You have just received notification that your VA disability claim has been denied. This initial denial, while unfortunate, is not the end of the road for your claim. You do have options to have your denial reviewed, including requesting a veterans law judge with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals review your claim.
When you choose to appeal your claim denial to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, you have a choice whether to request a hearing on your claim. The other option is to allow the judge to make their ruling based on the evidence submitted to them for review. Is there an advantage to requesting a hearing? Like most legal questions, the answer is, “It depends on your situation.”
Why Veterans Request Hearings on Their Claims
The VA disability claim process can be rather impersonal, as during the initial claim process you do not meet with or speak to the individual who is processing your claim. Your only communication with this person is the evidence and records submitted to them for review that you help tells the story of your service and disability, and then the letter sent to you by the Veterans Service Representative informing you of their decision.
A hearing before a veterans law judge represents a rare opportunity, then, for veterans to speak directly to someone at the VA who has the authority to approve their claim. You may feel as if you are your best advocate, and that being able to tell your story to another person represents your best chance of impressing upon the judge your unique circumstances.
Things to Consider Before Requesting a Board of Veterans’ Appeals Hearing
The decision to request a hearing is one that you should make after carefully considering the advantages and disadvantages of doing so with your VA disability appeals attorney. Three things you should keep in mind, though, about in-person and virtual hearings before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals include:
There is a Significant Difference in Wait Time
If you request any type of hearing before the veterans law judge, you can expect a longer wait time for your claim to be heard. The Board estimates that it can be up to two years for your claim to be decided if you request a hearing. You may not wish to have a hearing if you want a speedier resolution to your appeal.
You May Not Be the Best Person to Tell Your Story
Some veterans have suffered mental or cognitive injuries that can hamper their ability to present a compelling case for themselves. If you get irritated, frustrated, or angry when questioned, it may be worth considering foregoing a hearing.
The Judge Must Follow the Law
Finally, although veterans law judges are humans and many do sympathize with veterans and their injuries, these judges are tasked with applying settled legal principles to the facts of your case. If the law clearly indicates your claim should be approved or denied, there may be little benefit to requesting a hearing.
Contact Valor Firm If Your VA Disability Claim Has Been Denied
If you have received notice that your VA disability claim has been denied, talk with us at Valor Firm about your next steps. Set up a consultation about your claim by calling us at (504) 218-2510. You can also text us or contact Valor Firm online.