When a veterans disability claim goes to the Board of Veterans Appeals (i.e. Board, BVA), the Board can approve, deny, or remand the claim. When the Board remands a claim, it is often but not always sent back to the same VA Regional Office (RO) that initially evaluated the claim for further review.
In its standard legal definition, a remand occurs when a higher court decides to send a case back to a lower court for review or further adjudicative action. In the VA disability adjudication system, the Board can remand – or send back – a case to the regional office for several reasons, including:
- The veteran’s condition has worsened while on appeal
- The law has changed
- New evidence is introduced on the record
- The Board identifies an error with the RO’s initial review of the claim
- The RO did not gather enough evidence or did not gather the right evidence during its initial review
While an approval at the Board is preferable because it means a shortened claims process, a remand is not an unfavorable outcome. The Board must explain the reasoning for its remand, which could be calling on the RO to grant a more favorable decision or give the veteran more time to gather evidence for his or her claim.
What Happens After the Board Issues a Remand?
After the Board remands a case, several things occur:
- The case is sent back to the Regional Office level where his or her claim was first decided. The Board will provide the RO with a list of actions that need to be completed before another decision can be rendered.
- A veteran has the opportunity to submit any new and relevant evidence (under the AMA system) or new and material evidence (under the legacy appeals system) in support of his or her claims.
After closure of the evidence gathering period, the RO will either approve or deny the claim. Depending on what appeals system the claim is under, the VA will take one of two actions:
- Under the legacy appeals system: If the VA denies the claim, the VA will send the veteran and his or her representative a Supplementary Statement of Case (SSOC) detailing why the claim was denied, and the claim will be sent back to the Board within 30 days for the whole process to start over again.
- Under the AMA appeals system: If the VA denies the claim, the VA will send the veteran and his or her representative a rating decision notifying the claimant of any new decision and providing all the options for subsequent decision review, including Higher Level Review, a Supplemental Claim appeal, or an appeal to the Board.
There is no limit on the number of times the Board can remand a claim. If the Board denies the claim, the veteran can then appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).
Get Help With Your Remanded Claim
If you are looking for legal assistance to navigate the complexities of the VA disability legal system, look no further than the The Veterans Law Office. Our experienced veterans law attorneys are ready to help you no matter where you are in the claims process. If you would like to contact us, please complete our free claim evaluation form or call the number above.