A remand is an order from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) that sends a case back to the VA Regional Office for further action to be taken. The BVA will provide instructions on how the Regional Office should handle the claim, or what should be done differently from when the claim was originally processed.
A veteran who has filed a claim, received a denial or a rating that was too low, appealed the case, and likely spent several years waiting for a decision from the BVA may be disappointed when a remand occurs. Instead of affirming or denying the VA’s decision, a remand continues the process, which can be frustrating after a veteran has already spent years trying to get the disability benefits they deserve.
However, a remand is not necessarily a bad thing for a veteran. The BVA may order the Regional Office to analyze the case in a way that is more favorable to the Veteran, or give the Veteran a chance to develop critical evidence.
There may be several reasons for a remand. First, more evidence may be needed to determine the extent of a disability, or whether service-connection should be granted. A case may be remanded to receive a physician’s opinion on whether the disability was caused by an event that occurred during military service.
A case may also be remanded because it was not analyzed under the proper legal framework. If the wrong rating schedule was used, or if the Regional Office denied the case due to lack of service-connection for a disorder that should have been presumptively service-connected, then the BVA may remand the case back to the Regional Office, with instructions on how to properly analyze the claim.
The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) can also issue remands. When the CAVC remands a case, it is sending it back to the BVA to readjuciate the claim.
For example, a veteran appealed a decision by the BVA that denied an extraschedular referral for irritable bowel syndrome and a foot disability. An extraschedular referral is used when the ratings schedule does not adequately address a veteran’s symptoms, but the BVA did not address how the ratings schedule contemplated the Veteran’s symptoms.
The Court vacated the BVA’s decision and remanded the case. The BVA was ordered to address how the Veteran’s symptoms were contemplated by the assigned rating.
Another important thing to remember is that a remand is an order that must be followed. If the Regional Office fails to follow the instructions given by the BVA in the remand, then you can appeal your decision again.
If you need assistance with your appeal, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. Our veterans law practitioners have experience with every aspect of the appeals process. Call us at 401-331-6300 for a no-cost case evaluation.