The Notice of Disagreement letter, or NOD, states your intention to contest the decision or ratings score reached on your application for service-connected disability benefits with the VA. As part of the NOD, you are expected to request who will handle the appeal—either the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) or a Decision Review Officer (DRO).
Recently, many veterans have chosen to work with a DRO at the start of the appeal process. That’s because the turn-around for DRO is significantly quicker and, should the DRO return an unfavorable decision, the veteran is able to appeal the decision a second time with the BVA.
Two Options for DRO Appeal
What you might not know about a DRO appeal is that the officer is able to handle the appeal in one of two ways, as requested by the veteran appealing his or her case.
- A personal DRO hearing – In this scenerio, the veteran meets face to face with the DRO at the regional VA office for an informal hearing. The veteran is allowed to attend the hearing with representation. A DRO will only hold a personal hearing on a case at the veteran’s request.
- A full DRO review of the case – Here, the DRO reviews the veteran’s file and any newly submitted evidence supporting existing claims. In this “second look” review, the DRO makes a decision without meeting with the veteran.
Because there are so many variables that play affect a Texas veteran’s disability benefits appeal, it’s crucial that you seek guidance from someone familiar and knowledgeable with the system and laws.
If you’ve received a denial decision or unfavorable ratings score, don’t wait. Talk to a experienced Texas VA benefits lawyer at Morgan & Weisbrod today. Call 800-800-6353, or fill out the online contact form below.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.