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Title 38 – Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans’ Relief–Volume 2

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Title 38 – Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans’ Relief–Volume 2


Part


chapter i – Department of Veterans Affairs (Continued)

18

chapter ii – Armed Forces Retirement Home

200

CHAPTER I – DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (CONTINUED)

PART 18 – NONDISCRIMINATION IN FEDERALLY-ASSISTED PROGRAMS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS – EFFECTUATION OF TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964

Subpart A – General


Authority:Sec. 602, 78 Stat. 252 (42 U.S.C. 2000d-1) and the laws referred to in Appendix A.

§ 18.1 Purpose.

The purpose of this part is to effectuate the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (hereafter referred to as the Act) to the end that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs.


[29 FR 19301, Dec. 31, 1964. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980]


§ 18.2 Application of this part.

This part applies to any program for which Federal financial assistance is authorized under a law administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, including the types of Federal financial assistance listed in appendix A to this subpart. It applies to money paid, property transferred, or other Federal financial assistance extended after the effective date of this part pursuant to an application approved prior to such effective date. This part does not apply to (a) any Federal financial assistance by way of insurance or guaranty contracts, (b) money paid, property transferred, or other assistance extended before the effective date of this part, (c) any assistance to any individual who is the ultimate beneficiary, or (d) any employment practice, under any such program, of any employer, employment agency, or labor organization, except to the extent described in § 18.3. The fact that a type of Federal financial assistance is not listed in appendix A to this subpart shall not mean, if Title VI of the Act is otherwise applicable, that a program is not covered. Other types of Federal financial assistance under statutes now in force or hereinafter enacted may be added to appendix A to this subpart by notice published in the Federal Register.


[38 FR 17965, July 5, 1973. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51369, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.3 Discrimination prohibited.

(a) General. No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program to which this part applies.


(b) Specific discriminatory actions prohibited. (1) A recipient to which this part applies may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, on grounds of race, color, or national origin:


(i) Deny an individual any service, financial aid, or other benefit provided under the program;


(ii) Provide any service, financial aid, or other benefit to an individual which is different, or is provided in a different manner, from that provided to others under the program;


(iii) Subject an individual to segregation or separate treatment in any matter related to receipt of any service, financial aid, or other benefit under the program;


(iv) Restrict an individual in any way in the enjoyment of any advantage or privilege enjoyed by others receiving any service, financial aid, or other benefit under the program;


(v) Treat an individual differently from others in determining whether is satisfied any admission, enrollment, quota, eligibility, membership or other requirement or condition which individuals must meet in order to be provided any service, financial aid, or other benefit provided under the program.


(vi) Deny a person an opportunity to participate in the program through the provision of services or otherwise or afford an opportunity to do so which is different from that afforded others under the program.


(vii) Deny a person the opportunity to participate as a member of a planning or advisory body which is an integral part of the program.


(2) A recipient, in determining the types of services, financial aid, or other benefits, or facilities which will be provided under any such program, or the class of individuals to whom, or the situations in which, such services, financial aid, other benefits, or facilities will be provided under any such program, or the class of individuals to be afforded an opportunity to participate in any such program, may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, utilize criteria or methods of administration which have the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the program with respect to individuals of a particular race, color, or national origin.


(3) In determining the site or location of facilities, a recipient or applicant may not make selections with the purpose or effect of excluding individuals from, denying them the benefits of, or subjecting them to discrimination under any program to which this part applies on the grounds of race, color or national origin; or with the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing the accomplishment of the objectives of the Act or this part.


(4) As used in this section the services, financial aid, or other benefits provided under a program receiving Federal financial assistance shall be deemed to include any service, financial aid, or other benefit provided in or through a facility provided with the aid of Federal financial assistance.


(5) The enumeration of specific forms of prohibited discrimination in this paragraph does not limit the generality of the prohibition in paragraph (a) of this section.


(6)(i) In administering a program regarding which the recipient has previously discriminated against persons on the ground of race, color, or national origin, the recipient must take affirmative action to overcome the effects of prior discrimination.


(ii) Even in the absence of such prior discrimination, a recipient in administering a program may take affirmative action to overcome the effects of conditions which resulted in limiting participation by persons of a particular race, color or national origin.


(c) Medical emergencies. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, a recipient of Federal financial assistance shall not be deemed to have failed to comply with paragraph (a) of this section if immediate provision of a service or other benefit to an individual is necessary to prevent his or her death or serious impairment of his or her health, and such service or other benefit cannot be provided except by or through a medical institution which refuses or fails to comply with paragraph (a) of this section.


(d) Employment practices. (1) Whenever a primary objective of the Federal financial assistance to a program to which part 18 applies, is to provide employment, a recipient of such assistance may not (directly or through contractual or other arrangements) subject any individual to discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin in its employment practices under such program (including recruitment or recruitment advertising, employment, layoff, or termination, upgrading, demotion, or transfer, rates of pay or other forms of compensation, and use of facilities). The requirements applicable to construction employment under any such program shall be those specified in or pursuant to part III of Executive Order 11246 (3 CFR Chapter IV) or any Executive order which supersedes it.


(2) In regard to Federal financial assistance which does not have providing employment as a primary objective, the provisions of paragraph (d)(1) of this section apply to the employment practices of the recipient if discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin in such employment practices tends, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, to exclude persons from participation in, to deny them the benefits of or to subject them to discrimination under the program receiving Federal financial assistance. In any such case, the provisions of paragraph (d)(1) of this section shall apply to the extent necessary to assure equality of opportunity to and nondiscriminatory treatment of beneficiaries.


[29 FR 19301, Dec. 31, 1964, as amended at 38 FR 17965, July 5, 1973; 42 FR 60144, Nov. 25, 1977. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, and further amended at 51 FR 10384, Mar. 26, 1986; 68 FR 51369, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.4 Assurances required.

(a) General. (1) Every application for Federal financial assistance to which this part applies, except an application to which paragraph (b) of this section applies, and every application for Federal financial assistance to provide a facility shall, as a condition to its approval and the extension of any Federal financial assistance pursuant to the application, contain or be accompanied by an assurance that the program will be conducted or the facility operated in compliance with all requirements imposed by or pursuant to this part. Every award of Federal financial assistance shall require the submission of such an assurance. In the case of an application for Federal financial assistance to provide real property or structures thereon, the assurance shall obligate the recipient, or, in the case of a subsequent transfer, the transferee, for the period during which the real property or structures are used for a purpose for which the Federal financial assistance is extended or for another purpose involving the provision of similar services or benefits. In the case of personal property the assurance shall obligate the recipient for the period during which the recipient retains ownership or possession of the property. In all other cases the assurance shall obligate the recipient for the period during which Federal financial assistance is extended pursuant to the application. The responsible agency official shall specify the form of the foregoing assurances and the extent to which like assurances will be required of subgrantees, contractors and subcontractors, transferees, successors in interest, and other participants. Any such assurance shall include provisions which give the United States a right to seek its judicial enforcement.


(2) Transfers of surplus property are subject to regulations issued by the Administrator of General Services (41 CFR subpart 101-6.2).


(b) Continuing Federal financial assistance. Every application by a State or a State agency for continuing Federal financial assistance to which this part applies (including the types of Federal financial assistance listed in appendix A to this subpart) shall as a condition to its approval and the extension of any Federal financial assistance pursuant to the application (1) contain or be accompanied by a statement that the program is (or, in the case of a new program, will be) conducted in compliance with all requirements imposed by or pursuant to this part, and (2) provide or be accompanied by provision for such methods of administration for the program as are found by the responsible agency official to give reasonable assurance that the applicant and all recipients of Federal financial assistance under such program will comply with all requirements imposed by or pursuant to this part. In any case in which the recipient is claiming financial assistance pursuant to arrangements entered into prior to the effective date of this part, the assurances provided by this paragraph shall be included in the first application or claim for assistance on or after the effective date of this part.


(c) Elementary and secondary schools. The requirements of paragraph (a) or (b) of this section with respect to any elementary or secondary school or school system shall be deemed to be satisfied if such school or school system (1) is subject to a final order of a court of the United States for the desegregation of such school or school system, and provides an assurance that it will comply with such order, including any future modification of such order, or (2) submits a plan for the desegregation of such school or school system which the responsible agency official determines is adequate to accomplish the purposes of the Act and this part, at the earliest practicable time, and provides reasonable assurance that it will carry out such plan; in any case of continuing Federal financial assistance the responsible agency official may reserve the right to redetermine, after such period as may be specified by the official, the adequacy of the plan to accomplish the purposes of the Act and this part. In any case in which a final order of a court of the United States for the desegregation of such school or school system is entered after submission of such a plan, such plan shall be revised to conform to such final order, including any future modification of such order.


(d) Extent of application to institution or facility. In the case where any assurances are required from an academic, a medical care, or any other institution or facility, insofar as the assurances relate to the institution’s practices with respect to the admission, care, or other treatment of persons by the institution or with respect to the opportunity of persons to participate in the receiving or providing of services, treatment, or benefits, such assurances shall be applicable to the entire institution or facility.


[38 FR 17965, July 5, 1973. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, and amended at 51 FR 10384, Mar. 26, 1986; 68 FR 51369, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.6 Compliance information.

(a) Cooperation and assistance. Each responsible agency official shall to the fullest extent practicable seek the cooperation of recipients in obtaining compliance with this part and shall provide assistance and guidance to recipients to help them comply voluntarily with this part.


(b) Compliance reports. Each recipient shall keep such records and submit to the responsible agency official or designee, timely, complete and accurate compliance reports at such times, and in such form and containing such information, as the responsible agency official or designee may determine to be necessary to enable the official to ascertain whether the recipient has complied or is complying with this part. In the case in which a primary recipient extends Federal financial assistance to any other recipient, such other recipient shall also submit such compliance reports to the primary recipient as may be necessary to enable the primary recipient to carry out its obligations under this part. In general, recipients should have available for the agency racial and ethnic data showing the extent to which members of minority groups are beneficiaries of federally assisted programs.


(c) Access to sources of information. Each recipient shall permit access by the responsible agency official or designee during normal business hours to such of its books, records, accounts, and other sources of information, and its facilities as may be pertinent to ascertain compliance with this part. Where any information required of a recipient is in the exclusive possession of any other agency, institution or person and this agency, institution or person shall fail or refuse to furnish this information, the recipient shall so certify in its report and shall set forth what efforts it has made to obtain the information.


(d) Information to beneficiaries and participants. Each recipient shall make available to participants, beneficiaries, and other interested persons such information regarding the provisions of this part and its applicability to the program for which the recipient receives Federal financial assistance, and make such information available to them in such manner, as the responsible agency official finds necessary to apprise such persons of the protections against discrimination assured them by the Act and this part.


[29 FR 19301, Dec. 31, 1964, as amended at 38 FR 17966, July 5, 1973. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980 and amended at 51 FR 10384, Mar. 26, 1986; 68 FR 51369, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.7 Conduct of investigations.

(a) Periodic compliance reviews. The responsible agency official or designee shall from time to time review the practices of recipients to determine whether they are complying with this part.


(b) Complaints. Any person or any specific class of individuals who believe they have been subjected to discrimination prohibited by this part may themselves, or by a representative, file with the responsible agency official or designee a written complaint. A complaint must be filed not later than 180 days from the date of the alleged discrimination unless the time for filing is extended by the responsible agency offical or designee.


(c) Investigations. The responsible agency official or designee will initiate a prompt investigation whenever a compliance review, report, complaint, or any other information indicates a possible failure to comply with this part. The investigation should include, where appropriate, a review of the pertinent practices and policies of the recipient, the circumstances under which the possible noncompliance with this part occurred, and other factors relevant to a determination as to whether the recipient has failed to comply with this part.


(d) Resolution of matters. (1) If an investigation pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section indicates a failure to comply with this part, the responsible agency official or designee will so inform the recipient and the matter will be resolved by informal means whenever possible. If it has been determined that the matter cannot be resolved by informal means, action will be taken as provided for in § 18.8.


(2) If an investigation does not warrant action pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this section the responsible agency official or designee will so inform the recipient and the complainant, if any, in writing.


(e) Intimidatory or retaliatory acts prohibited. No recipient or other person shall intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by section 601 of the Act or this part, or because the individual has made a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this part. The identity of complainants shall be kept confidential except to the extent necessary to carry out the purposes of this part, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising thereunder.


[29 FR 19301, Dec. 31, 1964. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980 and amended at 51 FR 10384, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18.8 Procedure for effecting compliance.

(a) General. If there appears to be a failure or threatened failure to comply with this part, and if the noncompliance or threatened noncompliance cannot be corrected by informal means, compliance with this part may be effected by the suspension or termination of or refusal to grant or to continue Federal financial assistance or by any other means authorized by law. Such other means may include, but are not limited to, (1) a reference to the Department of Justice with a recommendation that appropriate proceedings be brought to enforce any rights of the United States under any law of the United States (including other titles of the Act), or any assurance or other contractual undertaking, and (2) any applicable proceeding under State or local law.


(b) Noncompliance with § 18.4. If an applicant fails or refuses to furnish an assurance required under § 18.4 or otherwise fails or refuses to comply with a requirement imposed by or pursuant to that section Federal financial assistance may be refused in accordance with the procedures of paragraph (c) of this section. The Department of Veterans Affairs shall not be required to provide assistance in such a case during the pendency of the administrative proceedings under such paragraph except that the Department of Veterans Affairs shall continue assistance during the pendency of such proceedings where such assistance is due and payable pursuant to an application therefor approved prior to the effective date of this part.


(c) Termination of or refusal to grant or to continue Federal financial assistance. No order suspending, terminating or refusing to grant or continue Federal financial assistance shall become effective until (1) the responsible agency official has advised the applicant or recipient of failure to comply and has determined that compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means, (2) there has been an express finding on the record, after opportunity for hearing, of a failure by the applicant or recipient to comply with a requirement imposed by or pursuant to this part, (3) the action has been approved by the Secretary pursuant to § 18.10(e), and (4) the expiration of 30 days after the Secretary has filed with the committee of the House and the committee of the Senate having legislative jurisdiction over the program involved, a full written report of the circumstances and the grounds for such action. Any action to suspend or terminate or to refuse to grant or to continue Federal financial assistance shall be limited to the particular political entity, or part thereof, or other applicant or recipient as to whom such a finding has been made and shall be limited in its effect to the particular program, or part thereof, in which such noncompliance has been so found.


(d) Other means authorized by law. No action to effect compliance with Title VI of the Act by any other means authorized by law shall be taken by the Department of Veterans Affairs until (1) the responsible agency official has determined that compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means, (2) the recipient or other person has been notified of its failure to comply and of the action to be taken to effect compliance, and (3) the expiration of at least 10 days from the mailing of such notice to the recipient or other person. During this period of at least 10 days, additional efforts shall be made to persuade the recipient or other person to comply with this part and to take such corrective action as may be appropriate.


[29 FR 19301, Dec. 31, 1964, as amended at 38 FR 17966, July 5, 1973. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, and amended at 51 FR 10384, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18.9 Hearings.

(a) Opportunity for hearing. Whenever an opportunity for a hearing is required by § 18.8(c), reasonable notice shall be given by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the affected applicant or recipient. This notice shall advise the applicant or recipient of the action proposed to be taken, the specific provision under which the proposed action against it is to be taken, and the matters of fact or law asserted as the basis for this action, and either (1) fix a date not less than 20 days after the date of such notice within which the applicant or recipient may request of the responsible agency official that the matter be scheduled for hearing or (2) advise the applicant or recipient that the matter in question has been set down for hearing at a stated place and time. The time and place so fixed shall be reasonable and shall be subject to change for cause. The complainant, if any, shall be advised of the time and place of the hearing. An applicant or recipient may waive a hearing and submit written information and argument for the record. The failure of an applicant or recipient to request a hearing under this paragraph or to appear at a hearing for which a date has been set shall be deemed to be a waiver of the right to a hearing under section 602 of the Act and § 18.8(c) of this part and consent to the making of a decision on the basis of such information as is available.


(b) Time and place of hearing. Hearings shall be held at the offices of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., at a time fixed by the responsible agency official unless the official determines that the convenience of the applicant or recipient or of the Department of Veterans Affairs requires that another place be selected. Hearings shall be held before the responsible agency official or, at the official’s discretion, before an administrative law judge appointed in accordance with section 3105 of Title 5, U.S.C., or detailed under section 3344 of Title 5, U.S.C.


(c) Right to counsel. In all proceedings under this section, the applicant or recipient and the Department of Veterans Affairs shall have the right to be represented by counsel.


(d) Procedures, evidence, and record. (1) The hearing decision and any administrative review thereof shall be conducted in conformity with the procedures contained in 5 U.S.C. 554-557 (sections 5-8 of the Administrative Procedure Act) and in accordance with such rules of procedure as are proper (and not inconsistent with this section) relating to the conduct of the hearing, giving of notices subsequent to those provided for in paragraph (a) of this section, taking of testimony, exhibits, arguments and briefs, requests for findings, and other related matters. Both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the applicant or recipient shall be entitled to introduce all relevant evidence on the issues as stated in the notice for hearing or as determined by the officer conducting the hearing at the outset of or during the hearing.


(2) Technical rules of evidence shall not apply to hearings conducted pursuant to this part, but rules or principles designed to assure production of the most credible evidence available and to subject testimony to test by cross-examination shall be applied where reasonably necessary by the officer conducting the hearing. The hearing officer may exclude irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence. All documents and other evidence offered or taken for the record shall be open to examination by the parties and opportunity shall be given to refute facts and arguments advanced on either side of the issues. A transcript shall be made of the oral evidence except to the extent the substance thereof is stipulated for the record. All decisions shall be based upon the hearing record and written findings shall be made.


(e) Consolidated or joint hearings. In cases in which the same or related facts are asserted to constitute noncompliance with this part with respect to two or more Federal statutes; authorities, or other means by which Federal financial assistance is extended and to which this part applies, or noncompliance with this part and the regulations of one or more other Federal departments or agencies issued under Title VI of the Act, the Secretary may, by agreement with such other departments or agencies where applicable, provide for the conduct of consolidated or joint hearings, and for the application to such hearings of rules of procedures not inconsistent with this part. Final decisions in such cases, insofar as this part is concerned, shall be made in accordance with § 18.10.


[29 FR 19301, Dec. 28, 1964, as amended at 38 FR 17966, July 5, 1973. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980 and amended at 51 FR 10384, Mar. 26, 1986; 68 FR 51369, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.10 Decisions and notices.

(a) Procedure on decisions by an administrative law judge. If the hearing is held by an administrative law judge such administrative law judge shall either make an initial decision, if so authorized, or certify the entire record including recommended findings and proposed decision to the responsible agency official for a final decision, and a copy of such initial decision or certification shall be mailed to the applicant or recipient. Where the initial decision is made by the administrative law judge the applicant or recipient may within 30 days of the mailing of such notice of initial decision file with the responsible agency official exceptions to the initial decision with reasons therefor. In the absence of exceptions, the responsible agency official may within 45 days after the initial decision serve on the applicant or recipient a notice that the decision will be reviewed. Upon the filing of such exceptions or of such notice of review the responsible agency official shall review the initial decision and issue a decision thereon including the reasons therefor. In the absence of either exceptions or a notice of review the initial decision shall constitute the final decision of the responsible agency official.


