What is the difference between an appeal to a Decision Review Officer (DRO) and an appeal to the Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA)?

 

If you are appealing a denial of veterans’ disability benefits, the effective date of your disability, or the evaluation of your disability, then your next step is to file an appeal. This begins when you file a Notice of Disagreement letter (NOD). In that letter you will need to tell the Department of Veterans Affairs whether you would like your appeal to be reviewed by a Decision Review Officer (DRO) or the local Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA).

Appeal to a Decision Review Officer

A review with a DRO takes place at the Texas VA office that issued the decision on your claim. It is typically a one-on-one review in a less formal setting. It usually takes less time to schedule a DRO appeal, and the decision can come through much faster. Also, if the DRO decision is unfavorable, you are able to make a follow-up appeal with the BVA.

Appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals

Filing for an appeal with the local BVA means a formal hearing. It will take a significantly longer period of time for you to recieve a date, and it could take several months or even years to resolve your case.

Due to the nature of BVA hearings and the ability to further appeal a DRO decision, many Texas veterans prefer to initiate their appeal with a decision review officer.

However, you should be aware that every case is different. An unfavorable VA disability benefits decision will have a major impact on your future, and you'll want to know more about all of your options so that you can make the decision that is in your best interest.

To get started, we encourage you to contact an experienced veterans’ disability lawyer to discuss all of your rights and the potential steps you could take next. Filing a Notice of Disagreement is just the first step in your recovery of benefits and we are here to help you at each stage of the appeals process.

Carl M. Weisbrod
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Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law