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hedgey

How Much Time To File Va Form 9

Question

My husband filed a NOD on a decision he received in April. He then promptly left the country on a one year assignment (the county VSO encouraged him to file the NOD, even though he knew he was going abroad).

The SOC came last week with a VA Form 9 for him to file. I talked to the VSO this morning, and he told me HURRY!! HURRY!!! We only have 60 days to get the Form 9 filed!!!!

He also told me that since my husband may not be back in the states until next May, he has to mark that he DOES NOT want a hearing.

Now I can read pretty good, and in the instructions on Form 9 it says my husband has until 60 days from the postmark on the SOC, or 1 year from the date of his original decision - whichever gives the veteran more time. So that tells me that there isn't really a fire, we can take a breath and think about this.

Also, I feel funny about having my husband turn down an opportunity for a hearing. I'm not sure if it's the best thing for him to not have a chance to tell his side of things face to face with someone. I think this is especially important since part of the claim has to do with burn scars which would be clearly visible to anyone who speaks to him. Or maybe that would go against him, since my husband is a cutie-pie...

I know that hubby won't be back until May, but I can't help feeling there's another way to do this, that we should be able to get more time.

I'm also thinking that maybe my husband should get an attorney to represent him, not the NSO that the VSO is affiliated with.

Any thoughts?

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4 answers to this question

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Ooooh. To add another interesting bit to this situation, my husband's SMR's arrived in the mail today. A big, thick package. This will (should) give us much more evidence to support his claim!

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He could certainly provide photos of his scars, as evidence, if he cannot attend a hearing.

Those SMRs might contain info that the VA never considered!

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Berta, thanks for your post. I'm just not sure whether to say he doesn't want a hearing or to just hold off a bit on responding. I'm getting the feeling that we might need an attorney to represent him - I sure don't have what it takes.

I'm trying to get through this TDIU claim, then I'll read through the SOC and his SMR's. I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed!

Thanks again!

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Im thinking to be on the safe side, it would be best to go ahead and file the I9 in the 60 days, even if it is not perfectly complete. I think you are better off filing the rest of your evidence later, and stay within the 60days with the I9, as you never want to give the VA "an excuse to deny". However, if Berta suggests something else, by all means take her advice, not mine.

I would not worry too much about a hearing, for several reasons. In real court, attorneys dont often have their client testify on their behalf. They may make an exception if the accused is exceptionally beleivable, and the attorney thinks he wont be "tripped up" by the prosecutor.

Even tho VA hearings are supposed to be "non adversarial", Remember the Va has 400 lawyers waiting on their case, and this VA lawyer is going to go through the testimony with a fine tooth comb and try to "rip it apart". So, your husbands testimony could help him, but it may not do him any good or even hurt him, especially if he is nervous around judges and stuff.

Personally, I never want a hearing. Reason: I am hard of hearing, and often misunderstand or mishear the questions and answer inappropriately. I would rather get a leg amputation than a court hearing, knowing that if I dont hear something and answer with what I thought I heard, it could be a disaster.

I have heard hearings are good if you want to be there and make sure all the evidence is intact..that makes sense to me, as I think half or more of the time the Va shreds half the evidence supporting the claim, then denies it.

I am not sure, but I think your hubby could sign you as POA, and you could represent him, if you were so inclined to do so. JMHO.

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