(b) Decisions on record or review by the responsible agency official. Whenever a record is certified to the responsible agency official for decision or the official reviews the decision of an administrative law judge pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, or whenever the responsible agency official conducts the hearing, the applicant or recipient shall be given reasonable opportunity to file with the official briefs or other written statements of its contentions, and a written copy of the final decision of the responsible agency official shall be sent to the applicant or recipient and to the complainant, if any.


(c) Decisions on record where a hearing is waived. Whenever a hearing is waived pursuant to § 18.9(a) a decision shall be made by the responsible agency official on the record and a written copy of such decision shall be sent to the applicant or recipient, and to the complainant, if any.


(d) Rulings required. Each decision of an administrative law judge or responsible agency official shall set forth a ruling on each finding, conclusion, or exception presented, and shall identify the requirements imposed by or pursuant to this part with which it is found that the applicant or recipient has failed to comply.


(e) Approval by Secretary. Any final decision by an administrative law judge which provides for the suspension or termination of, or the refusal to grant or continue Federal financial assistance, or the imposition of any other sanction available under this part of the Act, shall promptly be transmitted to the Secretary personally, who may approve such decision, may vacate it, or remit or mitigate any sanction imposed.


(f) Content of orders. The final decision may provide for suspension or termination of, or refusal to grant or continue Federal financial assistance, in whole or in part, to which this regulation applies, and may contain such terms, conditions, and other provisions as are consistent with and will effectuate the purposes of the Act and this part, including provisions designed to assure that no Federal financial assistance to which this regulation applies will thereafter be extended to the applicant or recipient determined by such decision to be in default in its performance of an assurance given by it pursuant to this part, or to have otherwise failed to comply with this part, unless and until it corrects its noncompliance and satisfies the responsible agency official that it will fully comply with this part.


(g) Post termination proceedings. (1) An applicant or recipient adversely affected by an order issued under paragraph (f) of this section shall be restored to full eligibility to receive Federal financial assistance if it satisfies the terms and conditions of that order for such eligibility or if it brings itself into compliance with this section and provides reasonable assurance that it will fully comply with this part.


(2) Any applicant or recipient adversely affected by an order entered pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section may at any time request the responsible agency official to restore fully its eligibility to receive Federal financial assistance. Any such request shall be supported by information showing that the applicant or recipient has met the requirements of paragraph (g)(1) of this section. If the responsible agency official determines that those requirements have been satisfied, the official shall restore such eligibility.


(3) If the responsible agency official denies any such request, the applicant or recipient may submit a request for a hearing in writing, specifying why it believes such official to have been in error. It shall thereupon be given an expeditious hearing, with a decision on the record, in accordance with rules of procedure issued by the responsible agency official. The applicant or recipient will be restored to such eligibility if it proves at such a hearing that it satisfied the requirements of paragraph (g)(1) of this section. While proceedings under this paragraph are pending, the sanctions imposed by the order issued under paragraph (f) of this section shall remain in effect.


[29 FR 19301, Dec. 31, 1964, as amended at 38 FR 17966, July 5, 1973. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, and amended at 51 FR 10384, Mar. 26, 1986; 68 FR 51369, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.11 Judicial review.

Action taken pursuant to section 602 of the Act is subject to judicial review as provided in section 603 of the Act.


[29 FR 19301, Dec. 31, 1964. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980]


§ 18.12 Effect on other regulations, forms and instructions.

(a) Effect on other regulations. All regulations, orders, or like directions issued before the effective date of this part by any officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs which impose requirements designed to prohibit any discrimination against individuals on the grounds of race, color or national origin under any program to which this part applies, and which authorize the suspension or termination of or refusal to grant or to continue Federal financial assistance to any applicant for or recipient of such assistance for failure to comply with such requirements, are hereby superseded to the extent that such discrimination is prohibited by this part, except that nothing in this part shall be deemed to relieve any person of any obligation assumed or imposed under any such superseded regulation, order, instruction, or like direction prior to the effective date of this part. Nothing in this part, however, shall be deemed to supersede any of the following (including future amendments thereof):


(1) Executive Orders 10925 (3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 448), 11114 (3 CFR, 1959-1963, p. 774), and 11246 (3 CFR, 1965 Supp., p. 167) and regulations issued thereunder, or


(2) Executive Order 11063 (3 CFR, 1959-1963 Comp., p. 652) and regulations issued thereunder, or any other orders, regulations or instructions, insofar as such orders, regulations, or instructions prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, color or national origin in any program or situation to which this part is inapplicable, or prohibit discrimination on any other ground.


(b) Forms and instructions. Each responsible agency officials shall issue and promptly make available to interested persons forms and detailed instructions and procedures for effectuating this part as applied to programs to which this part applies and for which he is responsible.


(c) Supervision and coordination. The Secretary may from time to time assign to officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs or to officials of other departments or agencies of the Government with the consent of such departments or agencies, responsibilities in connection with the effectuation of the purposes of Title VI of the Act and this part (other than responsibility for final decision as provided in § 18.10) including the achievement of effective coordination and maximum uniformity within the Department of Veterans Affairs and within the executive branch of the Government in the application of Title VI and this part to similar programs and in similar situations. Any action taken, determination made, or requirement imposed by an official of another department or agency acting pursuant to an assignment of responsibility under this paragraph shall have the same effect as though such action has been taken by the responsible official of this Agency.


[29 FR 19301, Dec. 31, 1964, as amended at 38 FR 17967, July 5, 1973. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980; 68 FR 51369, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.13 Definitions.

As used in this part:


(a) The term agency means the Department of Veterans Affairs, and includes each of its operating agencies and other organization units.


(b) The term Secretary means the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.


(c) The term responsible agency official with respect to any program receiving Federal financial assistance means the Secretary or other official of the Department of Veterans Affairs or an official of another department or agency to the extent the Secretary has delegated authority to such official.


(d) The term United States means the States of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Wake Island, the Canal Zone, and the territories and possessions of the United States, and the term State means any one of the foregoing.


(e) The term Federal financial assistance includes (1) grants of Federal funds, (2) the grant or donation of Federal property and interests in property, (3) the detail of Federal personnel, (4) the sale and lease of, and the permission to use (on other than a casual or transient basis), Federal property or any interest in such property without consideration or at a nominal consideration, or at a consideration which is reduced for the purpose of assisting the recipient, or in recognition of the public interest to be served by such sale or lease to the recipient, and (5) any Federal agreement, arrangement, or other contract which has as one of its purposes the provision of assistance.


(f) The terms program or activity and program mean all of the operations of any entity described in paragraphs (f)(1) through (4) of this section, any part of which is extended Federal financial assistance:


(1)(i) A department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or of a local government; or


(ii) The entity of such State or local government that distributes such assistance and each such department or agency (and each other State or local government entity) to which the assistance is extended, in the case of assistance to a State or local government;


(2)(i) A college, university, or other postsecondary institution, or a public system of higher education; or


(ii) A local educational agency (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 7801), system of vocational education, or other school system;


(3)(i) An entire corporation, partnership, or other private organization, or an entire sole proprietorship –


(A) If assistance is extended to such corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship as a whole; or


(B) Which is principally engaged in the business of providing education, health care, housing, social services, or parks and recreation; or


(ii) The entire plant or other comparable, geographically separate facility to which Federal financial assistance is extended, in the case of any other corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship; or


(4) Any other entity which is established by two or more of the entities described in paragraph (f)(1), (2), or (3) of this section.


(g) The term facility includes all or any portion of structures, equipment, or other real or personal property or interests therein, and the provision of facilities includes the construction, expansion, renovation, remodeling, alteration or acquisition of facilities.


(h) The term recipient means any State, political subdivision of any State, or instrumentality of any State or political subdivision, any public or private agency, institution, or organization, or other entity, or any individual, in the United States, to whom Federal financial assistance is extended, directly or through another recipient, including any successor, assignee, or transferee thereof, but such term does not include any ultimate beneficiary.


(i) The term applicant means a person who submits an application, request, or plan required to be approved by the Secretary, or by a recipient, as a condition to eligibility for Federal financial assistance, and application means such an application, request, or plan.


[29 FR 19301, Dec. 31, 1964, as amended at 38 FR 17967, July 5, 1973. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, and amended at 51 FR 10385, Mar. 26, 1986; 68 FR 51369, Aug. 26, 2003]


Appendix A to Subpart A of Part 18 – Statutory Provisions to Which This Subpart Applies

1. Payments to State homes (38 U.S.C. 1741-1743).


2. State home facilities for furnishing domiciliary, nursing home, and hospital care (38 U.S.C. 8131-8137).


3. Space and office facilities for representatives of recognized national organizations (38 U.S.C. 5902(a)(2)).


4. All-volunteer force educational assistance, Veteran Readiness and Employment, post-Vietnam era veterans’ educational assistance, survivors’ and dependents’ educational assistance, and administration of educational benefits (38 U.S.C. Chapters 30, 31, 32, 34, 35 and 36, respectively).


5. Sharing of medical facilities, equipment, and information (38 U.S.C. 8151-8157).


6. Approval of educational institutions (38 U.S.C. 104).


7. Space and office facilities for representatives of State employment services (38 U.S.C. 7725(1)).


8. Medical care for survivors and dependents of certain veterans (38 U.S.C. 1713).


9. Transfers for nursing home care; adult day health care (38 U.S.C. 1720).


10. Treatment and rehabilitation for alcohol or drug dependence or abuse disabilities (38 U.S.C. 1720A).


11. Aid to States for establishment, expansion, and improvement of veterans cemeteries (38 U.S.C. 2408).


12. Assistance in establishing new medical schools; grants to affiliated medical schools; assistance to health manpower training institutions (38 U.S.C. Chapter 82).


13. Department of Veterans Affairs health professional scholarship program (38 U.S.C. 7601-7655).


14. Emergency veterans job training (Pub. L. 98-77, 97 Stat. 443-452).


[51 FR 10385, Mar. 26, 1986, as amended at 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


Appendix B to Subpart A of Part 18 – Illustrative Applications

The following examples, without being exhaustive, will illustrate the application of the nondiscrimination provisions to certain grants of the Department of Veterans Affairs. (In all cases the discrimination prohibited is discrimination on the grounds of race, color, or national origin prohibited by title VI of the Act and this part, as a condition of the receipt of Federal financial assistance.)


(a) In grants which support the provision of health or welfare services for veterans in State homes, discrimination in the selection or eligibility of individuals to receive the services, and segregation or other discriminatory practices in the manner of providing them, are prohibited. This prohibition extends to all facilities and services provided by the State as grantee under the program or by a political subdivision of the State. It extends also to services purchased or otherwise obtained by the grantee (or political subdivision) from hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and similar institutions for beneficiaries of the program, and to the facilities in which such services are provided, subject, however, to the provisions of § 18.3(c).


(b) In grants to assist in the construction of facilities for the provision of health or welfare services assurances will be required that services will be provided without discrimination, to the same extent that discrimination would be prohibited as a condition of Federal operating grants for the support of such services. Thus, as a condition of grants for the construction of a State home for furnishing nursing home care, assurances will be required that there will be no discrimination in the admission or treatment of patients. In the case of such grants the assurance will apply to patients, to interns, residents, student nurses, and other trainees, and to the privilege of physicians, dentists, and other professionally qualified persons to practice in the nursing home, and will apply to the entire facility for which, or for a part of which, the grant is made, and to facilities operated in connection therewith.


(c) Upon transfers of real or personal surplus property for health or educational uses, discrimination is prohibited to the same extent as in the case of grants for the construction of facilities or the provision of equipment for like purposes.


(d) A recipient may not take action that is calculated to bring about indirectly what this part forbids it to accomplish directly. Thus a State, in selecting or approving projects or sites for the construction of a nursing home which will receive Federal financial assistance, may not base its selections or approvals on criteria which have the effect of defeating or of substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the Federal assistance program with respect to individuals of a particular race, color, or national origin.


(38 U.S.C. 1741, 1744, 8131-8137, 8155, 5902(a)(2), Chapters 31, 34, 35 and 36)

[38 FR 17968, July 5, 1973. Redesignated at 45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980]


Subparts B-C [Reserved]

Subpart D – Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap


Authority:29 U.S.C. 706, 794.


Source:45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, unless otherwise noted.

General Provisions

§ 18.401 Purpose.

The purpose of this part is to effectuate section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of handicap in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.


§ 18.402 Application.

This part applies to each recipient of Federal financial assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs and to each program or activity that receives such assistance.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.403 Definitions.

As used in this part, the term:


(a) The Act means the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. 93-112, as amended by the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1974, Pub. L. 93-516, and Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Amendments of 1978, Pub. L. 95-602, 29 U.S.C. 794.


(b) Section 504 means section 504 of the Act.


(c) Education of the Handicapped Act means that statute as amended by the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975, Pub. L. 94-142, 20 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.


(d) Agency means the Department of Veterans Affairs.


(e) Secretary means the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.


(f) Recipient means any State or its political subdivision, any instrumentality of a State or its political subdivision, any public or private agency, institution, organization, or other entity, or any person to which Federal financial assistance is extended directly or through another recipient, including any successor, assignee, or transferee of a recipient but excluding the ultimate beneficiary of the assistance.


(g) Applicant for assistance means one who submits an application, request, or plan required to be approved by an Agency official or by a recipient as a condition to eligibility for Federal financial assistance.


(h) Federal financial assistance means any grant, loan, contract (other than a procurement contract or a contract of insurance or guaranty), or any other arrangement by which the Agency provides or otherwise makes available assistance in the form of:


(1) Funds, including funds extended to any entity for payment to or on behalf of students admitted to that entity, extended directly to those students for payment to that entity, or extended directly to those students contingent upon their participation in education or training of that entity;


(2) Services of Federal personnel; or


(3) Real and personal property or any interest in or use of property, including;


(i) Transfers or leases of such property for less than fair market value or for reduced consideration; and


(ii) Proceeds from a subsequent transfer or lease of such property if the Federal share of its fair market value is not returned to the Federal Government.


(i) Facility means all or any portion of buildings, structures, equipment, roads, walks, parking lots, or other real or personal property or interest in such property.


(j) Handicapped person. (1) Handicapped person means any person who:


(i) Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities;


(ii) Has a record of such an impairment; or


(iii) Is regarded as having such an impairment.


(2) As used in paragraph (j)(1) of this section, the phrase:


(i) Physical or mental impairment means:


(A) Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: Neurological, musculoskeletal; special sense organs including speech organs; respiratory; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or


(B) Any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.


(C) The term physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, drug addiction and alcoholism.


(ii) Major life activities means functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.


(iii) Has a record of such an impairment means has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.


(iv) Is regarded as having an impairment means:


(A) Has a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but is treated by a recipient as constituting such a limitation;


(B) Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment;


(C) Has none of the impairments defined in paragraph (j)(2)(i) of this section, but is treated by a recipient as having such an impairment.


(k) Qualified handicapped person means:


(1) With respect to employment, a handicapped person who, with reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question;


(2) With respect to public elementary, secondary, or adult educational services, a handicapped person:


(i) Of an age during which nonhandicapped persons are provided such services;


(ii) Of any age during which it is mandatory under State laws to provide such services to handicapped persons; or


(iii) To whom a State is required to provide a free appropriate public education under section 612 of the Education of the Handicapped Act; and


(3) With respect to postsecondary and vocational education services, a handicapped person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the recipient’s education program or activity; and


(4) With respect to other services, a handicapped person who meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of such services.


(l) Handicap means any condition or characteristic that renders a person a handicapped person as defined in paragraph (j) of this section.


(m) Program or activity means all of the operations of any entity described in paragraphs (m)(1) through (4) of this section, any part of which is extended Federal financial assistance:


(1)(i) A department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or of a local government; or


(ii) The entity of such State or local government that distributes such assistance and each such department or agency (and each other State or local government entity) to which the assistance is extended, in the case of assistance to a State or local government;


(2)(i) A college, university, or other postsecondary institution, or a public system of higher education; or


(ii) A local educational agency (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 7801), system of vocational education, or other school system;


(3)(i) An entire corporation, partnership, or other private organization, or an entire sole proprietorship –


(A) If assistance is extended to such corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship as a whole; or


(B) Which is principally engaged in the business of providing education, health care, housing, social services, or parks and recreation; or


(ii) The entire plant or other comparable, geographically separate facility to which Federal financial assistance is extended, in the case of any other corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship; or


(4) Any other entity that is established by two or more of the entities described in paragraph (m)(1), (2), or (3) of this section.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.404 Discrimination prohibited.

(a) General. No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity which receives Federal financial assistance.


(b) Discriminatory actions prohibited. (1) A recipient, in providing an aid, benefit, or service, may not, directly or through contractual, licensing, or other arrangements, on the basis of handicap:


(i) Deny a qualified handicapped person the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service that is equal to that afforded others;


(ii) Afford a qualified handicapped person an opportunity to participate in or benefit from the aid, benefit, or service that is not equal to that afforded others;


(iii) Provide a qualified handicapped person with an aid, benefit, or service that is not as effective as that provided to others;


(iv) Provide different or separate aid, benefits, or services to handicapped persons or to any class of handicapped persons unless such action is necessary to provide qualified handicapped persons with aid, benefits, or services that are as effective as those provided to others;


(v) Aid or perpetuate discrimination against a qualified handicapped person by providing significant assistance to an agency, organization, or person that discriminates on the basis of handicap in providing any aid, benefit, or service to beneficiaries of the recipient’s program or activity;


(vi) Deny a qualified handicapped person the opportunity to participate as a member of planning or advisory boards; or


(vii) Otherwise limit a qualified handicapped person in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity enjoyed by others receiving an aid, benefit, or service.


(2) Aids, benefits, and services, to be equally effective, are not required to produce the identical result or level of achievement for handicapped and nonhandicapped persons, but must give handicapped persons equal opportunity to obtain the same result, to gain the same benefit, or to reach the same level of achievement, in the most integrated setting appropriate to the person’s needs.


(3) Despite the existence of separate or different aid, benefits, or services provided in accordance with this part, a recipient may not deny a qualified handicapped person the opportunity to participate in aid, benefits, or services that are not separate or different.


(4) A recipient may not, directly or through contractual or other arrangements, utilize criteria or methods of administration that:


(i) Have the effect of subjecting qualified handicapped persons to discrimination on the basis of handicap,


(ii) Have the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of the recipient’s program or activity with respect to handicapped persons, or


(iii) Perpetuate the discrimination of another recipient if both recipients are subject to common administrative control or are agencies of the same State.


(5) In determining the site or location of a facility, an applicant for assistance or a recipient may not make selections that:


(i) Have the effect of excluding handicapped persons from, deny them the benefits of, or otherwise subject them to discrimination under any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance, or


(ii) Have the purpose or effect of defeating or substantially impairing the accomplishment of the objective of the program or activity with respect to handicapped persons.


(6) As used in this section, the aid, benefit, or service provided under a program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance includes any aid, benefit, or service provided in or through a facility that has been constructed, expanded, altered, leased or rented, or otherwise acquired, in whole or in part, with Federal financial assistance.


(c) Aid, benefits, or services limited by Federal law. The exclusion of nonhandicapped persons or the exclusion of a specific class of handicapped persons from aid, benefits, or services limited by Federal statute or Executive order to a different class of handicapped persons is not prohibited by this part.


(d) Special communication. Recipients shall take appropriate action to ensure that communications with their applicants, employees, and beneficiaries are available to persons with impaired vision and hearing.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.405 Assurances required.

(a) Assurances. An applicant for Federal financial assistance to which this part applies shall submit an assurance on a form specified by the Secretary, that the program or activity will be operated in compliance with this part.


