• A veteran begins the process of seeking benefits by filing a claim with a VA regional office.
  • If the veteran receives an unfavorable “rating decision” from the regional office (e.g., a denial of a claim for disability benefits), he or she begins the appeal process by filing a Notice of Disagreement. See 38 U.S.C. § 7105(a). Once a Notice of Disagreement is filed.
  • The VA then issues the next document required in the appeal process—the Statement of the Case (“SOC”).
  • On average, the VA takes 500 days to prepare the SOC. After receiving the SOC, a veteran may then file a notice of appeal with the BVA, also known as a “Form 9.” See 38 C.F.R. § 19.30(b).
  • Once the veteran files a Form 9, the VA completes a Certification of Appeal. See 38 C.F.R. § 19.35.
  • The certification process appears to take the VA about two and a half hours to complete, on average. Nonetheless, veterans wait an average of 773 days for the VA to issue the Certification of Appeal, plus an additional 321 days for the VA to transfer the certified appeal to the BVA for docketing. see 38 C.F.R. § 19.36.
  • It is unclear to us why this two-and-a-half-hour certification process takes an average of 773 days to complete—and the government has not provided an explanation. And the average 321- day delay that occurs when the VA transfers the certified appeal to the BVA is even more mysterious.
  • Overall, the average time from the filing of a Notice of Disagreement to issuance of a BVA decision is over five years.
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