After waiting years to receive a decision from the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA or the Board), it is disheartening to receive a denial. However, there are still options available.
First you need to determine whether your appeal is in the legacy or the modernized appeals system. If you filed a Notice of Disagreement, received a Statement of the Case, then filed a Form 9 before your appeal was finally sent to BVA, then you have a legacy appeal. If you filed a VA Form 10182, your appeal is in the modernized system.
In the legacy system, a decision from BVA can only be appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). An appeal to CAVC requires identification of a legal error in the BVA decision. It is not possible to appeal solely on factual grounds. It is not possible to file additional evidence when appealing to CAVC. If you have additional evidence to file, a supplemental claim can be filed at the Regional Office, but the effective date of any subsequent grant of benefits will be the date of the supplemental claim, not the date of the original claim appealed to BVA.
In the modernized system, a BVA decision can still be appealed to CAVC, but veterans also have the option of filing a supplemental claim at the Regional Office level and retaining all back pay. As long as you continuously pursue the appeal, meaning that you always file a valid claim within the applicable timeframe, benefits may be awarded back to the date the claim was initially filed.
It is vitally important to understand whether your claim is in the legacy or the modernized system. It is equally important to understand the options and filing deadlines associated with each system. A knowledgeable advocate can provide valuable assistance in making those determinations and ensuring that the appropriate forms are filed in a timely manner. Contact the legal experts at West & Dunn at 608-535-6420 or through our Contact Us page for a free consultation of your case.