(b) Duration of obligation. (1) When Federal financial assistance is extended in the form of real property or structures on the property, the assurance will obligate the recipient or, in the case of a subsequent transfer, the transferee, for the period during which the real property or structures are used for the purpose for which Federal financial assistance is extended or for another purpose involving the provisions of similar services or benefits.


(2) Where Federal financial assistance is extended to provide personal property, the assurance will obligate the recipient for the period during which it retains ownership or possession of the property.


(3) In all other cases the assurance will obligate the recipient for the period during which Federal financial assistance is extended.


(c) Extent of application to institution or facility. An assurance shall apply to the entire institution or facility.


(d) Covenants. (1) Where Federal financial assistance is provided in the form of real property or interest in the property from the Agency, the instrument effecting or recording this transfer shall contain a covenant running with the land to assure nondiscrimination for the period during which the real property is used for a purpose for which the Federal financial assistance is extended or for another purpose involving the provisions of similar services or benefits.


(2) Where no transfer of property is involved but property is purchased or improved with Federal financial assistance, the recipient shall agree to include the covenant described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section in the instrument effecting or recording any subsequent transfer of property.


(3) Where Federal financial assistance is provided in the form of real property or interest in the property from the Agency, the covenant shall also include a condition coupled with a right to be reserved by the Agency to revert title to the property if there is a breach of the covenant. If a transferee of real property proposes to mortgage or otherwise encumber the real property as security for financing construction of new, or improvement of existing, facilities on the property for the purpose for which the property was transferred, the Secretary may, upon request of the transferee and if necessary to accomplish such financing and upon such conditions as considered appropriate, agree to forbear the exercise of the right to revert title for as long as the lien of the mortgage or other encumbrance remains effective.


(e) Other methods of enforcement. (1) Recipients are required to keep such records as the responsible VA official deems necessary for complete and accurate compliance reports. VA can specify intervals for reporting and prescribe the form and content of information required to ascertain whether the recipient has complied or is complying with the law.


(2) Periodic compliance reviews of training establishments will be conducted by VA compliance officers. During these reviews recipients are required to permit access by VA compliance officers during normal business hours to such of their books, records, accounts, facilities and other sources of information including interviews with personnel and trainees as may be pertinent to ascertain compliance with the law.


(3) From study of documentation, results of interviews, and observation of activities during tours of facilities, compliance officers will evaluate recipients’ compliance status.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 51 FR 10385, Mar. 26, 1986; 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.406 Remedial action, voluntary action and self-evaluation.

(a) Remedial action. (1) If the Secretary finds that a recipient has discriminated against qualified persons on the basis of handicap in violation of section 504 or this part, the recipient shall take such remedial action as the Secretary considers necessary to overcome the effects of the discrimination.


(2) Where a recipient is found to have discriminated against qualified persons on the basis of handicap in violation of section 504 or this part and where another recipient exercises control over the recipient that has discriminated, the Secretary, where appropriate, may require either or both recipients to take remedial action.


(3) The Secretary may, where necessary to overcome the effects of discrimination in violation of section 504 or this part, require a recipient to take remedial action with respect to:


(i) Handicapped persons who are no longer participants in the recipient’s program or activity but who were participants in the program or activity when such discrimination occurred;


(ii) Handicapped persons who would have been participants in the program or activity had the discrimination not occurred; or


(iii) Handicapped persons presently in the program or activity, but not receiving full benefits or equal and integrated treatment within the program or activity.


(b) Voluntary action. A recipient may take steps, in addition to any action that is required by this part, to overcome the effects of conditions that resulted in limited participation in the recipient’s program or activity by qualified handicapped persons.


(c) Self-evaluation. (1) A recipient shall, within one year of the effective date of this part:


(i) Evaluate with the assistance of interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons, its current policies and practices and the effects of the policies and practices that do not or may not meet the requirements of this part;


(ii) Modify, after consultation with interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons, any policies and practices that do not meet the requirements of this part; and


(iii) Take, after consultation with interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons, appropriate remedial steps to eliminate the effects of any discrimination that resulted from adherence to these policies and practices.


(2) A recipient that employs fifteen or more persons shall, for at least three years following completion of the evaluation required under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, maintain on file, make available for public inspection, and provide to the Secretary upon request:


(i) A list of the interested persons consulted;


(ii) A description of areas examined and any problems identified; and


(iii) A description of any modifications made and of any remedial steps taken.


(3) Recipients who become such more than one year after the effective date of these regulations shall complete these self-evaluation requirements within one year after becoming recipients of Federal financial assistance.


(The information collection requirements contained in paragraph (c) have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0415)

[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 49 FR 32574, Aug. 15, 1984; 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.407 Designation of responsible employee and adoption of grievance procedures.

(a) Designation of responsible employee. A recipient that employs fifteen or more persons shall designate at least one person to coordinate its efforts to comply with this part.


(b) Adoption of grievance procedures. A recipient that employs fifteen or more persons shall adopt grievance procedures that incorporate appropriate due process standards and that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by this part. Such procedures need not be established with respect to complaints from applicants for employment or from applicants for admission to postsecondary educational institutions.


§ 18.408 Notice.

(a) A recipient that employs fifteen or more persons shall take appropriate initial and continuing steps to notify participants, beneficiaries, applicants, and employees, including those with impaired vision or hearing, and unions or professional organizations holding collective bargaining or professional agreements with the recipient that it does not discriminate on the basis of handicap in violation of section 504 and this part. The notification shall state, where appropriate, that the recipient does not discriminate in admission or access to, or treatment, or employment in, its programs or activities. The notification shall also include an identification of the responsible employee designated under § 18.407. A recipient shall make the initial notification required by this paragraph within 90 days of the effective date of this part. Methods of initial and continuing notification may include the posting of notices, publication in newspapers and magazines, placement of notices in recipient’s publication, and distribution of memorandums or other written communications.


(b) If a recipient publishes or uses recruitment materials or publications containing general information that it makes available to participants, beneficiaries, applicants, or employees, it shall include in those materials or publications a statement of the policy described in paragraph (a) of this section. A recipient may meet the requirement of this section either by including appropriate inserts in existing materials and publications or by revising and reprinting the materials and publications.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.409 Administrative requirements for certain recipients.

The Secretary may require any recipient with fewer than fifteen employees, or any class of such recipients, to comply with §§ 18.407 and 18.408 in whole or in part, when the Secretary finds a violation of this part or finds that such compliance will not significantly impair the ability of the recipient or class of recipients to provide benefits or services.


§ 18.410 Effect of State or local law or other requirements and effect of employment opportunities.

(a) The obligation to comply with this part is not obviated or alleviated by the existence of any State law or other requirement that, on the basis of handicap, imposes prohibitions or limits upon the eligibility of qualified handicapped persons to receive services or to practice any occupation or profession.


(b) The obligation to comply with this part is not obviated or alleviated because employment opportunities in any occupation or profession are or may be more limited for handicapped persons than for nonhandicapped persons.


Employment Practices

§ 18.411 Discrimination prohibited.

(a) General. (1) No qualified handicapped person shall, on the basis of handicap, be subjected to discrimination in employment under any program or activity to which this part applies.


(2) A recipient shall make all decisions concerning employment under any program or activity to which this part applies in a manner which ensures that discrimination on the basis of handicap does not occur and may not limit, segregate, or classify applicants or employees in any way that adversely affects their opportunities or status because of handicap.


(3) A recipient may not participate in a contractual or other relationship that has the effect of subjecting qualified handicapped applicants or employees to discrimination in employment. The relationships referred to in this section include relationships with employment and referral agencies, with organizations providing or administering fringe benefits to employees of the recipient, and with organizations providing training and apprenticeships.


(b) Specific activities. Nondiscrimination in employment applies to:


(1) Recruitment, advertising, and the processing of applications for employment;


(2) Hiring, upgrading, promotion, award of tenure, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, right of return from layoff, and rehiring;


(3) Rates of pay or other forms of compensation and changes in compensation;


(4) Job assignments, job classifications, organizational structures, position descriptions, lines of progression, and seniority lists;


(5) Leaves of absence, sick leave, or any other leave;


(6) Fringe benefits available by virtue of employment, whether or not administered by the recipient;


(7) Selection and financial support for training, including apprenticeship, professional meetings, conferences, and other related activities, and selection for leaves of absence to pursue training;


(8) Employer sponsored activities, including those that are social or recreational; and


(9) Any other term, condition, or privilege of employment.


(c) Collective bargaining agreements. A recipient’s obligation to comply with this subpart is not affected by any inconsistent term of any collective bargaining agreement to which it is a party.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.412 Reasonable accommodation.

(a) A recipient shall make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of a handicapped applicant or employee if such accommodation would enable that person to perform the essential functions of the job unless the recipient can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of its program or activity.


(b) Reasonable accommodation may include:


(1) Making facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons; and


(2) Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, the provision of readers or interpreters and other similar actions.


(c) In determining under paragraph (a) of this section whether an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of a recipient’s program or activity, factors to be considered include:


(1) The overall size of the recipient’s program or activity with respect to number of employees, number and type of facilities, and size of budget;


(2) The type of the recipient’s operation, including the composition and structure of the recipient’s work force; and


(3) The nature and cost of the accommodation needed.


(d) A recipient may not deny any employment opportunity to a qualified handicapped employee or applicant if the basis for denial is the need to make reasonable accommodation to the physical or mental limitations of the employee or applicant.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 51 FR 10385, Mar. 26, 1986; 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.413 Employment criteria.

(a) A recipient may not use any employment test or other selection criterion that screens out or tends to screen out handicapped persons or any class of handicapped persons unless:


(1) The test score or other selection criterion, as used by the recipient, is shown to be job-related for the position in question; and


(2) Alternative job-related tests or criteria that do not screen out or tend to screen out as many handicapped persons are not shown by the Secretary to be available.


(b) A recipient shall select and administer tests concerning employment to best ensure that when administered to an applicant or employee who has a handicap that impairs sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect the applicant’s or employee’s job skills, aptitude, or whatever other factor the test purports to measure, rather than reflect the applicant’s or employee’s impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (except when those skills are the factors that the test purports to measure).


§ 18.414 Preemployment inquiries.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, a recipient may not conduct a preemployment medical examination or may not make preemployment inquiry of an applicant as to whether the applicant is a handicapped person or as to the nature or severity of a handicap. A recipient may, however, make preemployment inquiry into the applicant’s ability to perform job-related functions.


(b) When a recipient is taking remedial action to correct the effects of past discrimination pursuant to § 18.406(a), when a recipient is taking voluntary action to overcome the effects of conditions that resulted in limited participation in its federally assisted program or activity pursuant to § 18.406(b), or when a recipient is taking affirmative action pursuant to section 503 of the Act, the recipient may invite applicants for employment to indicate whether and to what extent they are handicapped, provided that:


(1) The recipient states clearly on any written questionnaire used for this purpose or makes clear orally if no written questionnaire is used that the information requested is intended for use solely in connection with its remedial action obligations or its voluntary or affirmative action efforts; and


(2) The recipient states clearly that the information is being requested on a voluntary basis, that it will be kept confidential as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, that refusal to provide it will not subject the applicant or employee to any adverse treatment, and that it will be used only in accordance with this part.


(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a recipient from conditioning an offer of employment on the results of a medical examination conducted prior to the employee’s entrance on duty, provided that:


(1) All entering employees are subjected to such an examination regardless of handicap, and (2) the results of such an examination are used only in accordance with the requirements of this part.


(d) Information obtained in accordance with this section as to the medical condition or history of the applicant shall be collected and maintained on separate forms that shall be accorded confidentiality as medical records, except that:


(1) Supervisors and managers may be informed regarding restrictions on the work or duties of handicapped persons and regarding necessary accommodations;


(2) First aid and safety personnel may be informed, where appropriate, if the condition might require emergency treatment;


(3) Government officials investigating compliance with the Act shall be provided relevant information upon request.


Accessibility

§ 18.421 Discrimination prohibited.

No qualified handicapped person shall, because a recipient’s facilities are inaccessible to or unusable by handicapped persons, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity to which this part applies.


§ 18.422 Existing facilities.

(a) Accessibility. A recipient shall operate each program or activity to which this part applies so that when each part is viewed in its entirety it is readily accessible to handicapped persons. This paragraph does not require a recipient to make each of its existing facilities or every part of a facility accessible to and usable by handicapped persons.


(b) Methods. A recipient may comply with the requirement of paragraph (a) of this section through such measures as redesign of equipment, reassignment of classes or other services to accessible buildings, assignment of aids to beneficiaries, home visits, delivery of health, or other social services at alternate accessible sites, alteration of existing facilities and construction of new facilities in conformance with § 18.423 or any other methods that make its program or activity accessible to handicapped persons. A recipient is not required to make structural changes in existing facilities where other methods are effective in making its programs or activities readily accessible to handicapped persons. In choosing among available methods for complying with paragraph (a) of this section, a recipient shall give priority to methods that serve handicapped persons in the most integrated setting appropriate.


(c) Small health, welfare or other social service providers, and recipients that operate other than educational programs or activities. If a recipient with fewer than fifteen employees finds after consultation with a handicapped person seeking its services that there is no method of complying with paragraph (a) of this section other than making a significant alteration in its existing facilities, the recipient may, as an alternative, refer the qualified handicapped person to other providers whose services are accessible. Where referrals are necessary, transportation costs shall not exceed costs to and from recipients’ programs or activities.


(d) Time period. A recipient shall comply with paragraph (a) of this section within 60 days of the effective date of this part except that when structural changes in facilities are necessary, these changes shall be made as soon as practicable, but not later than three years after the effective date of this part.


(e) Transition plan. If structural changes to facilities are necessary to meet the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, a recipient shall develop a transition plan within six months of the effective date of this part setting forth the steps necessary to complete such change. The plan shall be developed with the assistance of interested persons, including handicapped persons or organizations representing handicapped persons. A copy of the transition plan shall be available for public inspection. The plan shall, at a minimum:


(1) Identify physical obstacles in the recipient’s facilities that limit the accessibility of its program or activity to handicapped persons;


(2) Describe in detail the methods that will be used to make the facilities accessible;


(3) Specify the schedule for taking the steps necessary to achieve full accessibility under paragraph (a) of this section and, if the time period of the transition plan is longer than one year, identify steps that will be taken during each year of the transition period; and


(4) Indicate the person responsible for implementation of the plan.


(f) Notice. The recipient shall implement procedures to ensure that interested persons, including persons with impaired vision or hearing, can obtain information concerning the existence and location of services, activities, and facilities that are accessible to and usable by handicapped persons.


(The information collection requirements contained in paragraph (e) have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0414)

[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 49 FR 32574, Aug. 15, 1984; 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.423 New construction.

(a) Design and construction. Each facility or part of a facility constructed by, on behalf of, or for the use of a recipient shall be designed and constructed so that the facility or part of the facility is readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons, if the construction was commenced after the effective date of this part.


(b) Alteration. Each facility or part of a facility which is altered by, on behalf of, or for the use of a recipient after the effective date of this part in a manner that affects or could affect the usability of the facility or part of the facility shall, to the maximum extent feasible, be altered so that the altered portion of the facility is readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons.


(c) Conformance with Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. (1) Effective as of January 18, 1991, design, construction, or alteration of buildings in conformance with sections 3-8 of the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (USAF) (appendix A to 41 CFR subpart 101-19.6) shall be deemed to comply with the requirements of this section with respect to those buildings. Departures from particular technical and scoping requirements of UFAS by the use of other methods are permitted where substantially equivalent or greater access to and usability of the building is provided.


(2) For purposes of this section, section 4.1.6(1)(g) of UFAS shall be interpreted to exempt from the requirements of UFAS only mechanical rooms and other spaces that, because of their intended use, will not require accessibility to the public or beneficiaries or result in the employment or residence therein of persons with physical handicaps.


(3) This section does not require recipients to make building alterations that have little likelihood of being accomplished without removing or altering a load-bearing structural member.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 55 FR 52138, 52141, Dec. 19, 1990]


Elementary, Secondary, and Adult Education

§ 18.431 Application.

Sections 18.431 through 18.439 apply to elementary, secondary, and adult education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs and to recipients that operate or receive Federal financial assistance for the operation of such programs or activities.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.432 Location and notification.

A recipient that operates a public elementary or secondary educational program shall annually:


(a) Undertake to identify and locate every qualified handicapped person residing in the recipient’s jurisdiction who is not receiving a public education; and


(b) Take appropriate steps to notify handicapped persons their parents or guardians of the recipients’s duty under §§ 18.431 through 18.439.


§ 18.433 Free appropriate public education.

(a) General. A recipient that operates a public elementary or secondary education program shall provide a free appropriate public education to each qualified handicapped person who is in the recipient’s jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the person’s handicap.


(b) Appropriate education. (1) The provision of an appropriate education is the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services that:


(i) Are designed to meet individual educational needs of handicapped persons as adequately as the needs of nonhandicapped persons are met; and


(ii) Are based upon adherence to procedures that satisfy the requirements of §§ 18.434, 18.435, and 18.436.


(2) Implementation of an Individualized Education Program developed in accordance with the Education of the Handicapped Act is one means of meeting the standard established in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section.


(3) A recipient may place a qualified handicapped person or refer that person for aid, benefits, or services other than those that it operates or provides as its means of carrying out the requirements of §§ 18.431 through 18.439. The recipients remain responsible for ensuring that the requirements of §§ 18.431 through 18.439 are met with respect to any qualified handicapped person so placed or referred.


(c) Free education. (1) The provision of a free education is the provision of educational and related services without cost to the handicapped person, parents or guardian, except for those fees that are imposed on nonhandicapped persons or their parents or guardian. It may consist either of the provision of free services or, if a recipient places a handicapped person or refers that person for aid, benefits, or services not operated or provided by the recipient as its means of carrying out the requirements of §§ 18.431 through 18.439, of payment for the costs of the aid, benefits, or services. Funds available from any public or private agency may be used to meet the requirements of this subpart. Nothing in this section shall be construed to relieve an insurer or similar third party from an otherwise valid obligation to provide or pay for services provided to a handicapped person.


(2) If a recipient places a handicapped person or refers that person for aid, benefits, or services not operated or provided by the recipient as its means of carrying out the requirements of this subpart, the recipient shall ensure that adequate transportation to and from the aid, benefits, or services is provided at no greater cost than would be incurred by the person, parents or guardian if the person were placed in the aid, benefits, or services operated by the recipient.


(3) If placement in a public or private residential program is necessary to provide free appropriate public education to a handicapped person because of his or her handicap, the program, including non-medical care and room and board, shall be provided at no cost to the person, parents or guardian.


(4) If a recipient has made available, in conformance with this section and § 18.434, a free appropriate public education to a handicapped person and the person’s parents or guardian chooses to place the person in a private school, the recipient is not required to pay for the person’s education in the private school. Disagreements between a parent or guardian and a recipient regarding whether the recipient has made a free appropriate public education available or regarding the question of financial responsibility are subject to the due process procedures of § 18.436.


(d) Compliance. A recipient may not exclude any qualified handicapped person from a public elementary or secondary education after the effective date of this part. A recipient that is not, on the effective date of this part, in full compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section shall meet those requirements at the earliest practicable time, but not later than October 1, 1981.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 51 FR 10385, Mar. 26, 1986; 51 FR 12702, Apr. 15, 1986; 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.434 Education setting.

