What Should I Do If the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) Remands My Claim(s)?
Receiving a remand from the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) can seem like a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the Board has not denied your claim(s), allowing you to continue to prosecute your case. Yet, on the other, the battle to get your entitled benefits continues without any apparent end in sight.
One thing is for sure: DO NOT APPEAL THE BOARD REMAND ORDER TO THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS (CAVC)! This will only delay your case for as much as a year or more without any benefit. The CAVC only has jurisdiction over final Board decisions; the Board remand orders are not considered final decisions. Only Board decisions denying one or more claims are considered final.
Instead, you and your representative should carefully review the instructions of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) remand order. The law is clear that the VA (i.e., the BVA or the regional office) must comply with the terms of Board remand instructions. These instructions run the gamut but frequently require the regional office: 1) to schedule a VA examination, 2) to obtain VA or private medical treatment records, 3) to secure the claimant’s military personnel file, 4) to obtain the claimant’s employment records and/or 5) to provide some kind of notice to the claimant. Make sure the VA completes every remand instruction.
After the VA performs all remand instructions, then you must decide whether additional favorable evidence is needed to support your claim. Be sure to review all VA examination reports because VA adjudicators tend to weigh those the most. If there is a recent negative VA examination report, then you will likely need to obtain a private examination report to rebut it.
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