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you should hear from them in a week or two scheduling you the DRO Review, mine was within 60 days but every RO is different depends on the backlog I would guess?

hang in there bud!


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What type of DRO Review did you request, Review or DRO Personal Hearing? With the straight review, you won't know anything until you get the Award or the Denial with a Supplemental Statement of Case. The DRO hearing takes longer but the Face to Face worked for me. I left the Hearing after about 35 min knowing all issues were awarded. Time frame wise, my 09/10 NOD requesting the DRO Hearing took about 41/2 yrs, awarded this past 06/14.

With either type of DRO Review it is crucial and absolutly mandatory that you have "New & Material Evidence" and provide it to your VARO immediately, if not sooner. Without the N&M Evidence, your claim is doomed. A fellow Nam Vet that I meet with thought he requested the DRO Hearing in the 11th month of his Denial. Immagine his surprise when he got anther Denial with a Supplemental-SOC about 10 months later. Turns out his DAV Rep didn't request the DRO Hearing and my friend had been setting on what he thought would be New Evidence, thinking he would present it at his DRO Hearing that never took place. He's now on the BVA Train Ride with no station in sight. It's ok to trust your VSO-Rep but you must verify everything that is done on your behalf, it's your claim not theirs. Who knows how his DRO Hearing request got screwed up and at this point really doesn't matter.

Semper Fi


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DRO vs BVA is controversial. I will offer my take, since I have been awarded benefits both at the DRO level and at the BVA also.

1. If you elect DRO review or hearing and lose, you can still appeal at the BVA. However, if you do it this way, it could take longer. (It could also be shorter, if you are awarded benefits at the DRO level.

2. If you decline DRO review, then understand a trip to the BVA currently takes about 3 years or so.

3. A DRO review means you get "another bite at the apple", that is, one more person "can" award you benefits.

4. The "downside" to the DRO review is mostly time. It takes longer to go to DRO- Review, then BVA, than to just go "straight" to the BVA.

My suggestion is that if you have "new" evidence, then go for the DRO. If you dont have any new evidence to submit then go right to the BVA.

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My last NOD was 2012 and I don't think the VA had the official NOD form yet. I used the old SISofClaim Form on 10 & 12 NOD notifications. Contrary to popular advice regarding what and when to do certain things regarding NODs, I listed all agreed with and disputed issues and included a Request for a Formal DRO Personal Hearing on all NOD documents submitted to VA. I couldn't tell you if that helped or hindered my eventual Hearing Date, but ther was no doubt on any of my appeals paperwork regarding my choice of the DRO Hearing. I was a FNG to VA Appeals bak in 10 and had no idea what the DRO or BVA Hearings really were or how long they would take. Just knew I wanted to keep it local and get a face to face. It took 41/2 yrs but even if it took 51/2 yrs and you get awarded, loss of the interest on the Retro hurts, so what.

Just think, prior to about 2001, Vets had only the VARO and BVA Hearings. Just like today, if you don't opt for either the DRO Review or Hearing, your Claim sat at your VARO waiting (Years 4-5+) waiting to be Certified and transferred to the BVA for your Appeal Hearing and/or very possible REMAND. In an effort to shorten the appeals time and backlog (Good intentions, limited success) the VA instituted the 2001 DRO Review Program, but made it absolutely essential for the Vet to Submit New & Material Evidence supporting the claim that was not available to the Rating Department for the original Decision. Pre 2001, your appeal just sat at your VARO unless you sent in N&M Evidence that triggered the VARO Automatic Review of your Appeal by a Senior Rater or actual DRO. The Automatic Review is still in place and can result in an Award or a Denial continuance prior to your actual DRO Hearing or your claim being Certified to the BVA. With the Automatic Review, the SR Rater or DRO gives deference to the original raters decision where as in the Official DRO Review or Hearing the DRO gives no deference to the original decision. Sooooooooo, no matter which DRO you choose, don't set on any Evidence. Get it in ASAP, you might luck out, cut a couple years off your appeal.

Semper Fi


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