(a) Academic setting. A recipient shall educate, or shall provide for the education of, each qualified handicapped person in its jurisdiction with persons who are not handicapped to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the handicapped person. A recipient shall place a handicapped person in the regular educational environment operated by the recipient unless it is demonstrated by the recipient that the education of the person in the regular environment with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. In deciding whether to place a person in a setting other than the regular educational environment, a recipient shall consider the proximity of the alternate setting to the person’s home.


(b) Nonacademic settings. In providing or arranging for the provision of nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities, a recipient shall ensure that handicapped persons participate with nonhandicapped persons in those activities and services to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the handicapped person in question.


(c) Comparable facilities. If a recipient in compliance with paragraph (a) of this section operates a facility that is identifiable as being for handicapped persons, the recipient shall ensure that the facility and the services and activities provided in that facility are comparable to the other facilities, services, and activities of the recipient.


§ 18.435 Evaluation and placement.

(a) Preplacement evaluation. A recipient that operates a public elementary or secondary education program or activity shall conduct an evaluation of any qualified person who, because of handicap, needs or is believed to need special education or related services before taking any action concerning the initial placement of the person in regular or program special education and any subsequent change in placement.


(b) Evaluation procedures. Elementary, secondary, and adult education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance shall establish standards and procedures for the evaluation and placement of persons who, because of handicap, need or are believed to need special education or related services which ensure that:


(1) Tests and other evaluation materials have been validated for the specific purpose for which they are used and are administered by trained personnel in conformance with the instructions provided by their producer;


(2) Tests and other evaluation materials include those tailored to assess specific areas of educational need and not merely those which are designed to provide a single general intelligence quotient; and


(3) Tests are selected and administered to best ensure that, when a test is administered to a student with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect the student’s aptitude or achievement level or whatever other factor the test purports to measure, rather than reflect the student’s impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (except where those skills are the factors that the test purports to measure.)


(c) Placement procedures. In interpreting evaluation data and in making placement decisions, a recipient shall:


(1) Draw upon information from a variety of sources, including aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social or cultural background and adaptive behavior;


(2) Establish procedures to ensure that information obtained from all sources is documented and carefully considered;


(3) Ensure that the placement decision is made by a group of persons, including persons knowledgeable about the student, the meaning of the evaluation data and the placement options; and


(4) Ensure that the placement decision is made in accordance with § 18.434.


(d) Reevaluation. A recipient to which this section applies shall establish procedures, in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section, for periodic reevaluation of students who have been provided special education and related services. A reevaluation procedure consistent with the Education for the Handicapped Act is one means of meeting this requirement.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.436 Procedural safeguards.

(a) A recipient that operates a public elementary or secondary education program shall implement a system of procedural safeguards with respect to actions regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of persons who, because of handicap, need or are believed to need special instruction or related services. The system shall include:


(1) Notice;


(2) An opportunity for the parents or guardian of the person to examine relevant records;


(3) An impartial hearing with opportunity for participation by the person’s parents or guardian and representation by counsel; and


(4) Review procedure.


(b) Compliance with the procedural safeguards of section 615 of the Education of the Handicapped Act is one means of meeting this requirement.


§ 18.437 Nonacademic services.

(a) General. (1) Elementary, secondary, and adult education programs that receive Federal financial assistance shall provide nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities in a manner which gives handicapped students an equal opportunity for participation in these services and activities.


(2) Nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities may include counseling services, physical recreational athletics, transportation, health services, recreational activities, special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the recipient, referrals to agencies which provide assistance to handicapped persons, and employment of students, including both employment by the recipient and assistance in making available outside employment.


(b) Counseling services. Elementary, secondary, and adult education programs that receive Federal financial assistance and that provide personal, academic, or vocational counseling, guidance, or placement services to their students shall provide these services without discrimination on the basis of handicap and shall ensure that qualified handicapped students are not counseled toward more restrictive career objectives than are nonhandicapped students with similar interests and abilities.


(c) Physical education and athletics. (1) In providing physical education courses and athletics and similar aid, benefits, or services to any of its students, an elementary, secondary, or adult education program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance may not discriminate on the basis of handicap. A recipient that offers physical education courses or that operates or sponsors interscholastic, club, or intramural activities shall provide to qualified handicapped students an equal opportunity for participation.


(2) A recipient may offer to handicapped students physical education and athletic activities that are separate or different from those offered to nonhandicapped students only if separation or differentiation is consistent with the requirements of § 18.434 and only if no qualified handicapped student is denied the opportunity to compete for teams or to participate in courses that are not separate or different.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.438 Adult education.

A recipient that provides adult education may not, on the basis of handicap, exclude qualified handicapped persons. The recipient shall take into account the needs of these persons in determining the aid, benefits, or services to be provided.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.439 Private education.

(a) A recipient that provides private elementary or secondary education may not on the basis of handicap, exclude a qualified handicapped person if the person can, with minor adjustments, be provided an appropriate education, as defined in § 18.433(b)(1), within that recipient’s program or activity.


(b) A recipient may not charge more for providing an appropriate education to handicapped persons than to nonhandicapped persons except to the extent that any additional charge is justified by a substantial increase in cost to the recipient.


(c) A recipient to which this section applies that provides special education shall do so in accordance with §§ 18.435 and 18.436. Each recipient to which this section applies is subject to §§ 18.434, 18.437, and 18.438.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


Postsecondary Education

§ 18.441 Application.

Sections 18.441 through 18.447 apply to postsecondary education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs and to recipients that operate or receive or benefit from Federal financial assistance for the operation of such programs or activities.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.442 Admissions and recruitment.

(a) General. Qualified handicapped persons may not, on the basis of handicap, be denied admission or be subjected to discrimination in admission or recruitment by a recipient.


(b) Admission. In administering its admission policies, a recipient;


(1) May not apply limitations on the number or proportion of handicapped persons who may be admitted;


(2) May not use any test or criterion for admission that has a disproportionate, adverse effect on handicapped persons or any class of handicapped persons unless:


(i) The test or criterion, as used by the recipient, has been validated as a predictor of success in the education program or activity in question; and


(ii) Alternate tests or criteria that have a less disproportionate, adverse effect are not shown by the Secretary to be available;


(3) Shall assure itself that:


(i) Admissions tests are selected and administered to best ensure that, when a test is administered to an applicant who has a handicap that impairs sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect the applicant’s aptitude or achievement level or whatever other factors the test purports to measure, rather than reflect the applicant’s impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (except where those skills are the factors that the test purports to measure);


(ii) Admissions tests that are designed for persons with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills are offered as often and in as timely a manner as are other admissions tests; and


(iii) Admissions tests are administered in facilities that, on the whole, are accessible to handicapped persons; and


(4) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, may not make preadmission inquiries as to whether an applicant for admission is a handicapped person. After admission, the recipient may inquire on a confidential basis as to handicaps that may require accommodation.


(c) Preadmission inquiry exception. When a recipient is taking remedial action to correct the effects of past discrimination under § 18.406(a) or when a recipient is taking voluntary action to overcome the effects of conditions that resulted in limited participation in its federally assisted program or activity under § 18.406(b), the recipient may invite applicants for admission to indicate whether and to what extent they are handicapped.


(1) The recipient shall state clearly on any written questionnaire used for this purpose or make clear orally if no written questionnaire is used that the information requested is intended for use solely in connection with its remedial action obligations or its voluntary action efforts; and


(2) The recipient shall state clearly that the information is being requested on a voluntary basis, that it will be kept confidential, that refusal to provide it will not subject the applicant to any adverse treatment, and that it will be used only in accordance with this part.


(d) Validity studies. For the purpose of paragraph (b)(2) of this section, a recipient may base prediction equations on first year grades, but shall conduct periodic validity studies against the criterion of overall success in the education program or activity in question to monitor the general validity of the test scores.


§ 18.443 General treatment of students.

(a) No qualified handicapped student shall, on the basis of handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any academic, research, occupational training, housing, health insurance, counseling, financial aid, physical education, athletics, recreation, transportation, other extracurricular, or other aid, benefits, or services operated by a recipient to which this subpart applies.


(b) A recipient that considers participation by students in education programs or activities not operated wholly by the recipient as part of, or equivalent to, an education program or activity operated by the recipient shall assure itself that the other education program or activity, as a whole, provides an equal opportunity for the participation of qualified handicapped persons.


(c) A recipient to which this subpart applies may not, on the basis of handicap, exclude any qualified handicapped student from any course, course of study, or other part of its education program or activity.


(d) A recipient shall operate its program or activity in the most integrated setting appropriate.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.444 Academic adjustments.

(a) Academic requirements. A recipient shall make necessary modifications to its academic requirements to ensure that these requirements do not discriminate or have the effect of discriminating, on the basis of handicap, against a qualified handicapped applicant or student. Modifications may include changes in the length of time permitted for the completion of degree requirements, substitution of specific courses required for the completion of degree requirements, and adaptation of the manner in which specific courses are conducted. Academic requirements that the recipient can demonstrate are essential to the instruction being pursued by the student or to any directly related licensing requirement will not be regarded as discriminatory within the meaning of this section.


(b) Other rules. A recipient may not impose upon handicapped students other rules, such as the prohibition of tape recorders in classrooms or guide dogs in campus buildings, that have the effect of limiting the participation of handicapped students in the recipient’s education program or activity.


(c) Course examinations. In its course examinations or other procedures for evaluating students’ academic achievement, a recipient shall provide methods for evaluating the achievement of students who have a handicap that impairs sensory, manual, or speaking skills that will best ensure that the results of the evaluation represent the students’ achievement in the course, rather than reflect the students’ impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (except where such skills are the factors that the test purports to measure).


(d) Auxiliary aids. (1) A recipient shall ensure that no qualified handicapped student is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination because of the absence of educational auxiliary aids for students with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills.


(2) Auxiliary aids may include taped texts, interpreters or other effective methods of making orally delivered materials available to students with hearing impairments, readers in libraries for students with visual impairments, classroom equipment adapted for use by students with manual impairments, and other similar services and actions. Recipients need not provide attendants, individually prescribed devices, readers for personal use or study, or other devices or services of a personal nature.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.445 Housing.

(a) Housing provided by a recipient. A recipient that provides housing to its nonhandicapped students shall provide comparable, convenient, and accessible housing to qualified handicapped students at the same cost as to others. At the end of the transition period provided for in § 18.422(e), this housing shall be available in sufficient quantity and variety so that the scope of handicapped students’ choice of living accommodations is, as a whole, comparable to that of nonhandicapped students.


(b) Other housing. A recipient that assists any agency, organization, or person in making housing available to any of its students shall assure itself that such housing is, as a whole, made available in a manner that does not result in discrimination on the basis of handicap.


§ 18.446 Financial and employment assistance to students.

(a) Provision of financial assistance. (1) In providing financial assistance to qualified handicapped persons, a recipient may not:


(i) On the basis of handicap, provide less assistance than is provided to nonhandicapped persons, limit eligibility for assistance, or otherwise discriminate; or


(ii) Assist any entity or person that provides assistance to any of the recipient’s students in a manner that discriminates against qualified handicapped persons on the basis of handicap.


(2) A recipient may administer or assist in the administration of scholarships, fellowships, or other forms of financial assistance established under wills, trusts, bequests, or similar legal instruments that require awards to be made on the basis of factors that discriminate or have the effect of discriminating on the basis of handicap only if the overall effect of the award of scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial assistance is not discriminatory on the basis of handicap.


(b) Assistance in making available outside employment. A recipient that assists any agency, organization, or person in providing employment opportunities to any of its students shall assure itself that these employment opportunities, as a whole, are made available in a manner that would not violate §§ 18.411 through 18.414 if the opportunities were provided by the recipient.


(c) Employment of students by recipients. A recipient that employs any of its students may not do so in a manner that violates §§ 18.411 through 18.414.


§ 18.447 Nonacademic services.

(a) Physical education and athletics. (1) In providing physical education courses and athletics and similar aid, benefits, or services to any of its students, a recipient may not discriminate on the basis of handicap. A recipient that offers physical education courses or that operates or sponsors intercollegiate, club or intramural athletics shall provide to qualified handicapped students an equal opportunity for participation in these activities.


(2) A recipient may offer to handicapped students physical education and athletic activities that are separate or different only if separation or differentiation is consistent with the requirements of § 18.443(d) and only if no qualified handicapped student is denied the opportunity to compete for teams or to participate in courses that are not separate or different.


(b) Counseling and placement services. A recipient that provides personal, academic, or vocational counseling, guidance, or placement services to its students shall provide these services without discrimination on the basis of handicap. The recipient shall ensure that qualified handicapped students are not counseled toward more restrictive career objectives than are nonhandicapped students with similar interests and abilities. This requirement does not preclude a recipient from providing factual information about licensing and certification requirements that may present obstacles to handicapped persons in their pursuit of particular careers.


(c) Social organizations. A recipient that provides significant assistance to fraternities, sororities, or similar organizations shall assure itself that the membership practices of these organizations do not permit discrimination otherwise prohibited by §§ 18.441 through 18.447.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


Health and Social Services

§ 18.451 Application.

Subpart F applies to health, and other social service programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs and to recipients that operate or receive Federal financial assistance for the operation of such programs or activities.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.452 Health and other social services.

(a) General. In providing health, or other social services or benefits, a recipient may not, on the basis of handicap:


(1) Deny a qualified handicapped person these benefits or services;


(2) Give a qualified handicapped person the opportunity to receive benefits or services that are not equal to those offered nonhandicapped persons.


(3) Provide a qualified handicapped person with benefits or services that are not as effective (as defined in § 18.404(b)(2)) as the benefits or services provided to others;


(4) Provide benefits or services in a manner that limits or has the effect of limiting the participation of qualified handicapped persons; or


(5) Provide different or separate benefits or services to handicapped persons except where necessary to provide qualified handicapped persons with benefits and services that are as effective as those provided to others.


(b) Notice. A recipient that provides notice concerning benefits or services or written material concerning waivers of rights of consent to treatment shall ensure that qualified handicapped persons, including those with impaired sensory or speaking skills, are not denied effective notice because of their handicap.


(c) Emergency treatment for the hearing impaired. A recipient hospital that provides health services or benefits shall establish a procedure for effective communication with persons with impaired hearing for the purpose of providing emergency care.


(d) Auxiliary aids. (1) A recipient that employs fifteen or more persons shall provide appropriate auxiliary aids to persons with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, where necessary to give these persons an equal opportunity to benefit from the service in question.


(2) The Secretary may require recipients with fewer than fifteen employees to provide auxiliary aids where the provision of aids would not significantly impair the ability of the recipient to provide its benefits or services.


(3) Auxiliary aids may include brailled and taped material, interpreters, and aids for persons with impaired hearing or vision.


§ 18.453 Drug and alcohol addicts.

A recipient that operates a general hospital or outpatient facility may not discriminate, with regard to a drug or alcohol abuser or alcoholic who is suffering from a medical condition, in the admission of that person for treatment of the medical condition, or in the treatment of the medical condition because of the person’s drug or alcohol abuse or alcoholism.


§ 18.454 Education of institutionalized persons.

A recipient that operates or supervises a program or activity that provides aid, benefits, or services for persons who are institutionalized because of handicap and is responsible for providing training shall ensure that each qualified handicapped person, as defined in § 18.403(k)(2), in its program or activity that provides aid, benefits, or services is provided an appropriate education, as defined in § 18.433(b). Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as altering in any way the obligations of recipients under §§ 18.431 through 18.439.


[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980; 51 FR 12702, Apr. 15, 1986; 68 FR 51370, Aug. 26, 2003]


Procedures

§ 18.461 Procedures.

The procedural provisions applicable to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to this part. These procedures are found in §§ 18.6 through 18.11 and part 18b of this chapter.


Appendix A to Subpart D of Part 18 – Statutory Provisions to Which This Part Applies

1. Payments to State Homes (38 U.S.C. 1741-1743).

2. State home facilities for furnishing domiciliary, nursing home, and hospital care (38 U.S.C. 8131-8137).

3. Transfers for nursing home care; adult day health care (38 U.S.C. 1720).

4. Sharing of medical facilities, equipment, and information (38 U.S.C. 8151-8157).

5. Assistance in establishing new state medical schools, grants to affiliated medical schools; assistance to health manpower training institutions (38 U.S.C. Chapter 82).

6. Approval of educational institutions (38 U.S.C. 104).

7. Medical care for survivors and dependents of certain veterans (38 U.S.C. 1713).

8. Space and office facilities for representatives of State employment service (38 U.S.C. 7725(4)).

9. Space and office facilities for representatives of recognized national service organizations (38 U.S.C. 5902(a)(2)).

10. All-volunteer force educational assistance, Veteran Readiness and Employment post-Vietnam era veterans educational assistance; veterans educational assistance, survivors’ and dependents’ educational assistance, and administration of educational benefits (38 U.S.C. Chapters 30, 31, 32, 34, 35 and 36 respectively).

11. Treatment and rehabilitation for alcohol or drug dependence or abuse disabilities (38 U.S.C. 1720A).

12. Aid to States for establishment, expansion, and improvement of veterans cemeteries (38 U.S.C. 2408).

13. Department of Veterans Affairs health professional scholarship program (38 U.S.C. 7601-7655).

14. Emergency veterans job training (Pub. L. 98-77, 97 Stat. 443-452).

[45 FR 63268, Sept. 24, 1980, as amended at 51 FR 10385, Mar. 26, 1986; 51 FR 12702, Apr. 15, 1986; 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


Subpart E – Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Age


Authority:Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6101, et seq.; 45 CFR part 90 (1979).


Source:50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, unless otherwise noted.

General

§ 18.501 Purpose.

The purpose of these regulations is to set out Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) policies and procedures under the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and the governmentwide age discrimination regulations at 45 CFR part 90. The Act and the governmentwide regulations prohibit discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance. The Act and the governmentwide regulations permit federally assisted programs or activities, and recipients of Federal funds, to continue to use age distinctions and factors other than age which meet the requirements of the Act and its implementing regulations.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

[50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, as amended at 54 FR 34984, Aug. 23, 1989; 68 FR 51372, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.502 Application.

(a) These regulations apply to any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance provided by VA directly or through another recipient.


(b) These regulations do not apply to:


(1) An age distinction contained in that part of a Federal, State, or local statute or ordinance adopted by an elected, general purpose legislative body which:


(i) Provides any benefits or assistance to persons based on age; or


(ii) Establishes criteria for participation in age-related terms; or


(iii) Describes intended beneficiaries or target groups in age-related terms.


(2) Any employment practice of any employer, employment agency, labor organization, or any labor-management joint apprenticeship training program, except any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance for public service employment under the Job Training Partnership Act, 29 U.S.C. 1501, et seq.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.503 Definitions.

As used in these regulations:


(a) Act means the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended (Title III of Pub. L. 94-135, 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107).


(b) Action means any act, activity, policy, rule, standard, or method of administration; or the use of any policy, rule, standard, or method of administration.


(c) Secretary means the Secretary of Veterans Affairs or designees.


(d) Age means how old a person is, or the number of elapsed years from the date of a person’s birth.


(e) Age discrimination means unlawful treatment based on age.


(f) Age distinction means any action using age or an age-related term.


(g) Age-related term means a word or words which necessarily imply a particular age or range of ages (for example, children, adult, older persons, but not student).


(h) Day means calendar day.


