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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Cruinthe

Traveling Bva?

Question

I have a veteran here that had a BVA hearing yesterday. He was ONLY allowed to address one issue at the hearing. I was under the impression it was an open forum. Can anyone point me to the rules regarding BVA in 38 CFR? Thanks!

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I had a BVA hearing 6 months ago. Me and my lawyer had to limit the number of issues the judge wanted to hear. Considering your ability to hire lawyers for these BVA hearings why would a vet go in there on his own to get smoke blown in his face? Vets should not go to hearings in front of BVA judges by themselves or with some half-ass idiot form the local VFW. This is your shot to submit a brief and make an argument. Hire someone who has the wits to actually understand the issues and the expertise to write a brief. If you have appealed more than one issue to the BVA then you can address them at the hearing. My guess is the BVA judge was in a hurry to get some lunch and just BS'ed the vet. They are able to do this because the know the vet does not know the procedural rules, and because they have no respect for a lone vet who is unrepresented by an expert who will call the judge out on this kind of crap.

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Here's the link: http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=37366838806d70b03710badbb30414ec&rgn=div5&view=text&node=38:2.0.1.1.4&idno=38

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I have a veteran here that had a BVA hearing yesterday. He was ONLY allowed to address one issue at the hearing. I was under the impression it was an open forum. Can anyone point me to the rules regarding BVA in 38 CFR? Thanks!

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Well, I am not sure if that answers my question as to the limits of discussion at the BVA, but here is the background.

A veteran calls me 3 weeks ago. He says he has a BVA hearing yesterday, and he needs some help. My first question was, of course, who is currently representing him. He said he was being represented by one of the main service orgs, but the guy that filed the original Form 9 is now dead, and the guy that took over his claim got fired, and the guy that took over the claim after that got fired too. Needless to say, he terminated that service org and picked me up as his rep.

I prepared the argument, basically requesting that his service-connected total knee replacement to increased from 30% to 60%, then service-connection of the other knee secondary to the original injury, and finally Individual Unemployability.

Keep in mind, I had about 15 pages of medical paperwork to work with and nothing else. The VARO had turned over his master file to the BVA, so no chance of getting copies, and the medical center takes a month or more to give copies.

I went in anyhow,m hoping for the best, but his appointed "advocate" was a state veterans rep that was working out of the VARO building, so we know where her loyalties were with.

I asked to attend the hearing, but the "advocate" refused. I cited the new "one time rule" concerning certified representatives, that too was refused. I asked the veteran what he wanted to do, and he was leaning more towards going with the advocate, and I decided not to get into a pissing contest, if for no other reason than I was putting the veterans best interests first.

He reported back that the judge boiled it ALL down to one thing, and one thing ONLY. If you dont have an independent medical opinion, your screwed. He did give 60 days of open consideration, then he will rule against the veteran.

The veteran was upset because he was not allowed to discuss an increase in the service-connected knee, and he felt he was being brushed off.

I would have to agree with that sentiment. I did the best I could given the severely limited time and evidence, and I will carry things forward with the VARO, but its not a good turnout.

Is there anything I could have done that I did not do? I am open to suggestions.

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There was nothing you could do since you were not the POA. I think this vet should break down and get a lawyer. He has made lots of bad decisions on his own. Now he has been left spinning in space by the judge and his so-called VSO.

If it was me I would get the IMO and send it in and prepare for a long wait.

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In an ideal world, I would help him sort out an IMO, and hire a decent lawyer. Only problem is, most veterans, myself included, are flat broke. The VA system is designed to make us all a "captive audience". I aint beat yet, I will continue his claim in another fashion. The guy has two fake knees now and moves around, barely, with the help of a cane. Thats 100% in my book, and thats the goal. Thanks for the input all. I primarily wanted to CONFIRM that the BVA structure is a (somewhat) open forum, where issues can be raised and discussed. I think I have confirmed that as true, and the judge and "advocate" are both scumbags, No sweat, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

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