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Bva Certified Now, But When Is Best To Submit Additional Evidence?


7thSFG

Question

I hope I'm posting in the right forum ... I'm looking for advice if possible.

My BVA Appeal was certified last month (pro se with Wash DC hearing request)

I think I understand I have a 90 day window to submit new evidence to the BVA (or bring it with me to the hearing alternatively). I'm just hesitant to send anything until the BVA receives my files (they haven't yet, but I still have another 60+ days). It's taking me 6+ years to get this far with my denied claim for a rating increase and the last thing I want to do is waste any more time with the RO or do anything to slow down the transfer of my records to the BVA. I have a favorable IME report and other new evidence with supporting argument I want to submit to the BVA, but if my 90 day window runs out before the BVA receives my files, should I just relax and take my evidence with me to the hearing, or is there any significant advantage to submitting such new evidence upfront during the 90 day window to do so?

Any other BVA pro se tips would be appreciated as well. Thank you for the opportunity to pick your brains.

p.s.

More than 2 months before I recived my SOC, a VSO offered to help me with my appeal so I filed the 21-22, but it took he RO 4 months just to process that simple 1 page POA. In the mean time, the RO had no problem processing and sending me a 40+ page SOC with 60 days to reply with a VA9 Appeal, while the VSO couldn't access my records to help me since the RO was delaying their recognition as my Representaive. I ended up filing the VA9 myself with no help at all. Several weeks after the VA9 60 day window had expired, the RO finally processed the 21-22 and recognized my VSO (sort of like hitting the brakes after an accident or in other words, a little too late to be of any help wih the formaility of preparing my VA9 which I must now rely upon as I go forward. Needless to say, I'm more than a little fed up with the idea of having VSO representation, so I formally revoked all representation and have decided to just continue pro se as I've done the past 6 years anyway. After reading many of the posts on this site, I'm kind of getting the feeling I might not have been helping myself much with a VSO anyway and no doubt, nobody knows and understands my appeal better than I do. About 40 years ago, when I had a VSO, they were very hands on and involved, but it sure doesn't seem that way today. I've also developed the impression, that if I ever were to ask for VSO help in the future, it just seems the volunteer VSO's are much more helpful than the paid VSO reps (go figure, huh). Anyway, knowing the pro se odds are tilted a little more against the Veteran at least statistically at the BVA, at least I'll know when it's all over, I left no stone unturned giving it my best shot, win or lose. Of course, I don't plan on losing, but I also know no veteran plans on losing, but unfortunately, it seems too many veterans just give up and I refuse to quit,when all I'm asking for, is what I'm entitled to. It truly seems "time" is the most potent and effective means the VA uses to close claims and appeals, as far too many veterans just give up and go away, but I'm still hanging in there and I won't let myself be counted among those who quit.

blah, blah, blah ... sorry for venting, but back to my question above, any tips will be appreciated!!!

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SFG: I have never used the BVA Appeal route, got everything granted recently at a DRO Official (opted for Informal within 5 min of start of hearing) 06/27/14. Did some research on BVA Appeals yesterday for a fellow Nam vet. The following is my "Readers Digest Synopsis" of what I came accross. BVA DC Board reviews take way longer than if you opt for a Vidieo Hearing where the VBA Attorney reviewing your case doesn't have to come to your VARO. Supposedly the BVA Review of your case takes into account all old and new evidence that has been submitted to your claim file. I read 1 article that said your C-File remains at your VARO until approximately 4 months before your Hearing is schedualed to be heard. When your notified of the BVA certifing and assigning a Docket number to your appeal, you supposidly get notification that any new evidence must be recieved within 90 days of the Letters date. The hearings are heard in order, according to docket number. That is, unless you have a verifiable hardship, then your hearing could get moved up. Very rare, from what I read.

If possible, give consideration to the VBA Vidieo Hearing, I would think it's fater than either DC hearing or VBA Traveling Board. When you get a chance, check out VBA Appeals Decisions 2014. I looked at it this am, 4 & 5 yrs not uncommon. the appeals filing date and Docket number is listed, give you an idea where you stand. Also take a look at 02/2014 VA information sheet on the VBA Appeals Process. Just keep in mind numbers and percentages can be massaged. Trust but verify!

Semper Fi

Gastone

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  • HadIt.com Elder

That is good advise from Gastone.

I never requested a BVA hearing when my DMII death claim was there but I did make sure I sent my IMos and other probative evidence to the BVA after I got a Docket Number. My RO employs a MF who I 'know' personally (MF =the Mysterious force who has always removed my good stuff from the C file until the RO denied the claim and then the MF put it back in.)

"Anyway, knowing the pro se odds are tilted a little more against the Veteran at least statistically at the BVA, at least I'll know when it's all over, I left no stone unturned giving it my best shot, win or lose."

I disagree...because it is Evidence that makes a claim succeed, not a lawyer, vet rep, or anyone else.

BUT as a pro se lawyer myself, (in numerous non VA matters as well as VA matters, and I never lost a case)

it is the Presentation of the evidence that can be very important. And why the BVA stats might not seem favorable to claimants without representation.

It does not pay to involve too much extemporaneous rhetoric in the wording of the I-9 and in any evidence submissions.

Just tell them why they are wrong and cite and enclose any IMOs or other probative evidence that proves they are wrong.

I never felt I needed a hearing for my last BVA case because I depended solely on two things:

1.My medical evidence was solid and indisputable ( 3 IMOS) plus I had much more probative lay evidence..

and

2.The BVA can read. (my RO can't )

Edited by Berta
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Thank you Berta, Gastone & Kelly!

Berta ... You remind me of my insticntive first thoughts, because I really never have felt I needed a hearing (if the evidence is fairly considered.) Unfortunately though, I have become so disenchanted with the RO level of adjudication (no longer having any confidence in what has felt like an unrelenting adversarial environment), I'm choosing the Wash D.C. hearing for two reasons. 1st, to establish a clear physical separation from the RO (change of hands and records custody) for a fresh and hopefully fair chance with the BVA.

Secondly and particularly since I am pro se and perhaps could therefore become more vulnerable to having my written arguments and supporting evindence misconstrued, or not precisely tied in, I wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to clarify any confusion if any, or worse yet, failing to have expressed myself as clearly as what I might have in writing (for me, this is a one time event, or hopefully so).

Actually, I really do agree with your reasoning in a perfect world or for those with more experience, but with me worrying about not being perfect or particularly skiiled at VA claims and Appeals and also knowing the VA certainly isn't perfect by any stretch of imagination, I guess I view my physical presence at a BVA hearing as my safety for any foul balls I see coming my way.

I feel very confident with the evidence I have assembled but that doesn't alleviate the unkown ahead and I'm probably worrying too much about the administrative hearing procedures since I have no idea what to actually expect when it's finally my turn in front of the BVA pro se in today's enviroment . One thing I can say for sure, I haven't found more helpful information anywhere, than what is offered through these forums, so a special thanks to all of the members here!

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