(i) Federal financial assistance means any grant, entitlement, loan, cooperative agreement, contract (other than a procurement contract or a contract of insurance or guaranty), or any other arrangement by which a Federal agency or department provides or otherwise makes available assistance in the form of:


(1) Funds; or


(2) Services of Federal personnel; or


(3) Real and personal property or any interest in or use of property, including:


(i) Transfers or leases of property for less than fair market value or for reduced consideration; and


(ii) Proceeds from a subsequent transfer or lease of property if the Federal share of its market value is not returned to the Federal Government.


(j) Program or activity means all of the operations of any entity described in paragraphs (j)(1) through (4) of this section, any part of which is extended Federal financial assistance:


(1)(i) A department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a State or of a local government; or


(ii) The entity of such State or local government that distributes such assistance and each such department or agency (and each other State or local government entity) to which the assistance is extended, in the case of assistance to a State or local government;


(2)(i) A college, university, or other postsecondary institution, or a public system of higher education; or


(ii) A local educational agency (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 7801), system of vocational education, or other school system;


(3)(i) An entire corporation, partnership, or other private organization, or an entire sole proprietorship –


(A) If assistance is extended to such corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship as a whole; or


(B) Which is principally engaged in the business of providing education, health care, housing, social services, or parks and recreation; or


(ii) The entire plant or other comparable, geographically separate facility to which Federal financial assistance is extended, in the case of any other corporation, partnership, private organization, or sole proprietorship; or


(4) Any other entity that is established by two or more of the entities described in paragraph (j)(1), (2), or (3) of this section.


(k) Recipient means any State or its political subdivision, any instrumentality of a State or its political subdivision, any public or private agency, institution, organization, or other entity, or any person to which Federal financial assistance is extended, directly or through another recipient. Recipient includes any successor, assignee, or transferee, but excludes the ultimate beneficiary of the assistance.


(l) Subrecipient means any of the entities in the definition of recipient to which a recipient extends or passes on Federal financial assistance. A subrecipient is generally regarded as a recipient of Federal financial assistance and has all the duties of a recipient in these regulations.


(m) United States means the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Canal Zone, the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, the Northern Marianas, and the territories and possessions of the United States.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

[50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, as amended at 68 FR 51371, Aug. 26, 2003]


Standards for Determining Age Discrimination

§ 18.511 Rules against age discrimination.

The rules in this section are limited by the exceptions contained in §§ 18.513 and 18.514 of these regulations.


(a) General rule. No person in the United States shall, on the basis of age, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.


(b) Specific rules. A recipient may not, in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance, directly or through contractual licensing, or other arrangements, use age distinctions or take any other actions which have the effect, on the basis of age, of:


(1) Excluding individuals from, denying them the benefits of, or subjecting them to discrimination under, a program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance; or


(2) Denying or limiting individuals in their opportunity to participate in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.


(c) The specific forms of age discrimination listed in paragraph (b) of this section do not necessarily constitute a complete list.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.512 Definitions of “normal operation” and “statutory objective.”

For the purpose of these regulations, the terms normal operation and statutory objective shall have the following meaning:


(a) Normal operation means the operation of a program or activity without significant changes that would impair its ability to meet its objectives.


(b) Statutory objective means any purpose of a program or activity expressly stated in any Federal statute, State statute, or local statute or ordinance adopted by an elected, general purpose legislative body.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.513 Exceptions to the rules against age discrimination; normal operation or statutory objective of any program or activity.

A recipient is permitted to take an action, otherwise prohibited by § 18.511, if the action reasonably takes into account age as a factor necessary to the normal operation or the achievement of any statutory objective of a program or activity. An action reasonably takes into account age as a factor necessary to the normal operation or the achievement of any statutory objective of a program or activity, if:


(a) Age is used as a measure or approximation of one or more other characteristics; and


(b) The other characteristic(s) must be measured or approximated in order for the normal operation of the program or activity to continue, or to achieve any statutory objective of the program or activity; and


(c) The other characteristic(s) can be reasonably measured or approximated by the use of age; and


(d) The other characteristic(s) are impractical to measure directly on an individual basis.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.514 Exceptions to the rules against age discrimination; reasonable factors other than age.

A recipient is permitted to take an action otherwise prohibited by § 18.511 which is based on a factor other than age, even though that action may have a disproportionate effect on persons of different ages. An action may be based on a factor other than age only if the factor bears a direct and substantial relationship to the normal operation of the program or activity or to the achievement of a statutory objective.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.515 Burden of proof.

The burden of proving that an age distinction or other action falls within the exceptions outlined in §§ 18.513 and 18.514 is on the recipient of Federal financial assistance.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.516 Affirmative action by recipients.

Even in the absence of a finding of discrimination, a recipient may take affirmative action to overcome the effects of conditions that resulted in limited participation in the recipient’s program or activity on the basis of age.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


Responsibilities of Department of Veterans Affairs Recipients

§ 18.531 General responsibilities.

Each VA recipient must ensure that its programs or activities are in compliance with the Act and these regulations.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

[50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, as amended at 68 FR 51372, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.532 Notice of subrecipients.

Where a recipient passes on Federal financial assistance from VA to programs or activities of subrecipients, the recipient shall provide the subrecipients written notice of their obligations under the Act and these regulations with respect to such programs and activities.


(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0400)

(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

[50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, as amended at 68 FR 51372, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.533 Assurance of compliance and recipient assessment of age distinctions.

(a) Each recipient of Federal financial assistance from VA shall sign a written assurance as specified by the Secretary that it will comply with the Act and these regulations.


(b) Recipient assessment of age distinctions. (1) As part of a compliance review under § 18.541 or complaint investigation under § 18.544, the Secretary may require a recipient employing the equivalent of 15 of more employees to complete a written self-evaluation, in a manner specified by the responsible agency official, of any age distinction imposed in its programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance from VA to assess the recipient’s compliance with the Act.


(2) Whenever an assessment indicates a violation of the Act or these regulations, the recipient shall take corrective action.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.534 Information requirements.

Each recipient shall:


(a) Make available upon request to VA information necessary to determine whether the recipient is complying with the Act and these regulations.


(b) Permit reasonable access by VA to the books, records, accounts, and other recipient facilities and sources of information to the extent necessary to determine whether the recipient is in compliance with the Act and these regulations.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


Investigation, Conciliation, and Enforcement Procedures

§ 18.541 Compliance reviews.

(a) VA may conduct compliance reviews and preaward reviews of recipients or use other similar procedures that will permit it to investigate and correct violations of the Act and these regulations. VA may conduct these reviews even in the absence of a complaint against a recipient. The review may be as comprehensive as necessary to determine whether a violation of these regulations has occurred.


(b) If a compliance review or preaward review indicates a violation of the Act or these regulations, VA will attempt to achieve voluntary compliance with the Act. If voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, VA may institute enforcement proceedings as described in § 18.546.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.542 Complaints.

(a) Any person, individually or as a member of a class or on behalf of others, may file a complaint with VA alleging discrimination prohibited by the Act or these regulations based on an action occurring on or after July 1, 1979. A complainant shall file a complaint within 180 days from the date the complainant first had knowledge of the alleged act of discrimination. However, for good cause shown, VA may extend this time limit. Complaints may be submitted to the Director, Office of Equal Opportunity (06B), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420.


(b) VA will attempt to facilitate the filing of complaints wherever possible, including taking the following measures:


(1) Acknowledging receipt and acceptance of a complaint in writing.


(2) Accepting as a sufficient complaint, any written statement which identifies the parties involved and the date the complainant first had knowledge of the alleged violation, describes generally the action or practice complained of, and is signed by the complainant.


(3) Freely permitting a complainant to add information to the complaint to meet the requirements of a sufficient complaint.


(4) Widely disseminating information regarding the obligations of recipients under the Act and these regulations.


(5) Notifying the complainant and the recipient of their rights and obligations under the complaint procedure, including the right to have a representative at all stages of the complaint procedure.


(6) Notifying the complainant and the recipient (or their representatives) of their right to contact VA for information and assistance regarding the complaint resolution process.


(c) VA will refer a complaint of discrimination based on age to another appropriate Federal agency when the complaint is outside the jurisdiction of VA. VA will notify the complainant in writing that the complaint has been referred; explain the reason why the complaint is not within the jurisdiction of VA; and give the complainant the name, agency, and address of the official to whom the complaint was referred.


(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0401)

(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.543 Mediation.

(a) Referral of complaints for mediation. VA will refer to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service all complaints that:


(1) Fall within the jurisdiction of the Act and these regulations; and


(2) Contain all information necessary for further processing.


(b) Both the complainant and the recipient shall participate in the mediation process to the extent necessary to reach an agreement or make an informed judgment that an agreement is not possible. However, the recipient and the complainant need not meet with the mediator at the same time.


(c) If the complainant and the recipient reach an agreement, the mediator shall prepare a written statement of the agreement and have the complainant and the recipient sign it. The mediator shall send a copy of the agreement to VA. VA will take no further action on the complaint unless the complainant or the recipient fails to comply with the agreement.


(d) The mediator shall protect the confidentiality of all information obtained in the course of the mediation process. No mediator shall testify in any adjunctive proceeding, produce any document, or otherwise disclose any information obtained in the course of the mediation process without prior approval of the head of the mediation agency.


(e) VA will use the mediation process for a maximum of 60 days after the responsible agency official receives a complaint.


(f) Mediation ends if:


(1) 60 days elapse from the time the responsible agency official receives the complaint; or


(2) Prior to the end of that 60-day period, an agreement is reached; or


(3) Prior to the end of that 60-day period, the mediator determines that an agreement cannot be reached.


(g) The mediator shall return unresolved complaints to VA.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.544 Investigation.

(a) Informal investigation. (1) VA will investigate complaints that are reopened because of a violation of a mediation agreement.


(2) As part of the initial investigation VA will use informal fact finding methods, including joint or separate discussions with the complainant and recipient to establish the facts and, if possible, settle the complaint on terms that are mutually agreeable to the parties. VA may seek the assistance of any involved State agency.


(3) VA will put any agreement in writing and have it signed by the parties and an authorized official from the VA.


(4) The settlement shall not affect the operation of any other enforcement effort of VA, including compliance reviews and investigation of other complaints which may involve the recipient.


(5) A settlement need not contain an admission of discrimination or other wrongdoing by the recipient nor should it be considered a finding of discrimination against the recipient.


(b) Formal investigation. If VA cannot resolve the complaint through informal investigation, it will begin to develop formal findings through further investigation of the complaint. If the investigation indicates a violation of these regulations, VA will attempt to obtain voluntary compliance. If voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, VA may institute enforcement proceedings as described in § 18.546.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

[50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, as amended at 68 FR 51372, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.545 Prohibition against intimidation or retaliation.

A recipient may not engage in acts of intimidation or retaliation against any person who:


(a) Attempts to assert a right protected by the Act or these regulations; or


(b) Cooperates in any mediation, investigation, hearing, or other part of VA’s investigation, conciliation, and enforcement process.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


§ 18.546 Compliance procedure.

(a) VA may enforce the Act and these regulations through:


(1) Termination of Federal financial assistance from VA with respect to a recipient’s program or activity that has violated the Act or these regulations. The determination of the recipient’s violation may be made only after a recipient has had an opportunity for a hearing on the record before an administrative law judge. Therefore, cases which are settled in mediation, or prior to a hearing, will not involve termination of a recipient’s Federal financial assistance from VA.


(2) Any other means authorized by law including but not limited to:


(i) Referral to the Department of Justice for proceedings to enforce any rights of the United States or obligations of the recipient created by the Act or these regulations.


(ii) Use of any requirement of or referral to any Federal, State, or local government agency that will have the effect of correcting a violation of the Act or these regulations.


(b) VA will limit any termination under paragraph (a)(1) of this section to the particular program or activity or part of such program or activity of a recipient that VA finds to be in violation of the Act or these regulations. VA will not base any part of a termination on a finding with respect to any program or activity of the recipient which does not receive Federal financial assistance from VA.


(c) VA will take no action under paragraph (a) of this section until:


(1) The Secretary has advised the recipient of its failure to comply with the Act and these regulations and has determined that voluntary compliance cannot be obtained.


(2) Thirty days have elapsed after the Secretary has sent a written report of the circumstances and grounds of the action to the committees of the Congress having legislative jurisdiction over the program or activity involved. The Secretary will file a report whenever any action is taken under paragraph (a) of this section.


(d) VA also may defer granting new Federal financial assistance from VA to a recipient when a hearing under paragraph (a)(1) of this section is initiated.


(1) New Federal financial assistance from VA includes all assistance for which VA requires an application or approval, including renewal or continuation of existing activities, or authorization of new activities during the deferral period. New Federal financial assistance from VA does not include increases in funding resulting solely from a change in the formula or method of computing awards, nor does it include assistance approved prior to the beginning of a hearing under paragraph (a)(1) of this section.


(2) VA will not begin a deferral until the recipient has received a notice of an opportunity for a hearing under paragraph (a)(1) of this section. VA will not continue a deferral for more than 60 days unless a hearing has begun within that time or the time for beginning the hearing has been extended by mutual consent of the recipient and the Secretary. VA will not continue a deferral for more than 30 days after the close of the hearing, unless the hearing results in a finding against the recipient.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)

[50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, as amended at 68 FR 51372, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.547 Hearings, decisions, post-termination proceedings.

Certain VA procedural provisions applicable to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 apply to VA enforcement of these regulations. They are found at §§ 18.9 through 18.11 and part 18b of this title.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-1607)


§ 18.548 Remedial action by recipient.

Where VA finds that a recipient has discriminated on the basis of age, the recipient shall take any remedial action that VA may require to overcome the effects of the discrimination. If another recipient exercises control over the recipient that has discriminated, VA may require both recipients to take remedial action.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-1607)


§ 18.549 Alternate funds disbursal procedure.

(a) When VA withholds funds from a recipient under these regulations, the Secretary may disburse the withheld funds directly to an alternate recipient: Any public or non-profit private organization or agency, or State or political subdivision of the State.


(b) The Secretary will require any alternate recipient to demonstrate;


(1) The ability to comply with these regulations; and


(2) The ability to achieve the goals of the Federal statute authorizing the Federal financial assistance.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-1607)

[50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, as amended at 68 FR 51372, Aug. 26, 2003]


§ 18.550 Exhaustion of administrative remedies.

(a) A complainant may file a civil action following the exhaustion of administrative remedies under the Act. Administrative remedies are exhausted if:


(1) 180 days have elapsed since the complainant filed the complaint and VA has made no finding with regard to the complaint; or


(2) VA issues any finding in favor of the recipient.


(b) If VA fails to make a finding within 180 days or issues a finding in favor of the recipient, VA will:


(1) Promptly advise the complainant of this fact; and


(2) Advise the complainant of his or her right to bring a civil action for injunctive relief; and


(3) Inform the complainant that:


(i) The complainant may bring a civil action only in a United States district court for the district in which the recipient is found or transacts business;


(ii) A complainant prevailing in a civil action has the right to be awarded the costs of the action, including reasonable attorney’s fees, but the complainant must demand these costs in the complaint;


(iii) Before commencing the action, the complainant shall give 30 days notice by registered mail to the Secretary, the Attorney General of the United States, and the recipient;


(iv) The notice must state: The alleged violation of the Act; the relief requested; the court in which the complainant is bringing the action; and, whether or not attorney’s fees are demanded in the event the complainant prevails; and


(v) The complainant may not bring action if the same alleged violations of the Act by the same recipient is the subject of a pending action in any court of the United States.


(Authority: 42 U.S.C. 6101-6107)


Appendix A to Subpart E of Part 18 – Statutory Provisions to Which This Subpart Applies

1. Approval of educational institutions (38 U.S.C. 104).


2. Space and office facilities for representatives of State employment services (38 U.S.C. 7725(1)).


3. Medical care for survivors and dependents of certain veterans (38 U.S.C. 1713).


4. Transfers for nursing home care; adult day health care (38 U.S.C. 1720).


5. Treatment and rehabilitation for alcohol or drug dependence or abuse disabilities (38 U.S.C. 1720A).


6. Payments to State Homes (38 U.S.C. 1741-1743).


7. Aid to States for establishment, expansion, and improvement of veterans’ cemeteries (38 U.S.C. 2408).


8. Veteran Readiness and Employment; Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance; Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance; and Administration of Educational Benefits (38 U.S.C. Chapters 31, 32, 34, 35 and 36 respectively).


9. Space and office facilities for representatives of recognized national organizations (38 U.S.C. 5902(a)(2)).


10. Department of Veterans Affairs Health Professional Scholarship Program (38 U.S.C. 7601-7655).


11. State Home Facilities for Furnishing Domiciliary, Nursing Home and Hospital Care (38 U.S.C. 8131-8137).


12. Sharing of Medical Facilities, Equipment and Information (38 U.S.C. 8151-8157).


13. Assistance in Establishing New State Medical Schools; Grants to Affiliated Medical Schools; Assistance to Health Manpower Training Institutions (38 U.S.C. Chapter 82).


14. Emergency Veterans’ Job Training (Pub. L. 98-77, 97 Stat. 443-452).


[50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, as amended at 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


Appendix B to Subpart E of Part 18 – List of Age Distinctions Contained in Statutes and Regulations Governing Federal Financial Assistance of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Section 90.31(f) of the governmentwide regulations (45 CFR part 90) requires each Federal agency to publish an appendix to its final regulations containing a list of age distinctions in Federal statutes and regulations affecting financial assistance administered by the agency. This appendix is VA’s list of age distinctions contained in Federal statutes and VA regulations which:


(1) Provide benefits or assistance to persons based upon age; or


(2) Establish criteria for participation in age-related terms; or


(3) Describe intended beneficiaries or target groups in age-related terms.


Appendix B deals only with VA’s programs of financial assistance covered by the Age Discrimination Act. It does not list age distinctions used by VA in its direct assistance programs, such as veterans’ compensation. Also, this appendix contains only age distinctions in Federal statutes and VA regulations in effect on January 1, 1985.


This appendix has two sections: A list of age distinctions in Federal statutes, and a list of age distinctions in VA regulations. The first column contains the name of the program; the second column has the statute name and U.S. Code citation for statutes, or the regulation name and Code of Federal Regulations citation for regulations; the third column contains the section number of the statute or regulation and the description of the age distinction; and the fourth column cites the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for the program(s) affected where it is available.


