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Appeal Hearings at the Board

Hearings are an optional part of the appeals process. They may add time to your appeal, but if you feel that you need to speak to a Veterans Law Judge (VLJ) about your appeal, the added time may be worthwhile.

What happens in a hearing?

During a hearing, you’ll present your information to a VLJ who has reviewed your appeal file. Hearings aren’t as formal as regular court hearings, but you do provide your testimony under oath, and you can bring a representative with you.

You or your representative can tell the VLJ why you think you qualify for the benefits. You can also submit new evidence at this time. You may answer clarifying questions from the VLJ.

The VLJ doesn’t make a decision at the hearing. A transcript of your hearing is created and added to your appeal file. You’ll be asked in your hearing if you’d like a copy of the transcript for your personal records.

There’s no set amount of time for your hearing. Usually hearings last about 30 minutes, but your hearing will last as long as you need to discuss your appeal with the VLJ.

How do I get a representative?

At your hearing, you can bring a representative with you. This person can help you prepare for the hearing and present your information to the VLJ. This person may be a lawyer, a claims agent, or from a Veterans Service Organization (VSO). Search for an accredited representative.

Once you have a representative, you'll need to let the VA know they have permission to represent you by completing a form.

  • If your representative is a lawyer or claims agent, fill out the Appointment of Individual as Claimant's Representative (Form 21-22A). Download Form 21-22A
  • If your representative is a VSO, fill out the Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as Claimant's Representative (Form 21-22). Download Form 21-22

How do I ask for a hearing?

You can request a hearing at any time in the appeal process.

Veterans who ask to have a hearing usually make the request when completing Form 9. This form asks you to choose one of these options:

  • No hearing. You have the option to send a letter to the Board.
  • A videoconference hearing. This takes place at your local VA office (or another facility selected by VA). On average, you’ll get a videoconference hearing faster than you’ll get an in-person hearing.
  • An in-person hearing at the Board in Washington, DC.
  • An in-person hearing at your local VA office. This will add a significant amount of time to your appeal as the Travel Board has a limited schedule.

You can also contact your VSO for help requesting a hearing.

When will I have my hearing?

It depends on what type of hearing you request. For example, a videoconference hearing will likely be scheduled much sooner than one with the Travel Board.

You’ll receive a notice in the mail at least 30 days before your hearing is scheduled. It’s best not to send new evidence after you get this notice. You can bring any new evidence with you to your hearing.

What if I have to reschedule my hearing?

Rescheduling In-Person Hearings at the Board in Washington, DC

If you asked for an in-person hearing at the Board, you can send a written request to reschedule your hearing at least 2 weeks before the scheduled hearing date.

If your hearing has already been rescheduled before, or you are within 2 weeks of the scheduled hearing date, you must file a motion requesting that the hearing be rescheduled. You can do this by sending a letter explaining that you have "good cause" to reschedule. "Good cause" includes situations in which you, your representative, or a witness are sick, or you have difficulty getting records needed for your appeal. A VLJ will review your motion and decide if the hearing can be rescheduled. You’ll get a copy of the decision about rescheduling your hearing in the mail.

Rescheduling Travel Board or Videoconference Hearings

If you asked for a Travel Board or videoconference hearing with the Board, you must file a motion if you want to request that the hearing be rescheduled. This needs to happen at least 2 weeks before the scheduled hearing date. You can do this by sending a letter that explains you have "good cause" to reschedule. "Good cause" includes situations in which you, your representative, or a witness are sick, or you have difficulty getting records needed for your appeal. A VLJ will review your motion and decide if the hearing can be rescheduled. You’ll get a copy in the mail of the decision about rescheduling your hearing.

Any request to reschedule must be in writing and be mailed to:

Director, Office of Management, Planning and Analysis (014)
Board of Veterans' Appeals
P.O. Box 27063
Washington, DC 20038

If you’re able to reschedule your hearing, you’ll receive a notice at least 30 days before the new hearing date.

What if I have to cancel my hearing?

If you need to cancel your hearing, please send a letter to the Board at least 2 weeks before your hearing, so the VLJ can hear another appeal at that time. The VLJ will make a decision based on the information you’ve provided in your appeal.

Send the letter to:

Director, Office of Management, Planning and Analysis (014)
Board of Veterans' Appeals
P.O. Box 27063
Washington, DC 20038