Board of Veterans’ Appeals Hearing Options

If you are appealing your VA disability claim to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, you have a decision to make on the best method to present your appeal to maximize your chances of a favorable outcome.  You need to balance that with the time it will take for the appeal to make its way through the appeals process.

In our last article, we talked about the first decision you must make, which is whether you need a hearing at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals before a Veterans Law Judge.

Veterans' appeals

If you decide that a hearing is needed, you have three options available to you on the VA Form 9.  Those options are:

  • An in person hearing in Washington, D.C.,
  • A video conference hearing at your local Regional Office, or
  • A live hearing in person with a judge at your local VA Regional Office also known as a Travel Board Hearing (these are scheduled several times throughout the year at your Regional Office, so this option may take a bit longer to schedule).

On the VA Form 9, VA tells you the potential delay associated with each option available to you at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

Board of Veterans’ Appeals Hearing in Washington, D.C. or by Videoconference

There are two hearing options that are quicker than a Travel Board hearing.  The first option is an in person hearing in Washington, D.C. before a Veterans Law Judge.

There’s nothing special or magical about having the hearing in Washington. I am not aware of any statistics that show a higher win rate for veterans who utilize this option.

Unless you’re local to the D.C. area, generally it is not advisable that you travel across the country to utilize this hearing option given the expense and effort involved. That is because the VA has other options available to you that will allow you to have an in person hearing.

Videoconference hearings

One of those options that is attractive to many veterans and their attorneys is a videoconference hearing.  You will only have to travel to your nearest VA Regional Office, where you will testify via a video feed to Washington.

You, your attorney, and the Veterans Law Judge should be able to communicate much in the same way you would if you were all sitting in the same room together.  Of course, it is not quite the same.  Some veterans feel as though they have a harder time making a personal connection with the judge through the video.  While that is understandable, usually a judge is going to base his or her decision on the evidence and testimony rather than what he would have gained otherwise from a person to person meeting.

This option still has delay associated with it.  But, you can usually get to a hearing much faster than a Board of Veterans’ Appeals Travel Board hearing.  Of course, some veterans prefer to wait and do it all in person.

Board of Veterans’ Appeals Travel Board Hearing

The third option is the one many veterans would prefer, except that it can create significant delay in getting to a hearing and getting a decision on your appeal.  The Veterans’ Law Judge will travel to your local Regional Office and conduct the hearing in person.

You will be sitting in the same room as the judge.  You may like this option if you feel the judge needs to see your disabilities in person.

Which Board of Veterans’ Appeal Hearing Option Is Right for You?

If you still need evidence to win your appeal, you may not want the fastest hearing option available.  Instead, you may want to buy yourself some time to gather the evidence you need before your Many veterans have questions about which BVA hearing option they should select hearing.  This is especially true if you are seeking hard to get military records or awaiting a report from a doctor who cannot evaluate you and produce a report in the next couple of months.

In those situations, you may choose to go with the Travel Board option.  The good news is that you can always change that selection later once you have the needed evidence to one of the other hearing options to speed up the process.  The Board of Veterans’ Appeals will send you a “90 day letter” once your appeal is in the system.  In that letter they will advise you of your right to change to another hearing option, but you only have 90 days from the date of the letter to make that election.

And remember, it may be that you don’t need a hearing at all.  But, it is always safer to select a hearing option and then cancel it later if you clearly don’t need it.

The Type of Hearing Is Not the Most Important Thing

What you present at the hearing, rather than the format of that hearing, is what matters most.  Don’t stress too much over which Board of Veterans’ Appeals hearing option is right for your case. Focus more on gathering the evidence you need to present a winning case.

That said, the type of evidence you need and how long it will take you to get it should factor into the hearing choice you make.  A veterans disability attorney can help you with these decisions.

If you have questions about your veterans disability appeal, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.  We are more than happy to see if we might be able to help you with your claim to get the benefits you deserve on account of your service to our country.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Thank you Jason and Tina for everything you've done. Much appreciated. Great law firm! Great results!! Thank you!!! (Austin and Valerie)Valerie Mellinger
Travis and the team working on my VA claim are awesome. I’m happy with their integrity and diligence on working on my claim.Chris “Greybeard” Mullennix
I can't express enough how great it was to work with Perkins Studdard. They are extremely knowledgeable, professional and keep you aware of everything happening with your case. Very friendly from the front office to Mr. Perkins. I would HIGHLY recommend Perkins Studdard!James Strickland
I recommend Travis for an Veteran that has been dealing with constant denial with claims. He also , cover cost for my nexus letter when I ran into financial troubles , that helped me win my case.edwin Cook
I highly recommend Travis Studdard to represent anyone looking to help with VA claims. The VA is very difficult to deal with when attempting to get benefits from service connected injuries, at least that's my experience. Travis and his team knows the VA system and the legal procedures to help you get what you deserve. Travis was kind and passionate with me throughout this process and therefore, I highly recommend this law firm to represent DAV's.Terry Hembree
Such an awesome team. They spoke to me like a person and helped me through every decision with knowledge.Kevin Collett
Highly recommend this firm. Did exactly what they said they were going to and fairly timely. The VA is sometimes extremely difficult to navigate but this took all the leg work away from me and got me the result I thought was fair.Andrew Boone
Amazing staff, very informed along with excellent communication. Within just a few weeks of work, Mr Studdard was able to make things happen that normally take years! Highly recommendJacob Sylvester
Perkins Studdard LLC is the place you need to be if you have a Workers Comp case going on! Mr. Jason Perkins and his staff get the results that you need. They work with you and fight for you.Coming from another lawyer my husband and I were really surprised and appreciated the communication and honesty and understanding throughout the entire process. My husband loves the videos because they held so much information and helped him understand what what was going on. Thank you so much for representing us!!!Deborah Tompkins
I highly recommend Jason Perkins and the Team at Perkins and Studdard. Jason did a wonderful job on my case and actually got me better results than what I was hoping for. He was always so patient with me and made sure I was understanding every process in my case. He never seemed to mind me asking questions and always gave me straightforward answers. My phone calls to him or his staff were promptly answered or returned and everyone was always so helpful, personable, and respectful. He kept me updated on all the details of my case and sent helpful videos for me to review that were very informative.Dru Vaughn

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