Age Distinctions in Statutes Governing Federal Financial Assistance Programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Program
Statute
Section and Age Distinction
CFDA
Veterans’ BenefitsSection 101 of the Veterans’ Benefits Act of 1957, as amended; 38 U.S.C. 101Section 101(4)(A) defines the term “child” for the purposes of Title 38, U.S.C. (except for chapter 19 and section 8502(b) of Title 38) as “a person who is unmarried and – (i) who is under the age of eighteen years; (ii) who, before attaining the age of eighteen years, became permanently incapable of self-support; or (iii) who, after attaining the age of eighteen years and until completion of education or training (but not after attaining the age of twenty-three years), is pursuing a course of instruction at an approved educational institution; and who is a legitimate child, a legally adopted child, a stepchild who is a member of a veteran’s household or was a member at the time of the veteran’s death, or an illegitimate child but, as to the alleged father, only if acknowledged in writing signed by him, or if he has been judicially ordered to contribute to the child’s support or has been, before his death, judicially decreed to be the father of such child, or if he is otherwise shown by evidence statisfactory to the Secretary to be the father or such child. . . .”
Section 101(4)(B) provides that for the purposes of section 101(4)(A) of Title 38, in the case of an adoption under the laws of any jurisdiction other than a State, a person residing outside any of the States shall not be considered a legally adopted child of a veteran during the lifetime of that veteran, unless, among other things, such a person was less than eighteen years of age at the time of the adoption
Approval of Educational InstitutionsSection 104 of the Veterans’ Benefits Act of 1957, as amended, 38 U.S.C. 104Section 104(a) authorizes the Secretary to approve or disapprove an educational institution for the purpose of determining whether or not benefits are payable under Title 38, U.S.C. (except chapter 15 of title 38) for a child over the age of eighteen years and under the age of twenty-three years who is attending a school, college, academy, seminary, technical institution, university, or other educational institution
Section 104(b) provides that the Secretary may not approve an educational institution under section 104 of Title 38, unless the institution has agreed to report the termination of attendance of any child. If the educational institution fails to report any such termination promptly, the approval of the Secretary shall be withdrawn
Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPA)Section 103(b) of the Veterans Health Care Expansion Act of 1973, as amended; 38 U.S.C. 1713Section 1713(a) authorizes the Secretary to provide medical care to: “(1) The spouse or child of a veteran who has a total disability, permanent in nature, resulting from a service-connected disability, (2) the surviving spouse or child of a veteran who (A) died as a result of a service-connected disability, or (B) at the time of death had a total disability permanent in nature, resulting from a service-connected disability, and (3) the surviving spouse or child of a person who died in the active military, naval, or air service in the line of duty and not due to such person’s own misconduct, who are not otherwise eligible for medical care under Chapter 55 of Title 10, U.S.C. (CHAMPUS)64.009
Section 1713(c) provides that for the purposes of this program, “a child between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three (1) who is eligible for benefits under subsection (a) of this section, (2) who is pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an educational institution, approved under Chapter 36 of this title, and (3) who while pursuing such course of instruction, incurs a disabling illness or injury . . . which results in such child’s inability to continue or resume such child’s chosen program of education . . . shall remain eligible for benefits under this section until the end of the six-month period beginning on the date the disability is removed, the end of the two-year period beginning on the date of the onset of the disability, or the twenty-third birthday of the child, whichever occurs first”
VA Hospital, Domiciliary or Nursing Home CareSection 510 of the Veterans’ Benefits Act of 1957, amended; 38 U.S.C. 1710Section 1710 authorizes the Secretary, within the limits of VA facilities, to furnish hospital care or nursing home care. Among the persons eligible for such care are veterans with a nonservice-connected disability if they are sixty-five years of age or older64.009

64.010

64.015

64.016
Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational AssistancePost Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Act of 1977, as amended; U.S.C. Chapter 32Section 3201 states that the purpose of Chapter 32 of Title 38, U.S.C. is: “(1) To provide educational assistance to those men and women who enter the Armed Forces after December 31, 1976, (2) to assist young men and women in obtaining an education they might not otherwise be able to afford, and (3) to promote and assist the all volunteer military program of the United States by attracting qualified men and women to serve in the Armed Forces”64.120
Veterans’ Educational AssistanceSection 2 of the Veterans’ Readjustment Benefits Act of 1966, amended; 38 U.S.C. Chapter 34Section 3451 states that the education program created by this chapter is for the purpose of: “ . . . (1) Enhancing and making more attractive service in the Armed Forces of the United States, (2) extending the benefits of higher education to qualified and deserving young persons who might not otherwise be able to afford such an education, (3) providing vocational readjustment and restoring lost educational opportunities to those service men and women whose careers have been interrupted or impeded by reason of active duty after January 31, 1955, and (4) aiding such persons in attaining the vocational and educational status which they might normally have aspired to and obtained had they not served their country”64.111
Section 3492(b) authorizes the Secretary to pay to an eligible veteran receiving tutorial assistance pursuant to section 3492(a) of this chapter, the cost of such tutorial assistance, subject to certain limits, upon certification by the educational institution that “ . . . (2) the tutor chosen to perform such assistance is qualified and is not the eligible veteran’s parent, spouse, child (whether or not married or over eighteen years of age), brother, or sister; and (3) the charges for such assistance do not exceed the customary charges for such tutorial assistance”
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational AssistanceWar Orphans’ Educational Assistance Act of 1956, as amended; 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35Section 3500 states that “the educational program established by this chapter is for the purpose of providing opportunities for education to children whose education would otherwise be impeded or interrupted by reason of the disability or death of a parent from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the Armed Forces after the beginning of the Spanish-American War, and for the purpose of aiding such children in attaining the educational status which they might have aspired to and attained but for the disability or death of such parent. The Congress further declares that the educational program extended to the surviving spouses of veterans who died of service-connected total disabilities and to spouses of veterans with a service-connected total disability permanent in nature is for the purpose of assisting them in preparing to support themselves and their families at a standard of living level which the veteran, but for the veteran’s death or service disability, could have expected to provide for the veteran’s family”64.117
Section 3501 defines the term “eligible person” as: “(A) a child of a person who – (i) died of a service-connected disability, (ii) has a total disability permanent in nature resulting from a service-connected disability, or who died while a disability so evaluated was in existence or (iii) at the time of application for benefits under this chapter is a member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty listed, pursuant to section 556 of Title 37 [U.S.C.] and regulations issued thereunder, by the Secretary concerned in one or more of the following categories . . . for a total of ninety days: (A) missing in action, (B) captured in line of duty by a hostile force, or (C) forcibly detained or interned in line of duty by a foreign government or power, . . .” Subparagraph (a)(2) of this section provides that the term “child” includes individuals who are married and individuals who are above the age of twenty-three years
Section 3512 establishes periods of eligibility. Provides that the educational program to which an eligible child within the meaning of this chapter is entitled to may be afforded, “. . . during the period beginning on the person’s eighteenth birthday, or on the successful completion of the person’s secondary schooling, whichever first occurs, and ending on the person’s twenty-sixth birthday, except that – (1) if the person is above the age of compulsory school attendance under applicable State law, and the Secretary determines that the person’s best interests will be served thereby, such period may begin before the person’s eighteenth birthday; (2) if the person has a mental or physical handicap, and . . . the person’s best interests will be served by pursuing a program of special restorative training or a specialized course of vocational training approved under section 3536 of this title, such period may begin before the person’s fourteenth birthday; (3) if the Secretary finds that the parent from whom eligibility is derived has a service-connected total disability permanent in nature, or if the death of the parent from whom eligibility is derived occurs, after the eligible person’s eighteenth birthday but before the person’s twenty-sixth birthday, then (unless paragraph (4) applies) such period shall end 8 years after, whichever date last occurs: (A) the date on which the Secretary first finds that the parent from whom eligibility is derived has a service-connected total disability permanent in nature, or (B) the date of death of the parent from whom eligibility is derived; (4) if the person serves on duty with the Armed Forces as an eligible person after the person’s eighteenth birthday but before the person’s twenty-sixth birthday, then such period shall end 8 years after the person’s first discharge or release from such duty with the Armed Forces . . . in no event shall such period be extended beyond the person’s thirty-first birthday by reason of this paragraph; and (5)(A) if the person becomes eligible by reason of the provisions of section 3501(a)(1)(A)(ii) of this title after the person’s eighteenth birthday but before the person’s twenty-sixth birthday, then (unless clause (4) of this section applies) such period shall end eight years after the date on which the person becomes eligible by reason of such provisions, but in no event shall such period be extended beyond the person’s thirty-first birthday by reason of this clause. . . .”
Section 3513 provides that the parent or guardian of a person or the eligible person (if such person has attained legal majority) for whom the educational assistance is sought under Chapter 35 shall submit an application to the Secretary, which shall be in such form and contain such information as the Secretary shall prescribe
Section 3562 provides that the commencement of a program of education or special restorative training under Chapter 35 shall be a bar, “(1) to subsequent payments of compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, or pension based on a death of a parent to an eligible person over the age of eighteen by reason of pursuing a course in an educational institution, or (2) to increased rates, or additional amounts of compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, or pension because of such a person whether eligibility is based upon the death or upon the total permanent disability of the parent”
Section 3563 states that “The Secretary shall notify the parent or guardian of each eligible person as defined in section 3501(a)(1)(A) of this title of the educational assistance available to such person under Chapter 35. Such notification shall be provided not later than the month in which such eligible person attains such person’s thirteenth birthday or as soon thereafter as feasible”

Age Distinctions in Regulations Governing Federal Financial Assistance Programs of the Department of Veterans Affairs

Program
Regulation
Section and Age Distinction
CFDA
Veterans’ BenefitsAdjudication (38 CFR part 3)Section 3.57 defines the term “child” of a veteran as, “. . . an unmarried person who is a legitimate child, a child legally adopted before the age of 18 years, a stepchild who acquired that status before the age of 18 years and who is a member of the veteran’s household or was a member of the veteran’s household at the time of the veteran’s death, or an illegitimate child; and (i) who is under the age of 18 years; or (ii) who, before reaching the age of 18 years, became permanently incapable of self-support; or (iii) who, after reaching the age of 18 years and until completion of education or training (but not after reaching the age of 23 years) is pursuing a course of instruction at an approved educational institution. (2) For the purposes of determining entitlement of benefits based on a child’s school attendance, the term “child” of the veteran also includes the following unmarried persons: (i) A person who was adopted by the veteran between the ages of 18 or 23 years. (ii) A person who became a stepchild of a veteran between the ages of 18 or 23 years and who is a member of the veteran’s household at the time of the veteran’s death. . . .”
Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational AssistanceAdjudication (38 CFR part 3)Section 3.807(d) sets forth basic eligibility criteria for the program of educational assistance under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35. Defines the term “child” as the son or daughter of a veteran who meets the requirements of 38 CFR 3.57, except as to age or marital status64.117
Survivors’ and Dependent’s Educational Assistant Under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35 (38 CFR part 21, subpart C)Section 21.3021 describes beneficiaries of the program. Paragraph (a) defines the term “eligible person” as, “(1) A child of a: (i) Veteran who died of a service-connected disability. . . .” Paragraph (b) defines the term “child” as a son or daughter of a veteran as defined in 38 CFR 3.807(d)
Section 21.3023 states that: “(a) Child; age 18. A child who is eligible for educational assistance and who is also eligible for pension, compensation dependency and indemnity compensation based on school attendance must elect whether he or she will receive educational assistance or pension, compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation. (1) An election of education assistance either before or after the age of 18 years is a bar to subsequent payment or increased rates or additional amounts of pension, compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation on account of a child based on school attendance on or after the age of 18 years. . . . (2) Payment of pension, compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation to or on account of a child after his or her 18th birthday does not bar subsequent payments of educational assistance. . . . (b) Child; under 18 or helpless. Educational assistance allowance or special restorative training allowance may generally be paid concurrently with pension, compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation for a child under the age of 18 years or for a helpless child based on the service of one or more parents. Where, however, entitlement is based on the death of more than one parent in the same parental line, concurrent payments in two or more cases may not be authorized if the death of one such parent occurred on or after June 9, 1960. In the latter cases, an election of educational assistance and pension, compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation in one case does not preclude a reelection of benefits before attaining age 18 or while helpless based on the service of another parent in the same parental line. . . .”
Section 21.3040 sets forth criteria for the commencement and termination of the program of education or special restorative training for an eligible child under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35. Paragraph (a) of this section provides that a program of education or special restorative training may not be afforded prior to the eligible persons’ 18th birthday or the completion of secondary schooling, whichever is earlier, unless it is determined through counseling that the best interests of the eligible person will be served by entering training at an earlier date and the eligible person has passed: (1) Compulsory school attendance age under State law; or (2) his or her 14th birthday and due to physical or mental handicap may benefit by special restorative or specialized vocational training. Paragraph (c) of this section provides that no person is eligible for educational assistance who reached his or her 26th birthday on or before the effective date of a finding of permanent total service-connected disability, or on or before the date the veteran’s death occurred, or on or before the 91st day of listing by the Secretary concerned of the member of the Armed Forces or whose service eligibility is claimed as being is one of the missing categories identified in 38 CFR 21.3021(a) (1)(iii) and (3)(ii). Paragraph (d) provides that no person is eligible for educational assistance beyond his or her 31st birthday, except in certain exceptional cases
Section 21.3041 sets forth periods of eligibility for an eligible child. Paragraph (a) of this section provides the basic beginning date for the educational assistance as the person’s 18th birthday or successful completion of secondary schooling, whichever occurs first. Paragraph (b) authorizes certain exceptions to the basic beginning date, if: (1) A person has passed compulsory school attendance under applicable State law, or (2) has passed his or her 14th birthday and has a physical or mental handicap. Paragraph (c) provides the basic ending date as the person’s 26th birthday. Paragraphs (d) and (e) set forth criteria for modifying or extending the ending date
Administration of Educational Benefits; 38 U.S.C. Chapter 34, 35, and 36 (38 CFR part 21, subpart D)Section 21.3300 provides that VA may prescribe special restorative training for the purpose of enabling an eligible child to pursue a program of education, special vocational program, or other appropriate goal, where needed to overcome or lessen the effects of a physical or mental disability
Section 21.4102(a) requires VA to provide counseling for the purpose set forth in 38 CFR 21.4100 to an eligible child when: (1) The eligible child may require specialized vocational or special restorative training, or (2) the eligible child has reached compulsory school attendance age under State law, but has neither reached his or her 18th birthday nor completed secondary schooling, or (3) if requested by the eligible child or his or her parent or guardian for the purpose of preparing an educational plan
Section 21.4139(b) provides that VA will make payment of educational assistance under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35 to the eligible person if: (1) He or she has attained majority and has no known legal disability or (2) is in the eligible person’s best interests, and there is no reason not to designate the eligible person as payee. VA may pay minors under this provision
Section 21.4141 provides that payment of educational assistance allowance under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35 will be subject to offsets of amounts of pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation paid over the same period on behalf of a child based on school attendance
VA Hospital, Domiciliary or Nursing Home CareEligiblity for hospital, domiciliary or nursing home care of persons discharged or released from active military, naval, or air service (38 CFR 17.47)Section 17.47(e) provides that within the limits of VA facilities, hospital or nursing home care may be provided to any veteran with a nonservice-connected disability if such a veteran is 65 years of age or older64.009

64.010

64.015

64.016
Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPA)Medical Care for Survivors and Dependents of Certain Veterans (38 CFR 17.54)Section 17.54 states that medical care may be provided for: “(1) The spouse or child of a veteran who has a total disability, permanent in nature, resulting from a service-connected disability, and (2) the surviving spouse or child of a veteran who – (a) died as a result of a service-connected disability, or (b) at the time of death had a total disability, permanent in nature resulting from a service-connected disability and – (3) the surviving spouse or child of a person who died in the active military, naval or air service . . . Who are not otherwise eligible for medical care as beneficiaries of the Armed Forces under the provisions of Chapter 55 of Title 10, United States Code (CHAMPUS) . . . and (4) An eligible child who is pursuing a full-time course of instruction approved under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 36, and who incurs a disabling illness or injury while pursuing such course; . . . shall remain eligible for medical care until: (a) The end of the 6-month period beginning on the date the disability is removed, or (b) the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the onset of the disability; or (c) the 23d birthday of the child, whichever occurs first. . . .”64.009
Veterans’ Educational AssistanceAdministration of Educational Benefits; 38 U.S.C. Chapters 34, 35, and 36 (38 CFR part 21, subpart D)Section 21.4135(d) sets forth the following dates for the discontinuance of the educational assistance allowance provided for a dependent child, under Chapter 34 of Title 38: “. . . (1) Last day of the in calendar year in which marriage occurred unless discontinuance is required at an earlier date under other provisions. (2) Age 18. Day preceding 18th birthday. (3) School attendance. Last day of month in which 23rd birthday, whichever is earlier. (4) Helplessness ceased. Last day of month school attendance ceased or day preceding following 60 days after notice to payee that helplessness has ceased.”
Section 21.4136 sets forth monthly rates for the payment of educational assistance allowance under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 34. Paragraph (f) defines the term “dependent” as a spouse, child or dependent parent who meets the definitions of relationship specified in 38 CFR 3.50, 3.57 and 3.59

[50 FR 34133, Aug. 23, 1985, as amended at 76 FR 34000, June 10, 2011]


PART 18a – DELEGATION OF RESPONSIBILITY IN CONNECTION WITH TITLE VI, CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964


Authority:5 U.S.C. 301, 38 U.S.C. 501 and 38 CFR 18.9(d) and appendix A, part 18.

§ 18a.1 Delegations of responsibility between the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary, Department of Education.

(a) Authority has been delegated to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary, Department of Education to perform responsibilities of those Departments and of the responsible Departmental officials under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Departments’ regulations issued thereunder (45 CFR part 80 and 34 CFR part 100) with respect to: Proprietary (i.e., other than public or nonprofit) educational institutions, except if operated by a hospital; and post secondary, nonprofit, educational institutions other than colleges and universities, except if operated by a college or university, a hospital, or a unit of State or local government (i.e., those operating such institutions as an elementary or secondary school, an area vocational school, a school for the handicapped, etc.)


(1) The compliance responsibilities so delegated include:


(i) Soliciting, receiving, and determining the adequacy of assurances of compliance under 45 CFR 80.4 and 34 CFR 100.4;


(ii) All actions under 45 CFR 80.6 including mailing, receiving, and evaluating compliance reports under § 80.6(b) and 34 CFR 100.6(b); and


(iii) All other actions related to securing voluntary compliance, or related to investigations, compliance reviews, complaints, determinations of apparent failure to comply, and resolutions of matters by informal means.


(2) The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education specifically reserve to themselves the responsibilities for the effectuation of compliance under 45 CFR 80.8, 80.9, 80.10 and 34 CFR 100.8, 100.9 and 100.10.


(b) Authority has been delegated to the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services and the Secretary, Department of Education, to perform responsibilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs and of the responsible Department of Veterans Affairs official under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Department of Veterans Affairs regulations issued thereunder (part 18 of this chapter) with respect to institutions of higher learning, including post-high school institutions which offer nondegree courses for which credit is given and which would be accepted on transfer by a degree-granting institution toward a baccalaureate or higher degree; hospitals and other health facilities and elementary and secondary schools and school systems including, but not limited to, their activities in connection with providing or seeking approval to provide vocational rehabilitation to eligible persons under Chapter 31 of Title 38 U.S.C., or education or training to eligible persons under Chapters 34, 35, or 36 of Title 38 U.S.C.


(1) The compliance responsibilities so delegated include:


(i) Soliciting, receiving, and determining the adequacy of assurances of compliance under § 18.4 of this chapter;


(ii) Mailing, receiving, and evaluating compliance reports under § 18.6(b) of this chapter; and


(iii) All other actions related to securing voluntary compliance or related investigations, compliance reviews, complaints, determinations of apparent failure to comply and resolutions of matters by informal means.


(2) The Department of Veterans Affairs specifically reserves to itself responsibilities for effectuation of compliance under §§ 18.8, 18.9, and 18.10 of this chapter. Not included in the delegation to the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services and the Secretary, Department of Education and specifically reserved to the Department of Veterans Affairs is the exercise of compliance responsibilities with respect to:


(i) Postsecondary schools which do not offer a program or courses leading, or creditable, towards the granting of at least a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent;


(ii) Privately-owned and operated proprietary technical, vocational, and other private schools at the elementary or secondary level; and


(iii) Those institutions of higher learning and elementary and secondary schools and school systems which, as of January 3, 1969, have already been subjected to formal noncompliance proceedings by the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Education and have had their right to receive Federal financial assistance from that agency terminated for noncompliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


The Department of Veterans Affairs also retains the right to exercise delegated compliance responsibilities itself in special cases with the agreement of the appropriate official in the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Education.

