How to Navigate the VA Appeals Court System

The CAVC is a federal court that hears appeals from veterans who have received a final denial from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

The judges at the CAVC are only interested in pointing out where the BVA made mistakes when they ruled on your claim. In most cases, the outcome of your case will be what is known as a remand back to the BVA.

Know Your Rights

A veteran has 120 days from the date of a Board of Veterans Appeals decision to file an appeal with the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). There is a filing fee that is usually $50. However, it may be waived in certain circumstances.

Once your case makes it to the CAVC, the Court will have sole jurisdiction over the claim. They will review your case based on the record before the agency, which contains all of the documents, exams, and other information the VA has for your claim.

The Court of Appeals judges are chosen by the President and approved by the Senate. The Court typically has a single Judge decide your case, although in some cases, all active judges will rule on a decision (known as en banc). You can learn more about the VA appeals court on this page.

There are 2 points at which you can opt into 1 of the new decision review options for your VA appeals. Having an experienced attorney certified to handle VA claims can help determine whether this option suits your situation. 

Understand the Court’s Process

It will be assigned a docket number upon filing your appeal with the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). You can search the docket online to find out where your case stands.

During this phase, the VA will no longer be responsible for developing your evidence or supporting your claims. This is why it is so essential to work with an experienced attorney.

Your lawyer will ensure that your appeal conforms to the VA’s submission standards and is filed promptly. They will also seek additional evidence to support your claim, including medical and non-medical records.

The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has national jurisdiction to review BVA decisions exclusively. It does not hold trials, receive new evidence, or hear witnesses. The Court may affirm or reverse the BVA decision. The Court’s judges are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Have a Lawyer by Your Side

The process at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is more formal than that at the VA regional offices and even more so at the Board of Veterans Appeals. You must have a representative who can prepare and present your case. This can be a lawyer, a claims agent, or someone from a veteran service organization.

The first step in the appeals process is a briefing conference with a judge. This conference aims to resolve the issues noted in your appeal. A member of the Central Legal Staff will moderate the conference. The judge will review the shorts and then decide on a decision.

The Court will affirm or reverse the Board of Veterans Appeals’ decision. The Court can send your appeal back to the Board of Veterans Appeals for further investigation to support your claim. A remand takes longer to complete and sometimes takes up to a year.

Ask Questions

As part of the judicial branch of government, courts interpret laws when there is a dispute. There are different types of courts, including district, circuit, and supreme Court.

The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (USCAVC) is a federal court that reviews appeals from decisions by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, an agency within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The USCAVC does not hear new testimony or conduct trials as an appellate court. Still, it will review the final decision by the Board, the administrative record that was before the agency, and the briefs of the parties on appeal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *