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Veterans Affairs: The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims - Judicial Review of VA Decision Making

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Congress research rept.

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Congress, through the Department of Veterans Affairs VA, extends various benefits to veterans and certain of their family members. Sometimes veterans may not agree with the VAs initial decisions concerning the award andor the amount of these benefits. Within the VA, there is an extensive appealreview process that concludes with the decision of the Board of Veterans Appeals BVA. Final decisions of the BVA may be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims CAVC, which is an independent federal court, entirely separate from the VA. Legislation was enacted in the 111th Congress dealing with CAVC funding and administrative matters. The 111th Congress also considered bills dealing with operational and appeal procedures to the CAVC, including bills to modify the current 120-day time limit for an appeal from the BVAs final decision to be filed with the CAVC however, none was enacted. On February 18, 2011, Representative Bob Filner introduced H.R. 810, the Fair Access to Veterans Benefits Act of 2011, which is similar to legislation introduced in the 111th Congress. If enacted, the bill would extend the 120-day limit for the filing of an appeal to the CAVC after a final decision of the BVA, upon a showing of good cause for such time as justice may require. For the purposes of this legislation, good cause is considered to be the inability of a person to file within the 120-day period due to a service-connected disability. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court recently considered the 120-day time limit for appeals to the CAVC in Henderson v. Shinseki U.S. No. 09-1036. In its March 1, 2011, holding, the Court determined that the 120-day rule was not jurisdictional, and therefore did not necessarily preclude consideration of appeals following its expiration, under certain circumstances.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

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