(c) Any institution of higher learning or a hospital or other health facility which is listed by the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Education as having filed an assurance of compliance will be accepted as having met the requirements of the law for the purpose of payment under 38 U.S.C. Chapters 31, 34, 35, or 36 and 38 U.S.C. sections 1741, 8131-8137 and 8155.


(d) If the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Education finds that a school, hospital or other health facility which has signed an assurance of compliance is apparently in noncompliance, action will be initiated by that Department to obtain compliance by voluntary means. If voluntary compliance is not achieved, the Department of Veterans Affairs will join in subsequent proceedings.


(e) An institution which is on the Department of Health and Human Services or the Department of Education list of noncomplying institutions will be considered to be in a status of compliance for Department of Veterans Affairs purposes if an assurance of compliance is filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs and actual compliance is confirmed. Certificates of eligibility may be issued and enrollments approved and other appropriate payments made until such time as the Department of Veterans Affairs has made an independent determination that the institution is not in compliance.


[35 FR 10759, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10385, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18a.2 Delegation to the Under Secretary for Benefits.

The Under Secretary for Benefits is delegated responsibility for obtaining evidence of voluntary compliance for vocational rehabilitation, education, and special restorative training to implement Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964. Authority is delegated to the Under Secretary for Benefits and designee to take any necessary action as to programs of vocational rehabilitation, education, or special restorative training under 38 U.S.C. Chapters 31, 34, 35, and 36 for the purpose of securing evidence of voluntary compliance directly or through the agencies to whom the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has delegated responsibility for various schools or training establishments to implement part 18 of this chapter. The Under Secretary for Benefits also is delegated responsibility for obtaining evidence of voluntary compliance from recognized national organizations whose representatives are afforded space and office facilities in field facilities under jurisdiction of the Under Secretary for Benefits.


[35 FR 10759, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986; 54 FR 34984, Aug. 23, 1989]


§ 18a.3 Delegation to the Chief Medical Director.

The Chief Medical Director is delegated responsibility for obtaining evidence of voluntary compliance implementing the provisions of Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, in connection with payments to State homes, with State home facilities for furnishing nursing home care, and from recognized national organizations whose representatives are afforded space and office facilities in field facilities under jurisdiction of the Chief Medical Director.


[35 FR 10759, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18a.4 Duties of the Director, Contract Compliance Service.

Upon referral by the Chief Medical Director or the Under Secretary for Benefits, the Director, Contract Compliance Service will:


(a) Investigate and process all complaints arising under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;


(b) Conduct periodic audits, reviews and evaluations;


(c) Attempt to secure voluntary compliance by conciliatory or other informal means whenever investigation of a complaint, compliance review, failure to furnish assurance of compliance, or other source indicates noncompliance with Title VI; and


report to the Chief Medical Director or the Under Secretary for Benefits, whichever is appropriate, the results of investigations, audits, reviews and evaluations or the results of attempts to secure voluntary compliance.

[35 FR 10759, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18a.5 Delegation to the General Counsel.

The General Counsel is delegated the responsibility, upon receipt of information from the Under Secretary for Benefits, the Chief Medical Director, or the designee of either of them, that compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means, of forwarding to the recipient or other person the notice required by § 18.9(a) of this chapter, and also is delegated the responsibility of representing the agency in all proceedings resulting from such notice.


[35 FR 10759, July 2, 1970]


PART 18b – PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE UNDER TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 AND PART 18 OF THIS CHAPTER


Authority:5 U.S.C. 301, 38 U.S.C. 501 and 38 CFR 18.9(d) and appendix A, part 18.


Source:35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, unless otherwise noted.

General Rules

§ 18b.1 Scope of rules.

The rules of procedure in this part supplement §§ 18.9 and 18.10 of this chapter and govern the practice for hearings, decisions, and administrative review conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (section 602, 78 Stat. 252) and part 18 of this chapter.


§ 18b.2 Reviewing authority.

The term reviewing authority means the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or any person or persons acting pursuant to authority delegated by the Secretary to carry out responsibility under § 18.10 of this chapter. The term includes the Secretary with respect to action under § 18b.75.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.9 Definitions.

The definitions contained in § 18.13 of this chapter apply to this part, unless the context otherwise requires.


§ 18b.10 Records to be public.

All pleadings, correspondence, exhibits, transcripts of testimony, exceptions, briefs, decisions, and other documents filed in the docket in any proceeding may be inspected and copied in the office of the Civil Rights hearing clerk. Inquiries may be made at the Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420.


§ 18b.11 Use of number.

As used in this part, words importing the singular number may extend and be applied to several persons or things, and vice versa.


[51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.12 Suspension of rules.

Upon notice to all parties, the reviewing authority or the presiding officer, with respect to matters pending before them, may modify or waive any rule upon determination that no party will be unduly prejudiced and the ends of justice will thereby be served.


Appearance and Practice

§ 18b.13 Appearance.

A party may appear in person or by counsel and participate fully in any proceeding. A State agency or a corporation may appear by any of its officers or by any employee it authorizes to appear on its behalf. Counsel must be members in good standing of the bar of a State, territory, or possession of the United States or of the District of Columbia or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.


§ 18b.14 Authority for representation.

Any individual acting in any proceeding may be required to show authority to act in such capacity.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.15 Exclusion from hearing for misconduct.

Disrespectful, disorderly, or contumacious language or contemptuous conduct, refusal to comply with directions, or continued use of dilatory tactics by any person at any hearing before a presiding officer shall constitute grounds for immediate exclusion of such person from the hearing by the presiding officer.


Parties

§ 18b.16 Parties.

The term party shall include an applicant or recipient or other person to whom a notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing has been mailed naming that person as respondent. The Department shall also be deemed a party to all proceedings and shall be represented by the General Counsel.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986; 54 FR 34984, Aug. 23, 1989]


§ 18b.17 Amici curiae.

(a) Any interested person or organization may file a petition to participate in a proceeding as an amicus curiae. Such petition shall be filed prior to the prehearing conference, or if none is held, before the commencement of the hearing, unless the petitioner shows good cause for filing the petition later. The presiding officer may grant the petition if the officer finds that the petitioner has a legitimate interest in the proceedings, that such participation will not unduly delay the outcome, and may contribute materially to the proper disposition thereof. An amicus curiae is not a party and may not introduce evidence at a hearing.


(b) An amicus curiae may submit a statement of position to the presiding officer prior to the beginning of a hearing, and shall serve a copy on each party. The amicus curiae may submit a brief on each occasion a decision is to be made or a prior decision is subject to review. The brief shall be filed and served on each party within the time limits applicable to the party whose position the amicus curiae deems to support; or if the amicus curiae does not deem to support the position of any party, within the longest time limit applicable to any party at that particular stage of the proceedings.


(c) When all parties have completed their initial examination of a witness, any amicus curiae may request the presiding officer to propound specific questions to the witness. The presiding officer, in the officer’s discretion, may grant any such request if the officer believes the proposed additional testimony may assist materially in elucidating factual matters at issue between the parties and will not expand the issues.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.18 Complainants not parties.

A person submitting a complaint pursuant to § 18.7(b) of this chapter is not a party to the proceedings governed by this part, but may petition, after proceedings are initiated, to become an amicus curiae.


Documents

§ 18b.20 Form of documents to be filed.

Documents to be filed shall be dated, the original signed in ink, shall show the docket description and title of the proceeding, and shall show the title, if any, and address of the signatory. Copies need not be signed but the name of the person signing the original shall be reproduced. Documents shall be legible and shall not be more than 8
1/2 inches wide and 12 inches long.


§ 18b.21 Signature of documents.

The signature of a party, authorized officer, employee, or attorney constitutes a certificate that one of them has read the document, that to the best of that person’s knowledge, information, and belief there is good ground to support it, and that it is not interposed for delay. If a document is not signed or is signed with intent to defeat the purpose of this section, it may be stricken as sham and false and the proceeding may proceed as though the document had not been filed. Similar action may be taken if scandalous or indecent matter is inserted.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.22 Filing and service.

All notices by a Department of Veterans Affairs official, and all written motions, requests, petitions, memoranda, pleadings, exceptions, briefs, decisions, and correspondence to a Department of Veterans Affairs official from a party, or vice versa, relating to a proceeding after its commencement shall be filed and served on all parties. Parties shall supply the original and two copies of documents submitted for filing. Filings shall be made with the Civil Rights hearing clerk at the address stated in the notice of hearing or notice of opportunity for hearing, during regular business hours. Regular business hours are every Monday through Friday (legal holidays in the District of Columbia excepted) from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., eastern standard or daylight saving time, whichever is effective in the District of Columbia at the time. Originals only of exhibits and transcripts of testimony need be filed. For requirements of service on amici curiae, see § 18b.76.


§ 18b.23 Service; how made.

Service shall be made by personal delivery of one copy to each person to be served or by mailing by first-class mail, properly addressed with postage prepaid. When a party or amicus has appeared by attorney or other representative, service upon such attorney or representative, will be deemed service upon the party or amicus. Documents served by mail preferably should be mailed in sufficient time to reach the addressee by the date on which the original is due to be filed, and should be airmailed if the addressee is more than 300 miles distant.


§ 18b.24 Date of service.

The date of service shall be the day when the matter is deposited in the U.S. mail or is delivered in person, except that the date of service of the initial notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing shall be the date of its delivery, or of its attempted delivery if refused.


§ 18b.25 Certificate of service.

The original of every document filed and required to be served upon parties to a proceeding shall be endorsed with a certificate of service signed by the party making service or by the party’s attorney or representative, stating that such service has been made, the date of service, and the manner of service, whether by mail or personal delivery.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


Time

§ 18b.26 Computation.

In computing any period of time under the rules in this part or in an order issued hereunder, the time begins with the day following the act, event, or default, and includes the last day of the period, unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday observed in the District of Columbia, in which event it includes the next following business day. When the period of time prescribed or allowed is less than 7 days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays shall be excluded from the computation.


§ 18b.27 Extension of time or postponement.

Requests for extension of time should be served on all parties and should set forth the reasons for the application. Applications may be granted upon a showing of good cause by the applicant. From the designation of a presiding officer until the issuance of a decision such requests should be addressed to the presiding officer. Answers to such requests are permitted, if made promptly.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.28 Reduction of time to file documents.

For good cause, the reviewing authority or the presiding officer, with respect to matters pending before them, may reduce any time limit prescribed by the rules in this part, except as provided by law or in part 18 of this chapter.


Proceedings Before Hearing

§ 18b.30 Notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing.

Proceedings are commenced by mailing a notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing to an affected applicant or recipient, pursuant to §§ 18.9 and 18a.5 of this chapter.


§ 18b.31 Answer to notice.

The respondent, applicant or recipient may file an answer to the notice within 20 days after service thereof. Answers shall admit or deny specifically and in detail each allegation of the notice, unless the respondent party is without knowledge, in which case the answer should so state, and the statement will be deemed a denial. Allegations of fact in the notice not denied or controverted by answer shall be deemed admitted. Matters alleged as affirmative defenses shall be separately stated and numbered. Failure of the respondent to file an answer within the 20-day period following service of the notice may be deemed an admission of all matters of fact recited in the notice.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.32 Amendment of notice or answer.

The General Counsel may amend the notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing once as a matter of course before an answer thereto is served, and each respondent may amend the answer once as a matter of course not later than 10 days before the date fixed for hearing but in no event later than 20 days from the date of service of the original answer. Otherwise a notice or answer may be amended only by leave of the presiding officer. A respondent shall file the answer to an amended notice within the time remaining for filing the answer to the original notice or within 10 days after service of the amended notice, whichever period may be the longer, unless the presiding officer otherwise orders.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.33 Request for hearing.

Within 20 days after service of a notice of opportunity for hearing which does not fix a date for hearing the respondent, either in the answer or in a separate document, may request a hearing. Failure of the respondent to request a hearing shall be deemed a waiver of the right to a hearing and to constitute consent to the making of a decision on the basis of such information as is available.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.34 Consolidation.

The reviewing authority may provide for proceedings in the Department of Veterans Affairs to be joined or consolidated for hearing with proceedings in other Federal departments or agencies, by agreement with such other departments or agencies. All parties to any proceeding consolidated subsequent to service of the notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing shall be served with notice of such consolidation.


§ 18b.35 Motions.

Motions and petitions shall state the relief sought, the authority relied upon, and the facts alleged. If made before or after the hearing, these matters shall be in writing. If made at the hearing, they may be stated orally; but the presiding officer may require that they be reduced to writing and filed and served on all parties in the same manner as a formal motion. Motions, answers, and replies shall be addressed to the presiding officer, if the case is pending before the officer. A repetitious motion will not be entertained.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.36 Responses to motions and petitions.

Within 8 days after a written motion or petition is served, or such other period as the reviewing authority or the presiding officer may fix, any party may file a response thereto. An immediate oral response may be made to an oral motion.


§ 18b.37 Disposition of motions and petitions.

The reviewing authority or the presiding officer may not sustain or grant a written motion or petition prior to expiration of the time for filing responses thereto, but may overrule or deny such motion or petition without awaiting response: Provided, however, That prehearing conferences, hearings and decisions need not be delayed pending disposition of motions or petitions. Oral motions and petitions may be ruled on immediately. Motions and petitions submitted to the reviewing authority or the presiding officer, respectively, and not disposed of in separate rulings or in their respective decisions will be deemed denied. Oral arguments shall not be held on written motions or petitions unless the presiding officer in the officer’s discretion expressly so orders.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


Responsibilities and Duties of Presiding Officer

§ 18b.40 Who presides.

An administrative law judge assigned under 5 U.S.C. 3105 or 3344 (formerly section 11 of the Administrative Procedure Act) shall preside over the taking of evidence in any hearing to which these rules or procedure apply.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.41 Designation of an administrative law judge.

The designation of the administrative law judge as presiding officer shall be in writing, and shall specify whether the administrative law judge is to make an initial decision or to certify the entire record including recommended findings and proposed decision to the reviewing authority, and may also fix the time and place of hearing. A copy of such order shall be served on all parties. After service of an order designating an administrative law judge to preside, and until such administrative law judge makes a decision, motions and petitions shall be submitted to the administrative law judge. In the case of the death, illness, disqualification or unavailability of the designated administrative law judge, another administrative law judge may be designated to take that person’s place.


[51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.42 Authority of presiding officer.

The presiding officer shall have the duty to conduct a fair hearing, to take all necessary action to avoid delay, and to maintain order. The presiding officer shall have all powers necessary to these ends, including (but not limited to) the power to:


(a) Arrange and issue notice of the date, time, and place of hearings, or, upon due notice to the parties, to change the date, time, and place of hearings previously set.


(b) Hold conferences to settle, simplify, or fix the issues in a proceeding, or to consider other matters that may aid in the expeditious disposition of the proceeding.


(c) Require parties and amici curiae to state their position with respect to the various issues in the proceeding.


(d) Administer oaths and affirmations.


(e) Rule on motions, and other procedural items on matters pending before the presiding officer.


(f) Regulate the course of the hearing and conduct of counsel therein.


(g) Examine witnesses and direct witnesses to testify.


(h) Receive, rule on, exclude or limit evidence.


(i) Fix the time for filing motions, petitions, briefs, or other items in matters pending before the presiding officer.


(j) Issue initial or recommended decisions.


(k) Take any action authorized by the rules in this part, or in conformance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 551-559 (the Administrative Procedure Act).


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


Hearing Procedures

§ 18b.50 Statements of position and trial briefs.

The presiding officer may require parties and amici curiae to file written statements of position prior to the beginning of a hearing. The presiding officer may also require the parties to submit trial briefs.


§ 18b.51 Evidentiary purpose.

(a) The hearing is directed to receiving factual evidence and expert opinion testimony related to the issues in the proceeding. Argument will not be received in evidence; rather it should be presented in statements, memoranda, or briefs, as determined by the presiding officer. Brief opening statements, which shall be limited to statement of the party’s position and what the party intends to prove, may be made at hearings.


(b) Hearings for the reception of evidence will be held only in cases where issues of fact must be resolved in order to determine whether the respondent has failed to comply with one or more applicable requirements of part 18 of this chapter. In any case where it appears from the respondent’s answer to the notice of hearing or opportunity for hearing, from failure timely to answer, or from admissions or stipulations in the record, that there are no matters of material fact in dispute, the reviewing authority or presiding officer may enter an order so finding, vacating the hearing date if one has been set, and fixing the time for filing briefs under § 18b.70. Thereafter the proceedings shall go to conclusion in accordance with §§ 18b.70 through 18b.76. The presiding officer may allow an appeal from such order in accordance with § 18b.65.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.52 Testimony.

Testimony shall be given orally under oath or affirmation by witnesses at the hearing; but the presiding officer, in the officer’s discretion, may require or permit that the direct testimony of any witness be prepared in writing and served on all parties in advance of the hearing. Such testimony may be adopted by the witness at the hearing, and filed as part of the record thereof. Unless authorized by the presiding officer, witnesses will not be permitted to read prepared testimony into the record. Except as provided in §§ 18b.54 and 18b.55, witnesses shall be available at the hearing for cross-examination.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.53 Exhibits.

Proposed exhibits shall be exchanged at the prehearing conference, or otherwise prior to the hearing if the presiding officer so requires. Proposed exhibits not so exchanged may be denied admission as evidence. The authenticity of all proposed exhibits exchanged prior to hearing will be deemed admitted unless written objection thereto is filed prior to the hearing or unless good cause is shown at the hearing for failure to file such written objection.


§ 18b.54 Affidavits.

An affidavit is not inadmissible as such. Unless the presiding officer fixes other time periods affidavits shall be filed and served on the parties not later than 15 days prior to the hearing; and not less than 7 days prior to hearing a party may file and serve written objection to any affidavit on the ground that it is believed necessary to test the truth of assertions therein at hearing. In such event the assertions objected to will not be received in evidence unless the affiant is made available for cross-examination, or the presiding officer determines that cross-examination is not necessary for the full and true disclosure of facts referred to in such assertions. Notwithstanding any objection, however, affidavits may be considered in the case of any respondent who waives a hearing.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.55 Depositions.

Upon such terms as may be just, for the convenience of the parties or of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the presiding officer may authorize or direct the testimony of any witness to be taken by deposition.


§ 18b.56 Admissions as to facts and documents.

Not later than 15 days prior to the scheduled date of the hearing except for good cause shown or prior to such earlier date as the presiding officer may order, any party may serve upon an opposing party a written request for the admission of the genuineness and authenticity of any relevant documents described in and exhibited with the request, or for the admission of the truth of any relevant matters of fact stated in the request. Each of the matters of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted, unless within a period designated in the request (not less than 10 days after service thereof, or within such further time as the presiding officer or the reviewing authority if no presiding officer has yet been designated may allow upon motion and notice) the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the requesting party a sworn statement either denying specifically the matters of which an admission is requested or setting forth in detail the reasons why the party cannot truthfully either admit or deny such matters. Copies of requests for admission and answers thereto shall be served on all parties. Any admission made by a party to such request is only for the purposes of the pending proceeding, or any proceeding or action instituted for the enforcement of any order entered therein, and shall not constitute an admission by the party for any other purpose or be used against the party in any other proceeding or action.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.57 Evidence.

Irrelevant, immaterial, unreliable, and unduly repetitious evidence will be excluded.


