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BVA APPEALS REGULATIONS AND RULES OF PRACTICE, 38 C.F.R. PART 19, WITH AMENDMENTS THROUGH AUGUST 20, 1996
This is a "red-lined" version of the Appeals Regulations and Rules of Practice incorporating the changes published in the Federal Register on May 7, June 7, and August 20, 1996. 61 Fed. Reg. 20,447-53, 29,027-28, and 43,008-09. (Prepared by the staff of the Board of Veterans' Appeals.)
PART 19 BOARD OF VETERANS' APPEALS: APPEALS
SUBPART A-Operation of the Board of Veterans' Appeals $19.1 Establishment of the Board
The Board of Veterans' Appeals is established by authority of, and functions pursuant to, title 38, United States Code, chapter 71. $19.2 Composition of the Board.
The Board consists of a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Deputy Vice Chairmen, Members and professional, administrative, clerical and stenographic personnel. Deputy Vice Chairmen are Members of the Board who are appointed to that office by the Secretary upon the recommendation of the Chairman.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 512, 7101(a))
$19.3 Assignment of proceedings.
(a) Assignment. The Chairman may assign a proceeding instituted before the Board, including any motion, to an individual Member or to a panel of three or more Members for adjudication or other appropriate action. The Chairman may participate in a proceeding assigned to a panel of Members.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102)
(b) Inability to serve. If a Member is unable to participate in the disposition of a proceeding or motion to which the Member has been assigned, the Chairman may assign the proceeding or motion to another Member or substitute another Member (in the case of a proceeding or motion assigned to a panel).
Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7101(a), 7102)
$19.4 Principal functions of the Board.
The principal functions of the Board are to make determinations of appellate jurisdiction, consider all applications on appeal properly before it, conduct hearings on appeal, evaluate the evidence of
record, and enter decisions in writing on the questions presented on appeal.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7104, 7107)
§ 19.5 Criteria governing disposition of appeals.
In the consideration of appeals, the Board is bound by applicable statutes, regulations of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and precedent opinions of the General Counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Board is not bound by Department manuals, circulars, or similar administrative issues. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 7104(c))
$ 19.6 [Reserved]
$19.7 The decision.
(a) Decisions based on entire record. The appellant will not be presumed to be in agreement with any statement of fact contained in a Statement of the Case to which no exception is taken. Decisions of the Board are based on a review of the entire record. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(a), 7105(d)(4))
(b) Content. The decision of the Board will be in writing and will set forth specifically the issue or issues under appellate consideration. Except with respect to issues remanded to the agency of original jurisdiction for further development of the case and appeals which are dismissed because the issue has been resolved by administrative action or because an appellant seeking nonmonetary benefits has died while the appeal was pending, the decision will also include separately stated findings of fact and conclusions of law on all material issues of fact and law presented on the record, the reasons or bases for those findings and conclusions, and an order granting or denying the benefit or benefits sought on appeal or dismissing the appeal.
(c) A decision by a panel of Members will be by a majority vote of the panel Members. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(d))
$19.8 Decision notification.
After a decision has been rendered by the Board, all parties to the appeal and the representatives, if any, will be notified of the results by the mailing of a copy of the written decision to the parties and their representatives at their last known addresses. In the case of appeals involving contesting claimants, the content of the Board's decision will be limited to that information which directly affects the payment or potential payment of the benefit(s) which is (are) the subject of the contested claim. Any Board decision in the same case, but involving separate appeal issues which are not a part of the contested claim, will be made the subject of a separate written decision which will be mailed only to that appellant and his or her representative.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(e))
$19.9 Remand for further development.
When, during the course of review, it is determined that further evidence or clarification of the evidence or correction of a procedural defect is essential for a proper appellate decision, a Member or panel of Members of the Board shall remand the case to the agency of original jurisdiction, specifying the action to be undertaken.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7104(a))
$19.11 Reconsideration panel.
(a) Assignment of Members. When a motion for reconsideration is allowed, the Chairman will assign a panel of three or more Members of the Board, which may include the Chairman, to conduct the reconsideration.
(b) Number of Members constituting a reconsideration panel. In the case of a matter originally heard by a single Member of the Board, the case shall be referred to a panel of three Members of the Board. In the case of a matter originally heard by a panel of Members of the Board, the case shall be referred to an enlarged panel, consisting of three or more Members than the original panel. In order to obtain a majority opinion, the number of Members assigned to a reconsideration panel may be increased in successive increments of three.
