The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), was established by Congress in 1988 to ensure that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) follows all applicable laws when making decisions on disability benefits claims.
What the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Does
When the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) denies an appeal, a veteran can choose to continue within the appeals process by appealing their case to the CAVC. The CAVC has exclusive jurisdiction to review BVA decisions. It is important to note that the CAVC is not a part of VA, so it has no bias toward VA. This allows veterans to receive objective decisions on their appeals.
The CAVC will either uphold the denial or send the case back (remand) to the BVA. If the CAVC sends the case back to the Board, it means it agrees with the veteran that the Board made a legal error in denying the appeal. At this point, a veteran can add new evidence to their case.
Note: The CAVC can also reverse the decision made by the BVA.
Terms You Need to Know
There are several terms you should know to help you understand the CAVC appeals process.
Notice of Appeal
You must file a Notice of Appeal (NOA) within 120 days of the initial BVA decision. The veterans’ advocates at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help you correctly fill out and file your NOA.
Notice of Docketing
A Notice of Docketing will include your hearing date, time, and location; what the CAVC will decide upon at the hearing; and the procedures to follow before and during the hearing. In many cases, your hearing will be done via telephone as the CAVC is located in Washington, DC.
Record Before the Agency
The Record Before the Agency (RBA) is the complete file VA has on your case. The CAVC will give you your RBA and a Notice to File Brief.
Designation of Record
You must submit your Designation of Record, or DOR, along with your entire case file within 60 days of docketing. If you do not have a lawyer at this point, we recommend having a lawyer look over your DOR before sending it in. A small mistake could cause you to lose your case.
Why Having an Attorney Is Beneficial to Your Case
When you reach the CAVC level in the appeals process, you are going up against VA. VA will have an attorney defending its decision; you should have an attorney fighting for your best interests. In addition to representing you at your hearing, a veterans’ attorney will work on your behalf to ensure all paperwork correctly and efficiently.
The team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to represent you before the CAVC and help fight for the benefits you deserve.
Call us today for a free consultation: 800-544-9144.
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