If you disagree with a decision about your VA benefits, you have several ways to get it reviewed. One of your options is to submit an appeal to a Veterans’ Appeals Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. By appealing, you are asking the judge to review the benefits claim decision and to hopefully re-decide in your favor.
There are three ways to make your case to the Veterans’ Appeals Judge. You can simply ask the judge to review your file without submitting new evidence or holding a hearing. You can ask the judge to consider new evidence and then make a decision without a hearing. Or, you can request a hearing with the judge, during which you can present new evidence.
Read on for more information on how you can prepare for a hearing if you and your VA benefits lawyer choose the final option.
The importance of participation
At a hearing, the Veterans’ Appeals Judge deciding your case will usually want to hear from you about your physical or mental health conditions, especially how they impact your life and ability to work. It’s important for the judge to understand the challenges you face. Your own words can be powerful evidence in your favor.
A skilled VA benefits lawyer can help prepare you to answer the judge’s questions, but only if you are prepared to fully commit. For example, a lawyer may need you to gather information that will be used as evidence. A lawyer may also want to go over potential questions and answers with you in person or on video so that you can prepare to interact comfortably with the judge.
Try your best to participate fully in any preparation your lawyer believes is necessary. By doing so, you put yourself in the best possible position to convince the Veterans’ Appeals Judge that you deserve the benefits you claimed.
Your doctor’s role in hearing preparation
Your doctor may also play an important role in preparing for your hearing. Your VA benefits lawyer may need the doctor to explain aspects of your medical conditions and your treatment plan. In some cases, the lawyer may also ask your doctor to participate in the hearing as a witness on your behalf.
Because your doctor can play a key role in helping you receive the benefits you deserve, it’s important to always try to follow the care plan they set out for you. You should also keep your doctor up-to-date on any changes in your condition or symptoms. A doctor can only explain your condition to a Veterans’ Appeals Judge if they know about your current health status.