What Is a BVA Denial?
A BVA denial is when the Board of Veterans Appeals denies a veteran’s claim for benefits. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as the veteran not providing enough evidence to support their claim or the VA concluding that the veteran’s injury or illness did not occur or was not caused by their military service. If the BVA denies your claim, you may be able to appeal their decision. A BVA denial can be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
What Is the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims?
The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) is a federal court that specializes in hearing appeals from veterans and their dependents who are seeking benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The court is comprised of judges who are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The court reviews cases to determine whether the VA’s decision was reasonable and in accordance with applicable law. The court is authorized to review any decision made by the BVA, including decisions on benefits claims, denials of benefits, and revocations of benefits.
The CAVC hears cases based on three primary grounds:
1. The VA’s Denial of a Benefit Was Not Based on a Correct Interpretation of the Law
Issue: The VA denied a benefit to a veteran that should have been granted.
Reasoning: The VA denied the benefit because they misinterpreted the law.
Impact: The VA’s decision caused harm to the veteran and his family.
Conclusion: The VA’s decision was wrong and must be corrected.
This is the most common ground for a veteran to bring an appeal. In these cases, the VA will be expected to conduct its own investigation and provide a written response to the veteran’s claims.
2. The VA’s Decision Was Not Supported by Substantial Evidence
Here are two examples:
Introduction: The VA’s decision to not provide Agent Orange benefits to Air Force reservists was not supported by substantial evidence.
Background: The VA made the decision after a study found that the Air Force reservists were not exposed to Agent Orange.
The Evidence: Veterans groups and other experts argue that the study was flawed and did not take into account all of the evidence.
The Consequences: The VA’s decision could have a devastating impact on many veterans who are already struggling with health problems related to Agent Orange exposure.
Conclusion: The VA’s decision was not based on substantial evidence and should be reversed.
Introduction: The VA’s decision to not cover a veteran’s mental health treatment was not supported by substantial evidence.
VA’s Point: The VA stated that the veteran’s mental health treatment was not related to his (or her) military service.
Substantial Evidence: The evidence shows that the veteran’s mental health condition was related to his military service.
Conclusion: The VA’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence and should be reversed.
This is another common ground for a veteran to bring appeal. Here, the VA will be expected to provide its own evidence and arguments as to why it made its decision.
3. The VA Violated the Veteran’s Rights
Introduction: The VA violated the veteran’s rights when they denied him benefits.
The VA’s Violation: The veteran was denied benefits due to an error on the part of the VA.
The Consequences: The veteran has had to go without benefits and has suffered as a result.
What Needs to be Done: The VA needs to rectify the situation and compensate the veteran for their mistake.
Conclusion: The VA must be held accountable for its actions and ensure that this does not happen again.
This ground is seldom used, and the VA will be expected to provide evidence as to why it violated the veteran’s rights.
Types of Denials
There are a few different types of BVA denials:
- The first is a denial for lack of evidence, which means that the VA does not have enough evidence to make a decision on the claim.
- The second type of denial is a denial for medical reasons, which means that the VA believes that the veteran’s illness or injury is not service-connected.
What Can You Do if the BVA Denies Your Claim?
Has your claim been denied by the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA)? If so, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) has exclusive jurisdiction to hear appeals from decisions by the Department of Veterans Affairs Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The CAVC hears appeals involving service-connected disability claims, death benefits, the VA home loan, and waiver of overpayments.
Is There a Deadline to File My Claim?
You only have 120 days from the date of a final BVA decision to file what is called a Notice of Appeal with the CAVC. It is important that you do not miss the 120-day deadline. If you miss the deadline, you can still reopen your claim at the Regional Office by submitting new and relevant evidence. However, this option does not protect the effective date of your original claim, and you will lose retroactive compensation that could have been preserved by filing an appeal.
If the CAVC finds the BVA committed an error in deciding your claim, commonly the CAVC will remand, or send the claim back to the BVA for them to correct the error. If the CAVC grants the claim, the Regional Office will issue a new rating decision.
What Are Your Next Steps?
Appeals at the CAVC involve complicated rules of practice and procedure, settlement conferences, appellate brief writing, and sometimes oral arguments. It is best to have an experienced DuPage County VA disability law firm such as the Law Offices of Edward M. Farmer to review your BVA denial at no cost to you. Contact the BVA denial attorney at the Law Offices of Edward M. Farmer before the 120-day deadline passes.
You may connect with the Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Law Firm by calling 1 (800) 700-4174 today.
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