Process: Step 5
    If you wish you can request a personal hearing, a meeting between you and a the official who will decide your case.
  • Veterans Affairs VA Seal
    The Appeals Process: Step 7
    If you disagree with the Board's final ruling, you can appeal to the Court of Veterans Appeals for Veterans Claims within 120 days
  • Legal, legally, law.
    The Appeals Process: Step 6
    The Board will notify you when it gets your appeal from the local VA office. When your turn arrives, your file will be examined

Most Popular Benefits Articles

  • Department of Veterans Affairs
    2017 VA Disability Compensation Rates
    The following tables show the current VA compensation rates for veterans with a disability rating 10 percent or higher.
  • Airman helping service member with paperwork
    Proposed Military Pay Charts for 2018
    Despite that fact that the White House and Senate are looking at a potential 2.1% pay raise for 2018, the House Armed Services ...
  • Military Pay Charts
    2017 Military Pay Charts
    Check out the 2017 US military pay scale charts for all ranks for active duty, as well as Reserve and Guard components.
  • The VA medical center in Washington, D.C., is under investigation after a veteran was found dead in his vehicle parked at the facility in May 2017. Washington DC VA Medical Center/Facebook
    Veteran Disability Compensation
    Veterans with a service-related disability may qualify for over $3,300 in monthly benefits.
  • us map with state abbreviations
    State Veteran's Benefits
    Every state and territory offers benefits for veterans and their families. See our details, updated for 2016!

The Appeals Process Glossary

Dictionary books on the white background (3d render)
Dictionary books on the white background (3d render)

Are you submitting a VA appeal and want to have a better understanding of the terms used throughout the process? This glossary contains many of the terms commonly used in the appeal process and provides a general definition for each. Click on a term below to see the general definition.

Advance on the Docket

- A change in the order in which an appeal is reviewed and decided, from the date when it would normally occur to an earlier date.

Agency of Original Jurisdiction

- Another term for a local VA office.


- A person who has appealed a local VA office claim determination.

Associate Counsel

- See Counsel.


- The Board of Veterans Appeals.

Board of Veterans' Appeals

- The section of the VA that reviews benefit claims appeals and issues decisions on those appeals.

Board Member

- An attorney appointed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and approved by the President of the U.S. to decide veteran benefits appeals.


- Abbreviation of Board of Veterans Appeals.

BVA Hearing

- A personal hearing held at the BVA office in Washington, DC, or at a local VA office, that is conducted by a Board member. These hearing can also be held by video conference from some regional offices.


- A request for veterans' benefits.

Claim Number

- A number assigned by the VA that identifies a person who has filed a claim; often called a "C-number." The VA now uses the veteran's Social Security number for tis purpose, but older files still bear the "C-number."

Claims File or Claims Folder

- The file containing all documents concerning a veteran's claim.


- Counsel and Associate Counsel are attorneys skilled in veterans' law who assist Board members in preparing decisions. They are like law clerks who help judges.


- The product of the BVA's review of an appeal. A decision might, for example, grant or deny the benefit or benefits claimed, or remand the case back to the local VA office for additional action.


- A decision on a claim made by a local VA office.


- A listing of appeals that have been filed with the BVA. Appeals are listed in numerical order, called docket number order, based on when a VA Form 9 is received by the local VA office.


- To submit written material, usually by mailing it or delivering it in person.


- Something specific you want the Board to grant you when it reviews your appeal. For example, if you filed an appeal asking the Board to grant you service connections for a heart disorder and a knee disability, and grant you a higher disability rating for an already service-connected soulder disability, the appeal would be said to contain three issues.


- A legal term used to describe a request that the Board take some specific action in processing your appeal (such as advance your case on the docket), or that it give you permission to do something concerning your appeal (such as send in evidence late in the appeal process). The Board's "Rules of Practice" tell you when a motion is required, what a particular motion should include and where you should file it. Most motions must be in writing.

Motion to Advance on the Docket

- A request that the BVA review and decide an appeal sooner than it normally would for a specific reason.

Motion to Reconsider

- A request for the BVA to review (recosnider) its decision on an appeal.

Personal Hearing

- A meeting, similar to an interview, between an appellant and a VA official who will decide an appellant's case, during which testimony and other evidence supporting the case will be presented. There are two types of personal hearings: local office hearings (also called regional office hearings or hearing officer hearings) and BVA hearings.



- The action the Board takes in returning an appeal to the local VA office where the claim originated. This action is taken when something else needs to be done before the Board can make a decisionin an appeal.


- Someone familiar with the VA's benefit claim process who assists claimants in the preparation and presentation of an appeal. Most representatives are Veterans Service Organization employees who specialize in veterans benefit claims. Other individuals such as lawyers may also serve as appeal representatives.

Simultaneously Contested Claim

- A simultaneously contested claim is a claim where more than one person is trying to get a VA benefit or status that only one of them can have. Examples might be two people each claming they are entitled to all of the proceeds of the same life insurance policy, or two people each asking to be recognized as a particular veteran's lawful surviving spouse.


- Abbreviation for Statement of the Case.


Statement of the Case

- This is a document prepared by the local VA office processing your appeal. It gives you a summary of the evidence considered in your case, a listing of the laws and regulations used to decide your claim, and an explanation of why the local VA office decided your claim as it did. Reviewing the SOC will help you prepare your substantive appeal.

Substantive Appeal

- Normally, a completed VA Form 9.


- Abbreviation for Supplemental Statement of the Case.

Supplemental Statement of the Case

- An update to an SOC prepared when the VA receives new evidence, or a new issue is added to an appeal, after the SOC was prepared.


- This is the legal term used to describe what you and others who know about the facts of your case (witnesses) say at a hearing. Basically, to "testify" at a BVA hearing just means to tell what you know about your case. VA hearings are much more informal than court hearings, so you don't need to worry about technical rules of evidence or being cross-examined when you testify.

Travel Board Hearing

- A personal hearing conducted at a local VA office by a Board member.

United States Court of Appeals For Veterans Claims

- An independent Federal court that reviews appeals of BVA decisions.

VA Form 9

- You receive this VA form, titled "Appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals," with the SOC. It is the form you fill out and file with the local VA office to complete your appeal.

Veterans Service Organization (VSO)

- An organization that represents the interests of veterans. Most VSOs have specific membership criteria, although membership is not usually required to obtain assistance with benefit claims and appeals. Your local VA office can provide information about VSOs serving your area.

Related Topics

VA Claims and Appeals

Military News App by

Download the new News App for Android on Google Play or for Apple devices on iTunes!

Featured VA Loan Articles