FAQ Friday: When the Board remands your appeal, what happens?
Q: What is a remand?
When the Board of Veterans Appeals, also known as the Board or the BVA, makes a decision on your appeal, they can grant, deny, or remand your claim. If your claim (or a specific issue from your claim) is remanded, it will be sent back to your VA Regional Office or further evidence collection or for other procedural reasons.
More generally, “remand” is a legal term that describes the process in which a superior court remands—or sends back—an appeal to a lower court for another look. In a typical court system, a higher court usually remands a case when a lower court interprets a law incorrectly. In VA’s system, appeals are remanded for many reasons.
Q: Why did the Board remand my appeal?
The Board may remand your appeal if…
- there has been a change in law,
- your disability has worsened while on appeal,
- you introduce new evidence,
- the regional office didn’t process your claim correctly,
- the regional office did not gather enough evidence or did not gather the right evidence
This is not a complete list of reasons your claim may have been remanded. The Board, however, should explain in the decision the reason why your claim was remanded and what evidence or action the Regional Office needs to complete.
Q: What happens after my appeal is remanded?
Your appeal is sent back to your Regional Office (RO). The Board will send your claims file to your local VA Regional Office, where your claim was first adjudicated. The Board provides a list of tasks that it wants the Regional Office (as well as you and your attorney) to do before the Regional Office issues a new decision.
Evidence is gathered. If more evidence is needed, the Regional Office requests the appropriate evidence from you. You have 30 days to submit this evidence. Typically, the Duty to Assist law applies here, meaning the VA is required to help you develop your claim. This might mean, for example, scheduling you for another exam or gathering records on your behalf. In some remand situations, VA may ask you to attend another C&P Exam.
The Regional Office prepares a new decision on your case. Once the RO has either received all of the necessary evidence or 30 days have passed, VA adjudicators will make a new decision on your appeal.
If the RO grants your claim. That’s great!
If the RO continues their denial of your claim, they will send you a Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC) and return your case to the Board. The SSOC should explain why and how the RO’s decision was made. An SSOC, like a Statement of the Case (SOC), may include a summary of all the evidence relevant to your case, a summary of the laws and regulations that were used to make the decision, and the reasons for the VA’s decision.
The Board reviews the evidence and makes a new decision on your appeal. The Board will grant, deny, or remand your case again. There is no limit on the number of times a Board judge may remand your case. If your case is remanded a second time, the process starts anew. If the Board denies your claim, you may choose to appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).
Q: How long will all this take?
Once your claim arrives at the Regional Office, it should remain there for a minimum of 30 days, which is the time allotted for you to submit new evidence. In reality, once a case is remanded by the Board it can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months before the Regional Office issues a new decision.
If the RO denies your claim, it is returned to the Board. Once an appeal has reached the Board, it usually takes several months to review it. The time it takes to complete the Board review process will vary depending upon the current backlog at the Board.
Category: Veterans Law