Direct Review Docket at the Board of Appeals (BVA): Notice of Disagreement
Emma Peterson: Welcome to another edition of CCK Live Under Five. I’m Emma Peterson, and today I’m going to be explaining the Direct Docket at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, or BVA.
So, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, or BVA, is the appellate body of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), meaning it has the ability to overrule a decision made by a VA Regional Office. In February 2019, VA officially implemented the Appeals Modernization Act, the AMA. And in this new appeal system, veterans have three lanes for appealing a decision from the Regional Office.
The first option is to file a Supplemental Claim, which is an option to submit new and relevant evidence and have a new decision come to you from the Regional Office. You can also file for a Higher-Level Review, where a claim would be reviewed by a senior VA claims adjudicator, but no new evidence could be submitted, and that also happens at the Regional Office.
The final choice is to file a Notice of Disagreement, and that would appeal your decision directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Within that NOD, that Notice of Disagreement, there are three choices. You can appeal Direct Docket, which we’re going to talk about today. You can also pick the Evidence Docket, or you can pick the Hearing Docket.
So, let’s get further into the Direct Docket. The Direct Docket review of BVA applies to veterans who do not want to submit any additional evidence to the Board and do not want a hearing before a Veterans Law Judge or VLJ. So, let me repeat that again, there will be no new evidence submitted, everything that was before the Regional Office at the time, they made their initial decision that’s all the Board will be able to review.
In this docket, the decision will be based on the evidence of record at the time of the Agency of the Original Jurisdiction’s decision. And in other words, the Board is only going to look at the evidence in the claimant’s file when the decision was appealed or was issued.
Now, this is typically the fastest of the three dockets at the BVA, since it is not involved in the submission of new evidence or a hearing. And you can always check out how fast VA is moving on average at the BVA. Their website BVA Metrics, which a quick Google search will take you right there, publishes how they’re doing and you can see the time difference between the different dockets.
Right now, the average time for the Direct Docket, the fastest docket is just under a year, but user experience might vary. If your case has been expedited due to your age or circumstances, it might be a little faster. But for other folks, it might be longer than that, just shy of one year of experience. So, do keep that in mind when picking your lane at the Board.
For more information about Direct Docket review or the other two options that I mentioned before the BVA, or any choice under the AMA, please be sure to visit our blog at cck-law.com/blog.
Check out our longer-form YouTube videos, we have a lot of information there too. And as always, don’t forget to follow us on social media, and subscribe to our channel for the latest VA updates and veterans news. And thanks for joining me.
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