Collecting veterans’ disability compensation benefits can be a long and complex process. While some veterans receive benefits after an initial application, most must pursue several appeals to obtain compensation.
While many appeals end with a hearing before a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, some applicants may have to take their cases even further. Former servicemembers who have received several denials can file a Notice of Appeal through the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims, often referred to simply as CAVC, with the help of a dedicated attorney from VetLaw’s team.
The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims is typically the last available option for former servicemembers who have received denials for disability benefits. Although certain CAVC decisions may be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and even the United States Supreme Court, the jurisdiction of those Courts is limited to reviewing only certain legal issues. This means that most veterans find their last resort for proving entitlement to service connection at the CAVC.
It is important to consider that most veterans will have fought their case for many years before filing an appeal through the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims. A claimant must face a denial of benefits at the local level, i.e. a Regional Office, and from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Prior to receiving a denial from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, most veterans will have a hearing before a Veterans Law Judge. During this hearing, a veteran will have their final chance to submit new evidence and provide testimony about why they should be awarded benefits. It is only if this hearing fails to produce a favorable outcome that a person may ask the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims to intervene. No additional evidence may be presented to the CAVC, so it is important to make sure all relevant evidence is provided to the Veterans Law Judge.
The jurisdiction of the CAVC is generally limited to a review of legal or factual errors that a veteran alleges were made by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. In other words, the Court of Appeals only hears argument based on legal interpretation – it generally does not rule on the underlying issue of whether the applicant is disabled entitled to receive entitlement to compensation. A knowledgeable lawyer can offer more insight about the processes which must precede filing an appeal through the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims.
The United States Court of Appeal for Veterans’ Claims does not accept new evidence when making decisions. In fact, most of these cases do not require a claimant or their attorney to appear in person. The Court will review the entirety of the record, including the veteran’s complete claims file. Both the veteran and a VA attorney will file legal briefs for the judge’s consideration. In more complex cases, a panel of three or more judges will review the cases, but generally a single judge will rule on a case.
A single judge or a panel of judges will review the case and issue a written decision. In most situations, the decision will either affirm the Board’s holding or remand the case for further development based on a finding of administrative error made by the judge at the Board of Veterans Appeals. In very rare cases, the CAVC may reverse the Board’s decision and order that entitlement to service connection be granted.
Many veterans find that their claims for benefits face resistance at both the local and federal level. When you take all necessary legal steps to obtain benefits and still do not receive the payments that you deserve, you should consider your options for filing one more appeal.
The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims is often the last chance for claimants to provide entitlement to service connection and obtain disability compensation. The jurisdiction of the Court is solely vested in reviewing the decisions made by Veterans Law Judges for legal errors. This means that you will not have a chance to submit new evidence or make an argument in person, although some panel cases involve oral argument by legal counsel.
If you believe that the Board made an error in denying your case, or that a judge did not give you a fair chance at your hearing, you should consider an appeal to the CAVC. Call today to discuss the details of your case and the potential for appealing the Board’s decision.