Four New Judges Will Speed Veterans' Appeals
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the addition of four new Veterans Law Judges to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA), which will enable the board to increase the number of cases being decided.
"Veterans have earned the right to prompt, exhaustive and professional review of their claims for benefits," Secretary Shinseki said. "This expansion of BVA will enable Veterans to receive more expeditious decisions on their appeals."
BVA is an appeals body to which Veterans, their dependents or their survivors can go when they are not satisfied with decisions about claims for benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). BVA reviews decisions on benefit claims made by local VA offices and issues decisions on appeals. The board currently has 60 Veterans Law Judges.
These law judges are attorneys experienced in Veterans law and in reviewing benefit claims. They are the only ones who can issue BVA decisions. Staff attorneys, also trained in Veterans law, review the facts of each appeal and assist the board members.
In fiscal year 2008, the board decided 43,757 appeals and handled 48,804 cases in fiscal year 2009. Most of the cases involve claims for disability compensation and pensions.
"We must foster a responsive approach when we consider Veterans," Shinseki said. "Reducing the backlog of benefits decisions and waiting times are essential to providing our Veterans and their families with the service they deserve."
VA provides a pamphlet entitled, How Do I Appeal, to anyone who is not satisfied with the results of a benefits claim that was decided by a VA regional office, medical center or another local VA office. The pamphlet explains the steps involved in filing an appeal. For more information about BVA or to download a copy of the pamphlet, visit www.va.gov/vbs/bva.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs