In April 2020, at the height of the spring 2020 coronavirus quarantines, lawmakers approved the VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act. As a result, any room with a stable WiFi connection is a possible location for the Board of Veterans Appeals. Veterans can choose to have the hearing in their living rooms, their offices, or almost anyplace else. If a Veteran Services Office representative assisted them, the VSO can be in the room, in another location, or not present at all.
Virtual hearings are not always the best option. But wherever the BVA hearing occurs, a good VA disability attorney greatly improves the chances of a successful outcome. A lawyer assesses your case to determine the best possible basis for an appeal. Then, an attorney lays the groundwork by collecting evidence or preparing compelling arguments. Generally, people who do their homework do well on the test. That is usually true in these situations.
How do I Request a Virtual Hearing?
If a tele-hearing your best option, simply select choice 11C in part II of your Notice of Disagreement. That election triggers a VA letter regarding the nature of the hearing. Confirm your choice of a virtual hearing in your reply to that letter.
Virtual hearings do not affect your docket position. The BVA hears these cases on a first-come, first-served basis. The specific nature of the hearing, live or virtual, is irrelevant.
How do I Get Ready for a Virtual Hearing?
Keep a close eye on your email. A few weeks prior to the hearing, the VA sends details about the virtual hearing, including the time, date, and a link for joining the videoconference. Spam filters sometimes weed out these emails, so watch your spam folder as well.
As mentioned, a VSO or attorney can help Veterans prepare for their virtual hearings. Moreover, friends and family members can provide technical and/or moral support.
Remote digital hearings work best on Google Chrome. If you have an Apple device, you will need to download the VA Video Connect app. The aforementioned technical and moral support is quite helpful in areas like this.
Veterans can reschedule the virtual hearing date. More than two weeks prior to the hearing, send a letter detailing good cause for the rescheduling. Be sure to include the VA file number. Short notice rescheduling requires a legal motion. Roughly the same procedure applies to withdrawal requests.
What Happens During a Remote Digital Hearing?
In general, the VLJ administers an oath, and the Veteran provides testimony. The judge usually asks questions, as well.
Specifically, private settings are best. The location must have a stable connection. Library study rooms and attorney conferences rooms often meet both these qualifications. Avoid coffee shops and living rooms.
When speaking, look at the webcam lens and not the computer screen. Also, speak plainly, but do not shout, into the microphone.
A chat box at the bottom of the screen allows Veterans to report technical problems. Board members typically lend a hand if needed. If things go off the rails, immediately contact the National Telehealth Technology Help Desk at 855-519-7116.
What About an Appeals Record?
You must request a transcript. The Board does not record these hearings, and Veterans should not record them either. Unilateral recordings are illegal in some jurisdictions.
Reach Out to Assertive Attorneys
Virtual digital hearings are generally a good alternative to live hearings. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer, contact Cameron Firm, PC at 800-861-7262 or fill out the contact box to your right. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.