Review of Decisions in the Legacy System
For claims subject to the legacy appeals system, claimants must have started the appeal process by filing a timely legacy notice of disagreement (VA Form 21-0958). The claimant may have requested in the notice of disagreement that the decision be reviewed at the RO by a Decision Review Officer (DRO). The review is conducted de novo, meaning that the DRO provides a new and complete review of the claim without giving any weight to the fact that other RO personnel previously denied the claim. If the DRO continues the denial, or if the claimant did not elect DRO review, the RO will issue a statement of the case, which is meant to provide the claimant with a better understanding of the basis for the RO’s decision. To complete the appeal, the claimant must then submit to the VA a substantive appeal, typically by filing a VA Form 9. Next, the RO certifies the appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Finally, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals reviews the claim and issues a decision.