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Old Sailor

Advice on preparing for the DRO Hearing?


My file was stuck in appeals for over two years in San Diego, and they transferred it to Pittsburgh, since I am overseas. Any advice on preparing for the DRO Hearing, whenever I get one.

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Posting a redacted copy of your Denial, along with the redacted copies of the VA mandatory New & Material Evidence that you submitted Post Denial Decision, would be very helpful to us.

With that said, DRO Hearings are either Formal (Recorded & Transcribed) can take 12+ mos for a Decision Letter or "Informal" no recording and transcription and you could know the DRO's Decision when you walk out.

It really comes down to how strong you think your Appeal Position is and if you think your up to going 1 on 1 with the DRO.  With the Traditional Formal Hearing, after being Sworn in and the DRO discussing what Denied Issues are being addressed, you or your rep present your case and discuss you required N & M Evidence.

The DRO may or may not ask some, few or no questions during your presentation. Don't expect a Decision, the DRO will advise you of a 60 day period to submit any additional N & M Evidence for further review (You can sign off, waiving the 60 day wait) after which your Appeal goes into the To Be Decided Pile.

I used the "Informal" 6/14, walked out after 35 min with all major $$ Issues Awarded from (2) NODs (10&12) including IU from the 12 NOD. That afternoon, I had an E-Mail copy from my VSO DRO Hearing Rep, of the actual DRO Award. To say the least, I'm a huge proponent of the "Informal" DRO Hearing.

Read up on VA Regs regarding the "Informal DRO & Vet Evidence Review Discussion." If requested by the DRO or the Vet, it's supposed to take place, well before the actual DRO Hearing. I filed for it 5 mos before my Hearing, never got it.

When I asked the DRO about it, he acknowledged the request was in my file. Said we could do it right now, start off Informal and switch back to Formal (Recorded & Transcribed) at any time I chose. I agreed, best Decision I ever made.

Semper Fi

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