Veterans to see virtual hearings at Board of Veterans Appeals in early 2020


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Veterans can expect the Board of Veterans Appeals to launch a nationwide availability of virtual hearing technology in 2020. This technology will allow Veterans to connect with the Board via their mobile phone or laptop when using the VA Video Connect app.

With virtual hearings, Veterans will have the choice to participate in their Board hearing from the comfort of their own home. Currently, Veterans can only participate in their Board hearing in Washington D.C., or at a VA facility with video capability. This limitation is especially challenging when the nearest VA facility is hours away or if a Veteran must travel last minute.

“Customer Service is a top priority for VA and providing access to virtual hearings supports this,” says Chairman of the Board, Cheryl Mason.

Successful testing

Virtual hearing technology is based off the telehealth platform, which has seen amazing results. In fiscal 2019, more than 900,000 Veterans used VA telehealth services, a 17% increase from the previous year. Whether it’s telehealth or virtual hearings, it all comes down to one thing: choice for Veterans.

The Board began testing virtual hearings in July. It collaborated testing with VA’s Office of Information and Technology. The Board also worked with Veteran Service Organizations and advocates across the country. The good results showcase how this needed technology helps Veterans.

In the past, if a Veteran had to change plans at the last minute, he or she would need to be reschedule the hearing. This results in a longer wait time.

In action

This happened recently when a Veteran had to unexpectedly travel at the last minute. Fortunately, a Board hearing coordinator was able to help the Veteran access the proper application. They then ran the necessary connectivity checks, and instead of cancelling, the Veteran was able to proceed with a hearing. That hearing included multi-state connections, including the Veterans Law Judge (VLJ) who was in Washington, D.C. Thus, the Veteran did not have to wait longer for a hearing.

In another instance, a Veteran could not travel to the regional office for the hearing due to work and family schedule conflicts. The Veteran’s representative suggested that the Veteran try a virtual hearing, knowing that VA was currently testing that technology. The Veteran agreed and had a successful hearing via cell phone.

In early November, the Board expedited a terminally ill Veteran’s hearing request using virtual hearing technology. The Board made sure that the technology was ready and working so that the hearing could take place. The Veteran was able to testify at the hearing from a hospital bed while the Veteran’s representative was at the regional office and the VLJ was in Washington, D.C. In the end, the Veteran’s testimony was very helpful to the appeal.

With nationwide availability of virtual hearing technology on the horizon, Veterans will have greater access to Board hearings–and more choice and control in their appeals process.

For more information about the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, please visit: https://www.bva.va.gov/.


This blog was written by the Board of Veterans Appeals.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Stephanie Davis    

    I am hoping now veterans both alive and deceased and their families are able to get what they deserved. Some of these people making decisions haven’t been injured in war or in the field because they are behind a desk. No Veteran nor their family should feel abandoned by the system or group of people who have fought to keep this country safe. Or who has been injured physically is mentally. It effects everyone tied to that Veteran. Now my question is how does this benefits the ones that waited and died during the process? The family should still be entitled to it. We as a Nation need to do better by our Veterans and their families. The Veteran’s should be the highest paid people there are. Especially if the injury or death occurred while protecting waterways and land and this country as a whole.

  2. Derric Anglin3    

    Why does it take so long to respond to missing records The Veterans Records Archives, that’s out of the control of the Veteran?Veterans that has been suffering from Lifelong injuries and illnesses has to suffer these consequences and Result in Depression, Suicides, and foremost many other situations.

  3. Derric Anglin3    

    Why does it take so long for. The VA,to determine if the Veteran is/isn’t entitled a service connection disability rating?Many Years has gone by, Military service records can’t be Found in the Archives, why does The Veteran have to Continue to Suffer with Lifelong Pain that can’t be compensated for the list records? Doesn’t seem to have the Veteran Suffer their Life,as a result of the Service connection illnesses and injuries while serving The Country! DERRIC ANGLIN Sr., Service connection with the rating of 20%.

  4. Jason Roderick Stager    

    I am on my 12th year on my appeal thought my medical records show I was treated for depression in service maybe they can get to me soon?

  5. Robert Applegate    

    Whatever happened to the review of Agent Orange Diseases that was due out from VA in 2017?

  6. Barbara mansell    

    Im seeking my late hisbands benefits, been denied twice,he started his appeal to get disablity in 1992,lost or pushed aside,he died in 2016 with cancer throughout his body ,he served 4 years in the navy,was in the Vietnam war guarding 3 miles off shore,of Vietnam, he served from January of 1960 until December of 1964 ,Uss Duncan And the last ship Uss brush ,he was a proud hard working man,also crippled ,but managed to hold his head high,im am hoping and praying this blue wster act will serve to help families ,that have lost these great men for their service,as he has been denied his rights ,and as his wife of fifty three years , i stand to say we worked together,and i had no help from veterans affair ,to help support him,,so please do the right thing and give the familes what they have earned.,

  7. Braxton L. Anderson III    

    I just hope the number of Tech Savvy Veterans is sufficient for this to be worth the expense. I also hope BVA Veteran Judges receive better Training in Case Management to be able to hold x number of Hearings and complete y number of appeals DAILY.

    THEN we have where does one’s VSO fit into this hearing by video format at the Veterans home. And is there a provision to CAP what these Claim Lawyers will charge to come to the Veterans home to sit in on the hearing.

    Lastly, if you do not have eBenefits by now. Well now is a great time to register for your account.

  8. William Westerlund    

    Love when technology can make a positive impact

  9. Calvin Brooks    

    I’m a veteran 100% disabled suffering from PTSD…I was told by the VA appeal board 7 years ago that my claim date was incorrect. That I was owed four more years back pay!! Why does it take so long when the facts are clear?

  10. Ken L Dasaro    

    There should be a proper rate for vets whom lost hearing and have various EAR problems instead of a flat 10%.
    Why do seven states have disabled vets not having to pay their house property taxes and it is not in Al the United States.
    Vets need representation on these issues so all are equal.

  11. Anthony Mark Schemm    

    Happy to see that VA is working towards a more convenient means for Veteran’s and veteran’s family member’s to witness the VA system that is, and maybe what could be just upon the horizon of video technology.

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