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Fiduciary claims

If you disagree with a VA decision on a fiduciary claim, you have 2 decision review options. You can ask for a Higher-Level Review or request a Board Appeal.

Ask a senior reviewer to do a Higher-Level Review

Download VA Form 20-0996: Higher-Level Review (PDF)

When you choose a Higher-Level Review, you’re asking for another review of the same evidence. A senior reviewer will take another look at your case and determine whether the decision can be changed based on a difference of opinion or an error. 
Learn how to request a Higher-Level Review


  • You can’t submit any evidence.
  • You and/or your representative can speak with the reviewer on the phone. You can tell them why you think the decision should be changed and identify errors.

How long does it take VA to make a decision?

4-5 months

Our goal for completing Higher-Level Reviews is 125 days. A review may take longer if we need to get records or schedule a new exam to correct an error.

Can I request a Higher-Level Review?

You can request a Higher-Level Review of an initial claim. This option isn’t available after a Higher-Level Review or Board Appeal.

Appeal to a Veterans Law Judge by requesting a Board Appeal

Download VA Form 10182: Board Appeal (PDF) 

A judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C., will review your case. 
Learn more about how to request a Board Appeal

What are my Board Appeal options?

If you select a Board Appeal, you have 3 options. We encourage you to work with your representative to decide which of the following options is best for you.

Option 1: Request a Direct Review

A Veterans Law Judge will review your appeal based on evidence already submitted. You can't submit evidence and can't have a hearing.

The Direct Review option will take about one year for the Board to complete.

Option 2: Submit more evidence

You can submit more evidence for a Veterans Law Judge to review. You must submit this evidence within 90 days of the date we receive your Decision Review Request: Board Appeal (VA Form 10182). 
Download VA Form 10182 (PDF) 

The evidence submission option will take more than one year for the Board to complete.

Option 3: Request a hearing

You can request a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge. You can choose to add new and relevant evidence, either at the hearing or within 90 days after the hearing. Adding evidence is optional. Your hearing will be transcribed and added to your appeal file.

You can choose from 3 different ways to speak with the Veterans Law Judge:

  • Virtual hearing from your home
  • Videoconference hearing at a VA location near you
  • In-person hearing at the Board in Washington, D.C.

The hearing request option will take more than one year for the Board to complete.

Can I request a Board Appeal?

You can request a Board Appeal after an initial claim or Higher-Level Review decision. You can’t request 2 Board Appeals in a row.

After a Board decision

If you disagree with the Board’s decision and have new and relevant evidence that supports your case, you can file a new claim. You can also appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Learn more about your options after a Board decision

What happens next?

Find out what happens after you request a decision review

You don’t need to do anything while you wait unless we send you a letter asking for more information. If we schedule exams for you, be sure not to miss them.

Track the status of your appeal

What if I need help?

A Veterans Service Organization or VA-accredited attorney or agent can help you request a decision review. 
Get help requesting a decision review

What if I have more questions?

Get answers to frequently asked questions about decision reviews. 
Go to FAQs

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