BVA appeals are complicated because most veterans are not familiar with subject matter jurisdiction.
As a result, I want to keep this simple: what types of claims can the Board of Veterans’ Appeals review?
BVA Appeals Jurisdiction
When the Board has the right to hear a case, it is called power or jurisdiction. Here are a few examples:
- Entitlement to Service Connected Disabilities,
- Health Care,
- Dependency Compensation for a service connected death,
- Indemnity Compensation for a service connected death,
- Non-service connected pension benefits,
- Vocational rehabilitation,
- Educational benefits under the GI Bill,
- Inpatient or outpatient hospital eligibility, and
- Attorney fees for representation.
Luckily, there is a list that we can turn to as well, which you can find at 38 CFR 20.101.
BVA Appeals can Include Anything, Right?
No, the VA Board of Appeals is not allowed to hear all cases. Here are a few examples of the types of cases they cannot review:
- Medical treatment issues,
- Issues that only the Secretary can control or review.
Again, I want to do anything I can to make this simple. Generally, the BVA reviews broad and categorical issues versus exclusive issues about a Veteran’s individualized medical care.
BVA Appeals Arguments
When Veterans appeal decisions issued by the BVA, a common argument is whether the Board had jurisdiction.
In other words, showing a decision should be reversed because the BVA did not have a legal right to make a decision on a particular issue.
All claimants have the right to appeal a determination made by the agency of original jurisdiction that the Board does not have jurisdictional authority to review a particular case. Jurisdictional questions which a claimant may appeal, include, but are not limited to, questions relating to the timely filing and adequacy of the Notice of Disagreement and the Substantive Appeal.
If you are a veteran and you are scratching your head, do not be alarmed. Department jurisdiction is a complicated and argued about in every type of case.