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Does the VA Law Judge normally asked alot of question?


Good afternoon fellow vets, Today was my BVA video conference hearing after 13 years of waiting,  my file was certified with the BVA on 7/7/2015... and my claim was filed Nov 2005 for those wondering about the time line. I have a very challenging case involving multiple discharges with 2 honorable discharges and 1 Big Chicken Dinner for striking an officer. In the beginning the VA merged everything together and tried denying everything placing all my illnesses in the bad period. So I had to fight to have the periods broken up which was suppose to be by government law. ( every time you reenlist, you get a discharge summary)  … about 9 years ago the VA finally recognized all of my discharges... fast forward... in the mist of the VA conveniently overlooking words in my medical records that are positive weight for me and just not evaluating the entire records, I finally had my day to at least move past the regional office and talk to a judge.  First I will say that a video conference is actually pretty good  ( for all those who are not sure about it) , I could see the judge very clearly ( the white of his eyes ) and he could see me and my attorney. He was very nice, nodded his head constantly... according to my attorney, he has only been a Law Judge for around 3 years and doesn't ask a lot of question. Law Judges know how to put their poker face on !!! I didn't know what he was thinking...The conference was definitely not adversarial, very informal but I was on the record after being sworn in, after we got to the big ticket items, PTSD/ Depression , IVDS for my back with 3 years of bed rest, and bilateral knee issues ,( majority the things that were over look or not documented right from the RO ). He started asking a lot of question.. the conference took around 40 minutes and during my post meeting with my attorney, I asked was that a bad thing.. my attorney stated actually no, he believe the law judge was trying to get a clear understanding and it always not a bad thing. I am so nervous after 13 years on fighting for my benefits and starting to let me anxiety get the best of me. What do you guys think? Is it bad thing for a Law judge to ask more questions than usual ? My attorney asked that if the Judge needed  additional information , to wait 30 days before a decision.. is that a bad? ( because other than that it may be remanded back to the RO ). and lastly   why is it that the Law Judges see about 10-20 vets for that one video conference? Of course that's not my field of expertise, however, wouldn't it be confusing remembering whos who. ( I just don't want to be another number, as cliché as that sounds). At the end the judge ask me if I had something to say and I said some things but ended with I would just like to have a fair accurate hearing, he stated that he was not bound by the RO decision and thank you for my service.. is that stand jargon ? Any answers or comments are very much welcome and appreciated....thank you in advance . Be bless  and continued luck to all you VETS !!!

Edited by Orthopa02

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Okay you asked a number of questions.  Let me take a stab at it.  First, let me address a procedural issue.  Even though your hearing is in front of one Administrative Law Judge, he is part of a team that will make the decision.  Included in that team is the Attorney for the Board.  That is why the proceedings are transcribed, and you (or your attorney) will get a copy of the transcript.  (If it goes to your attorney, make sure he gives you a copy for your files.).

As far as the number of questions, I do not think it matters.  I would rather have the Judge ask a question to be able to make a positive decision than leave him ignorant whereby he then rules against your claim.

Yes the Judge no doubt forgets much of what he hears.  That is why the proceedings are transcribed.  In this matter I think the VA system exceeds that of non VA courts.  Go to any courtroom on motion day and the judge will hear hours upon hours of motions and litigants.  All he will have is his/her notes because he/she will not have a transcript.  Those proceedings are recorded, but not transcribed unless and until a party pays for that.  Quite expensive a process, I assure you.

The part about your attorney asking for 30 days is unclear to me.  I think he is asking the Judge give him notice with thirty days to respond if the Judge finds he needs some form of additional information.  That sounds prudent.  Again better to have to provide some additional information that to be denied.

It sounds to me like your hearing was more or less the status quo.  I would not worry because that accomplishes nothing.  The worst case scenario is that you are denied, and you have at least one more appeal to go. 



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