Who we are and what we can do for you
Hi. I'm Alexandra and I work for the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. In this short video, you will learn about who we are and what we can do for you.
The Veterans Review and Appeal Board is a federal tribunal. Our mission is simple: to provide timely, respectful hearings and fair, plain-language decisions.
The reason we exist is to support Veterans, members of the military and RCMP, and their families in receiving the benefits they are entitled to for service-related disabilities.
We do this by providing an independent avenue of appeal for disability benefits decisions made by Veterans Affairs Canada. It's important to remember that we are an entirely separate organization from Veterans Affairs. This ensures that we can offer you a fair and independent appeal process.
Before you can apply to the Board, you must have received a decision from Veterans Affairs. For example, you might have applied for a disability award for a low back injury, and received a decision providing you no, or partial entitlement. Or, perhaps you received a disability assessment that you feel is too low.
Regardless, if you are dissatisfied with your decision, you can come to the Board for an independent appeal. And there is no time limit to do so.
Contacting a representative is the first step to take if you are dissatisfied with a decision. When you come to the Board, you have access to free legal representation through the Bureau of Pensions Advocates. You may also choose to be represented by a Service Officer from the Legion.
Your representative's job is to help you prepare your case, which may include advising you on additional evidence you might need. Your representative also appears with you at your hearing to make arguments on your behalf.
Every case is heard by a panel of Board Members. These members come from a variety of backgrounds, including medical, policing, legal, and military. In fact, about one third of our Members are military Veterans.
Board Members are knowledgeable about the military and RCMP, and the medical conditions commonly related to working in these environments.
When you come to the Board, you have access to two levels of redress: Review, and, if you are still dissatisfied, Appeal. Review hearings are held in locations across the country, and by teleconference and videoconference.
The hearing typically lasts about half an hour. This is your chance to appear before decision-makers and to testify about the facts of your case.
Our hearings are informal and non-adversarial, which means that no one opposes your case or argues against you. Board Members are there to listen and to ask questions in order to better understand the evidence and arguments in your case.
At the hearing, you should be prepared to tell your story. This could include talking about your military or RCMP service, how your disability came about, and how it has affected you. When the Review hearing is finished, Board Members will decide on the case, write a decision that explains the reasons for the ruling, and send this to you within 6 to 8 weeks of your hearing.
If you are dissatisfied with this decision, you can request an Appeal hearing. Appeal is the second and final level of redress at the Board. It is another chance for you, through your representative, to submit new information and arguments in support of your case.
Every year, thousands of applicants receive new or increased benefits through the Board's appeal program. If you are dissatisfied with a decision on disability benefits from Veterans Affairs, remember that you have the right to appeal it. You have the right to be heard, and we are here to listen. For more information, please visit our website or call us.
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