In a time where the Coronavirus is keeping most people home, you may be wondering what this means for your claim for disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Currently, all Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) hearings are cancelled until May 1, while the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims remains open.
However, BVA hearings can be held virtually from the comfort of your home whether it be over the phone or via a video conference using a computer with a webcam. This feature allows veterans to have their hearings from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Requests for virtual hearings are submitted the same way as in-person hearings. When the Notice of Disagreement is filed and you receive a letter from the Board offering a hearing date, you can request a virtual hearing.
You will receive notice at least 30 days in advance of your hearing about the date, time, and location via email and a letter in the mail. It will also include a link to the Board’s online hearing platform.
During the virtual hearing, you will be sworn in and take an oath to tell the truth. The judge will hear your testimony and may ask questions. If you have legal representation, they can assist during the hearing.
VA recommends that you use a personal computer with a secure Wi-Fi connection in a private room where you will not be disrupted. Google Chrome is the preferred browser for virtual hearings, with Internet Explorer being the next best alternative if Google Chrome is unavailable.
If you will be using an Apple device, you will need to download the application VA Video Connect. Android devices will launch the hearing software automatically in a browser.
After the virtual hearing has ended, you and your attorney will be given an audio recording of the hearing, which will also be transcribed. After the 90-day window for submitting additional evidence closes, the Board will issue a decision on your eligibility for disability benefits.
In a time where large gatherings and person-to-person interactions are limited, virtual BVA hearings can be a great way for veterans to have their cases heard in a timely manner. If you would like to have a BVA virtual hearing, a VetLaw attorney can assist you, so call us today.