(c) Members included in the reconsideration panel. The reconsideration panel may not include any Member who participated in the decision that is being reconsidered. Additional Members will be assigned in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7103)
19.12 Disqualification of Members.
(a) General. A Member of the Board will disqualify himself or herself in a hearing or decision on an appeal if that appeal involves a determination in which he or she participated or had supervisory responsibility in the agency of original jurisdiction prior to his or her appointment as a Member of the Board, or where there are other circumstances which might give the impression of bias either for or against the appellant.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7104)
(b) Appeal on same issue subsequent to decision on administrative appeal. Any Member of the Board who made the decision on an administrative appeal will disqualify himself or herself from acting on a subsequent appeal by the claimant on the same issue. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7104, 7106)
(c) Disqualification of Members by the Chairman. The Chairman of the Board, on his or her own motion, may disqualify a Member from acting in an appeal on the grounds set forth in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section and in those cases where a Member is unable or unwilling to act.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7104, 7106)
§ 19.13 Delegation of authority to Chairman and Vice Chairman, Board of Veterans' Appeals.
The Chairman and/or Vice Chairman have authority delegated by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to:
(a) Approve the assumption of appellate jurisdiction of an adju dicative determination which has not become final in order to grant a benefit, and
(b) Order VA Central Office investigations of matters before the Board.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 303, 512(a))
§ 19.14 Delegation of authority-Appeals Regulations.
(a) The authority exercised by the Chairman of the Board of Veterans' Appeals described in §§ 19.3(b), 19.3(c), and 19.12(c) of this part may also be exercised by the Vice Chairman of the Board.
(b) The authority exercised by the Chairman of the Board of Veterans' Appeals described in §§ 19.3(d) and 19.11 of this part may also be exercised by the Vice Chairman of the Board and by Deputy Vice Chairmen of the Board.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 512(a), 7102, 7104)
SUBPART B-Appeals Processing by Agency of Original
§ 19.25 Notification by agency of original jurisdiction of right to appeal.
The claimant and his or her representative, if any, will be informed of appellate rights provided by 38 U.S.C. chapters 71 and 72, including the right to a personal hearing and the right to representation. The agency of original jurisdiction will provide this information in each notification of a determination of entitlement or nonentitlement to Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(a))
§ 19.26 Action by agency of original jurisdiction on Notice of Disagreement.
When a Notice of Disagreement is timely filed, the agency of original jurisdiction must reexamine the claim and determine if additional review or development is warranted. When a Notice of Disagreement is received following a multiple-issue determination and it is not clear which issue, or issues, the claimant desires to appeal, clarification sufficient to identify the issue, or issues, being ap pealed should be requested from the claimant or his or her rep resentative. If no preliminary action is required, or when it is completed, the agency of original jurisdiction must prepare a State ment of the Case pursuant to § 19.29 of this part, unless the matter is resolved by granting the benefits sought on appeal or the Notice of Disagreement is withdrawn by the appellant or his or her rep resentative.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(1))
$19.27 Adequacy of Notice of Disagreement questioned within the agency of original jurisdiction.
If, within the agency of original jurisdiction, there is a question as to the adequacy of a Notice of Disagreement, the procedures for an administrative appeal must be followed. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105, 7106)
$19.28 Determination that a Notice of Disagreement is inadequate protested by claimant or representative.
Whether a Notice of Disagreement is adequate is an appealable issue. If the claimant or his or her representative protests an adverse determination made by the agency of original jurisdiction with respect to the adequacy of a Notice of Disagreement, the claimant will be furnished a Statement of the Case.
(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105)
$19.29 Statement of the Case.
The Statement of the Case must be complete enough to allow the appellant to present written and/or oral arguments before the Board of Veterans' Appeals. It must contain:
(a) A summary of the evidence in the case relating to the issue or issues with which the appellant or representative has expressed disagreement;
(b) A summary of the applicable laws and regulations, with appropriate citations, and a discussion of how such laws and regulations affect the determination; and
(c) The determination of the agency of original jurisdiction on each issue and the reasons for each such determination with respect to which disagreement has been expressed. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(1))
$19.30 Furnishing the Statement of the Case and instructions for filing a Substantive Appeal.
(a) To whom the Statement of the Case is furnished. The Statement of the Case will be forwarded to the appellant at the latest address of record and a separate copy provided to his or her representative (if any).
(b) Information furnished with the Statement of the Case. With the Statement of the Case, the appellant and the representative will be furnished information on the right to file, and time limit for filing, a Substantive Appeal; information on hearing and representation rights; and a VA Form 9, "Appeal to Board of Veterans' Appeals."
Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105)
Supplemental Statement of the Case.
A Supplemental Statement of the Case, so identified, will be furished to the appellant and his or her representative, if any, when additional pertinent evidence is received after a Statement of the Case or the most recent Supplemental Statement of the Case has een issued, when a material defect in the Statement of the Case