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The Appeals Process: Step 4

Judge bangs his gavel.

Once you have filed your appeal with your local VA office, it will be forwarded to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA). Your VA office will send you a letter when they receive your claims folder. You have 90 days from the mailing date of this letter, or when the Board decides your case (whichever comes first), to add more evidence to your file, request a hearing (see Step Five) or select/change your representative (See Step Three).

If you need to submit any of these items after the 90 days are up, you must submit a written request to the Board, with an explanation for why the item(s) are late.

Until your file is transferred to the Board, your local VA office is the best place to get information about your appeal. After your file has been transferred, you can call (202) 565-5436 to check on its status.

The Board processes appeals files in the order received. It will assign your case a docket number. For example, if your appeal was the very first appeal to be reviewed in the year 1999, it would have docket number 99-00001. Thus, the larger your docket number, the longer you may have to wait for your case to be reviewed.

On average, you may have to wait two or more years after you file your appeal for the Board to pass a final decision on your case. Complex cases may take longer. If you want your appeal to be reviewed sooner, you can try writing directly to the Board and explain the reasons why you need a quicker ruling. Write to this address:

Board of Veterans' Appeals (014)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20420

You will need "convincing proof of exceptional circumstances," which includes situations such as terminal illness, danger of bankruptcy or foreclosure, or an error by the VA that caused a significant delay in the docketing of your appeal. Be sure to provide evidence (i.e., bankruptcy notices) if you have it.

Move to Step 5

Related Topics

VA Claims and Appeals

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