§ 18b.58 Cross-examination.

A witness may be cross-examined on any matter material to the proceeding without regard to the scope of his direct examination.


§ 18b.59 Unsponsored written material.

Letters expressing views or urging action and other unsponsored written material regarding matters in issue in a hearing will be placed in the correspondence section of the docket of the proceeding. These data are not deemed part of the evidence or record in the hearing.


§ 18b.60 Objections.

Objections to evidence shall be timely and briefly state the ground relied upon.


§ 18b.61 Exceptions to rulings of presiding officer unnecessary.

Exceptions to rulings of the presiding officer are unnecessary. It is sufficient that a party, at the time the ruling of the presiding officer is sought, makes known the action which the party desires the presiding officer to take, or the party’s objection to an action taken, and the party’s grounds therefor.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.62 Official notice.

Where official notice is taken or is to be taken of a material fact not appearing in the evidence of record, any party, on timely request, shall be afforded an opportunity to show the contrary.


§ 18b.63 Public document items.

Whenever there is offered (in whole or in part) a public document, such as an official report, decision, opinion, or published scientific or economic statistical data issued by any of the executive departments (or their subdivisions), legislative agencies or committees, or administrative agencies of the Federal Government (including Government-owned corporations), or a similar document issued by a State or its agencies, and such document (or part thereof) has been shown by the offeror to be reasonably available to the public, such document need not be produced or marked for identification, but may be offered for official notice, as a public document item by specifying the document or relevant part thereof.


§ 18b.64 Offer of proof.

An offer of proof made in connection with an objection taken to any ruling of the presiding officer rejecting or excluding proffered oral testimony shall consist of a statement of the substance of the evidence which counsel contends would be adduced by such testimony; and, if the excluded evidence consists of evidence in documentary or written form or of reference to documents or records, a copy of such evidence shall be marked for identification and shall accompany the record as the offer of proof.


§ 18b.65 Appeals from ruling of presiding officer.

Rulings of the presiding officer may not be appealed to the reviewing authority prior to consideration of the entire proceeding except with the consent of the presiding officer and where the reviewing authority certifies on the record or in writing that the allowance of an interlocutory appeal is clearly necessary to prevent exceptional delay, expense, or prejudice to any party, or substantial detriment to the public interest. If an appeal is allowed, any party may file a brief with the reviewing authority within such period as the presiding officer directs. No oral argument will be heard unless the reviewing authority directs otherwise. At any time prior to submission of the proceeding to the reviewing authority for decision, the reviewing authority may direct the presiding officer to certify any question or the entire record to the reviewing authority for decision. Where the entire record is so certified, the presiding officer shall recommend a decision.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


The Record

§ 18b.66 Official transcript.

The Department of Veterans Affairs will designate the official reporter for all hearings. The official transcripts of testimony taken, together with any exhibits, briefs, or memoranda of law filed therewith shall be filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Transcripts of testimony in hearings may be obtained from the official reporter by the parties and the public at rates not to exceed the maximum rates fixed by the contract between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the reporter. Upon notice to all parties, the presiding officer may authorize corrections to the transcript which involve matters of substance.


§ 18b.67 Record for decision.

The transcript of testimony, exhibits, and all papers and requests filed in the proceedings, except the correspondence section of the docket, including rulings and any recommended or initial decision shall constitute the exclusive record for decision.


Posthearing Procedures; Decisions

§ 18b.70 Posthearing briefs; proposed findings and conclusions.

(a) The presiding officer shall fix the time for filing posthearing briefs, which may contain proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, and, if permitted, reply briefs.


(b) Briefs should include a summary of the evidence relied upon together with references to exhibit numbers and pages of the transcript, with citations of authorities relied upon.


§ 18b.71 Decisions following hearing.

When the time for submission of posthearing briefs has expired, the presiding officer shall certify the entire record, including recommended findings and proposed decision, to the reviewing authority; or if so authorized shall make an initial decision. A copy of the recommended findings and proposed decision, or of the initial decision, shall be served upon all parties, and amici, if any.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.72 Exceptions to initial or recommended decisions.

Within 20 days after the mailing of an initial or recommended decision, any party may file exceptions to the decision, stating reasons therefor, with the reviewing authority. Any other party may file a response thereto within 30 days after the mailing of the decision. Upon the filing of such exceptions, the reviewing authority shall review the decision and issue its own decision thereon.


§ 18b.73 Final decisions.

(a) Where the hearing is conducted by a hearing examiner who makes an initial decision, if no exceptions thereto are filed within the 20-day period specified in § 18b.72, such decision shall become the final decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and shall constitute “final agency action” within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 704 (formerly section 10(c) of the Administrative Procedure Act), subject to the provisions of § 18b.75.


(b) Where the hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge who makes a recommended decision or upon the filing of exceptions to an administrative law judge’s initial decision, the reviewing authority shall review the recommended or initial decision and shall issue a decision thereon, which shall become the final decision of VA, and shall constitute “final agency action” within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 704 (formerly section 10(c) of the Administrative Procedures Act), subject to the provisions of § 18b.75.


(c) All final decisions shall be promptly served on all parties, and amici, if any.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986; 54 FR 34984, Aug. 23, 1989]


§ 18b.74 Oral argument to the reviewing authority.

(a) If any party desires to argue a case orally on exceptions or replies to exceptions to an initial or recommended decision, the party shall make such request in writing. The reviewing authority may grant or deny such requests in his or her discretion. If granted, the reviewing authority will serve notice of oral argument on all parties. The notice will set forth the order of presentation, the amount of time allotted, and the time and place for argument. The names of persons who will argue should be filed with the agency hearing clerk not later than 7 days before the date set for oral argument.


(b) The purpose of oral argument is to emphasize and clarify the written argument in the briefs. Reading at length from the brief or other texts is not favored. Participants should confine their arguments to points of controlling importance and to points upon which exceptions have been filed. Consolidations of appearances at oral argument by parties taking the same side will permit the parties’ interests to be presented more effectively in the time allotted.


(c) Pamphlets, charts, and other written material may be presented at oral argument only if such material is limited to facts already in the record and is served on all parties and filed with the Department hearing clerk at least 7 days before the argument.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10386, Mar. 26, 1986; 54 FR 34984, Aug. 23, 1989]


§ 18b.75 Review by the Secretary.

Within 20 days after an initial decision becomes a final decision pursuant to § 18b.73(a), or within 20 days of the mailing of a final decision referred to in § 18b.73(b), as the case may be, a party may request the Secretary to review the final decision. The Secretary may grant or deny such request, in whole or in part, or serve notice of intent to review the decision in whole or in part upon motion. If the Secretary grants the requested review, or serves notice of intent to review upon motion, each party to the decision shall have 20 days following notice of the Secretary’s proposed action within which to file exceptions to the decision and supporting briefs and memoranda, or briefs and memoranda in support of the decision. Failure of a party to request review under this section shall not be deemed a failure to exhaust administrative remedies for the purpose of obtaining judicial review.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10387, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.76 Service on amici curiae.

All briefs, exceptions, memoranda, requests, and decisions referred to in §§ 18b.70 through 18b.76 shall be served upon amici curiae at the same times and in the same manner required for service on parties. Any written statements of position and trial briefs required of parties under § 18b.50 shall be served on amici.


Posthearing Department Actions

§ 18b.77 Final Department action.

(a) The final decision of the administrative law judge or reviewing authority that a school or training establishment is not in compliance will be referred by the reviewing authority to the Secretary for approval as required by § 18.10(e) of this chapter. The finding will be accompanied by letters from the Secretary to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee containing a full report on the circumstances as required by § 18.8(c) of this chapter, the reasons for the proposed action and a statement that the proposed action will become the final Department action 30 days after the date of the letter.


(b) A copy of the letters to the congressional committees will be sent to all parties to the proceedings.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10387, Mar. 26, 1986; 54 FR 34984, Aug. 23, 1989]


Judicial Standards of Practice

§ 18b.90 Conduct.

Parties and their representatives are expected to conduct themselves with honor and dignity and observe judicial standards of practice and ethics in all proceedings. They should not indulge in offensive personalities, unseemly wrangling, or intemperate accusations or characterizations. A representative of any party whether or not a lawyer shall observe the traditional responsibilities of lawyers as officers of the court and use best efforts to restrain the principal represented from improprieties in connection with a proceeding.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10387, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.91 Improper conduct.

With respect to any proceeding it is improper for any interested person to attempt to sway the judgment of the reviewing authority by undertaking to bring pressure or influence to bear upon the reviewing authority or any officer having a responsibility for a decision in the proceeding, or decisional staff. It is improper that such interested persons or any members of the Department of Veterans Affairs’s staff or the presiding officer give statements to communications media, by paid advertisement or otherwise, designed to influence the judgment of any officer having a responsibility for a decision in the proceeding, or decisional staff. It is improper for any person to solicit communications to any such officer, or decisional staff, other than proper communications by parties or amici curiae.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10387, Mar. 26, 1986]


§ 18b.92 Ex parte communications.

Only persons employed by or assigned to work with the reviewing authority who perform no investigative or prosecuting function in connection with a proceeding shall communicate ex parte with the reviewing authority or the presiding officer, or any employee or person involved in the decisional process in such proceedings with respect to the merits of that or a factually related proceeding. The reviewing authority, the presiding officer, or any employee or person involved in the decisional process of a proceeding shall communicate ex parte with respect to the merits of that or a factually related proceeding only with persons employed by or assigned to work with them and who perform no investigative or prosecuting function in connection with the proceeding.


§ 18b.93 Expeditious treatment.

Requests for expeditious treatment of matters pending before the reviewing authority or the presiding officer are deemed communications on the merits, and are improper except when forwarded from parties to a proceeding and served upon all other parties thereto. Such communications should be in the form of a motion.


§ 18b.94 Matters not prohibited.

A request for information which merely inquires about the status of a proceeding without discussing issues or expressing points of view is not deemed an ex parte communication. Such requests should be directed to the civil rights hearing clerk. Communications with respect to minor procedural matters or inquiries or emergency requests for extensions of time are not deemed ex parte communications prohibited by § 18b.92. Where feasible, however, such communications should be by letter with copies to all parties. Ex parte communications between a respondent and the responsible agency official or the Secretary with respect to securing such respondent’s voluntary compliance with any requirement of part 18 of this chapter are not prohibited.


§ 18b.95 Filing of ex parte communications.

A prohibited communication in writing received by the Secretary, the reviewing authority, or by the presiding officer, shall be made public by placing it in the correspondence file of the docket in the case and will not be considered as part of the record for decision. If the prohibited communication is received orally, a memorandum setting forth its substance shall be made and filed in the correspondence section of the docket in the case. A person referred to in such memorandum may file a comment for inclusion in the docket if the memorandum is considered to be incorrect.


[35 FR 10760, July 2, 1970, as amended at 51 FR 10387, Mar. 26, 1986]


PART 19 – BOARD OF VETERANS’ APPEALS: LEGACY APPEALS REGULATIONS


Authority:38 U.S.C. 501(a), unless otherwise noted.



Source:57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – Applicability

§ 19.1 Provisions applicable to legacy appeals.

Part 19 and subparts F, G, and J of part 20 apply only to the processing and adjudication of legacy appeals, as defined in § 19.2. Except as otherwise provided in specific sections, subparts A, B, H, K, L, M, N, and O of part 20 apply to the processing and adjudication of both appeals and legacy appeals. For applicability provisions concerning appeals in the modernized review system, see § 20.4 of this chapter.


[84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.2 Appellant’s election for review of a legacy appeal in the modernized system.

(a) Effective date. As used in this section, the effective date means February 19, 2019.


(b) Modernized review system. The modernized review system refers to the current statutory framework for claims and appeals processing, set forth in Public Law 115-55, and any amendments thereto, applicable on the effective date. The modernized review system applies to all claims, requests for reopening of finally adjudicated claims, and requests for revision based on clear and unmistakable error for which VA issues notice of an initial decision on or after the effective date, or as otherwise provided in paragraph (d) of this section.


(c) Legacy appeals. A legacy appeal is an appeal of a legacy claim, as defined in 38 CFR 3.2400(b), where a claimant has not elected to participate in the modernized review system as provided in paragraph (d) of this section. A legacy appeal is initiated by the filing of a Notice of Disagreement and is perfected to the Board with the filing of a Substantive Appeal pursuant to applicable regulations in accordance with 38 CFR parts 19 and 20.


(d) Election into the modernized review system. The modernized review system applies to legacy claims and appeals where:


(1) A claimant with a legacy claim or appeal elects the modernized review system pursuant to 38 CFR 3.2400(c)(1);


(2) A claimant with a legacy claim or appeal elects the modernized review system, following issuance, on or after the effective date, of a VA Statement of the Case or Supplemental Statement of the Case. The election is made by filing, on a form prescribed by the Secretary, an appeal in accordance with 38 CFR 20.202, or a review option in accordance with 38 U.S.C. 5108 or 5104B, as implemented by 38 CFR 3.2500 and other applicable regulations. The election must be filed within the time allowed for filing a substantive appeal under § 19.52(b); or


(3) VA issued notice of a decision prior to the effective date, and, pursuant to the Secretary’s authorization to participate in a test program, the claimant elects the modernized review system by filing an appeal in accordance with 38 U.S.C. 7105, or a review option in accordance with 38 U.S.C. 5108 or 5104B.


(Authority: Pub. L. 115-55; 131 Stat. 1105; 38 U.S.C. 5104B, 5104C(a); 5108; 38 U.S.C. 7105)

[84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 19.3-19.19 [Reserved]

Subpart B – Legacy Appeals and Legacy Appeals Processing by Agency of Original Jurisdiction

§ 19.20 What constitutes an appeal.

An appeal consists of a timely filed Notice of Disagreement submitted in accordance with the provisions of § 19.21, and either § 19.52(a) or § 20.501(a) of this chapter, as applicable and, after a Statement of the Case has been furnished, a timely filed Substantive Appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105 (2016))

[79 FR 57698, Sept. 25, 2014. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.21 Notice of Disagreement.

(a) Cases in which a form is provided by the agency of original jurisdiction for the purpose of initiating an appeal.


(1) Format. For every case in which the agency of original jurisdiction (AOJ) provides, in connection with its decision, a form for the purpose of initiating an appeal, a Notice of Disagreement consists of a completed and timely submitted copy of that form. VA will not accept as a notice of disagreement an expression of dissatisfaction or disagreement with an adjudicative determination by the agency of original jurisdiction and a desire to contest the result that is submitted in any other format, including on a different VA form.


(2) Provision of form to the claimant. If a claimant has established an online benefits account with VA, or has designated an email address for the purpose of receiving communications from VA, VA may provide an appeal form pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section electronically, whether by email, hyperlink, or other direction to the appropriate form within the claimant’s online benefits account. VA may also provide a form pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section in paper format.


(3) Presumption form was provided. This paragraph (a) applies if there is any indication whatsoever in the claimant’s file or electronic account that a form was sent pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section.


(4) Specificity required by form. If the agency of original jurisdiction gave notice that adjudicative determinations were made on several issues at the same time, the specific determinations with which the claimant disagrees must be identified to the extent a form provided pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this section so requires. If the claimant wishes to appeal all of the issues decided by the agency of original jurisdiction, the form must clearly indicate that intent. Issues not identified on the form will not be considered appealed.


(5) Alternate form or other communication. The filing of an alternate form or other communication will not extend, toll, or otherwise delay the time limit for filing a Notice of Disagreement, as provided in § 19.52(a). In particular, returning the incorrect VA form, including a form designed to appeal a different benefit does not extend, toll, or otherwise delay the time limit for filing the correct form.


(b) Cases in which no form is provided by the agency of original jurisdiction for purpose of initiating an appeal. A written communication from a claimant or his or her representative expressing dissatisfaction or disagreement with an adjudicative determination by the agency of original jurisdiction and a desire to contest the result will constitute a Notice of Disagreement relating to a claim for benefits in any case in which the agency of original jurisdiction does not provide a form identified as being for the purpose of initiating an appeal. The Notice of Disagreement must be in terms which can be reasonably construed as disagreement with that determination and a desire for appellate review. If the agency of original jurisdiction gave notice that adjudicative determinations were made on several issues at the same time, the specific determinations with which the claimant disagrees must be identified.


(c) Simultaneously contested claims. The provisions of paragraph (b) of this section shall apply to appeals in simultaneously contested claims under Rules 500 and 501 (§§ 20.500 and 20.501 of this chapter), regardless of whether a standardized form was provided with the decision of the agency of original jurisdiction.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105 (2016))

[79 FR 57698, Sept. 25, 2014. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.22 Substantive Appeal.

A Substantive Appeal consists of a properly completed VA Form 9, “Appeal to Board of Veterans’ Appeals,” or correspondence containing the necessary information. If the Statement of the Case and any prior Supplemental Statements of the Case addressed several issues, the Substantive Appeal must either indicate that the appeal is being perfected as to all of those issues or must specifically identify the issues appealed. The Substantive Appeal should set out specific arguments relating to errors of fact or law made by the agency of original jurisdiction in reaching the determination, or determinations, being appealed. To the extent feasible, the argument should be related to specific items in the Statement of the Case and any prior Supplemental Statements of the Case. The Board will construe such arguments in a liberal manner for purposes of determining whether they raise issues on appeal, but the Board may dismiss any appeal which fails to allege specific error of fact or law in the determination, or determinations, being appealed. The Board will not presume that an appellant agrees with any statement of fact contained in a Statement of the Case or a Supplemental Statement of the Case which is not specifically contested. Proper completion and filing of a Substantive Appeal are the last actions the appellant needs to take to perfect an appeal.


(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0085)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(3)-(5) (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 20450, May 7, 1996. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.23 Applicability of provisions concerning Notice of Disagreement.

(a) Appeals governed by § 19.21(a) shall be processed in accordance with § 19.24. Sections 19.26 and 19.28 shall not apply to appeals governed by § 19.21(a).


(b) Appeals governed by § 19.21(b) shall be processed in accordance with §§ 19.26 and 19.28.


[79 FR 57697, Sept. 25, 2014, as amended at 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.24 Action by agency of original jurisdiction on Notice of Disagreement required to be filed on a standardized form.

(a) Initial action. When a timely Notice of Disagreement in accordance with the requirements of § 19.21(a) is filed, the agency of original jurisdiction will reexamine the claim and determine whether additional review or development is warranted.


(b) Incomplete and complete appeal forms – (1) Incomplete appeal forms. In cases governed by § 19.21(a), if VA determines a form filed by the claimant is incomplete and requests clarification, the claimant must timely file a completed version of the correct form in order to initiate an appeal. A claimant is not required to cure or correct the filing of an incomplete form by filing a completed version of the correct form unless VA informs the claimant or his or her representative that the form is incomplete and requests clarification.


(2) Complete appeal forms. In general, a form will be considered complete if the following information is provided:


(i) Information to identify the claimant;


(ii) The claim to which the form pertains;


(iii) Any information necessary to identify the specific nature of the disagreement if the form so requires. For compensation claims, this criterion will be met if the form enumerates the issues or conditions for which appellate review is sought, or if it provides other information required on the form to identify the claimant and the nature of the disagreement (such as disagreement with disability rating, effective date, or denial of service connection); and


(iv) The claimant’s signature.


(3) Timeframe to complete correct form. In general, a claimant who wishes to initiate an appeal must provide a complete form within the timeframe established by § 19.52(a). When VA requests clarification of an incomplete form, the claimant must provide a complete form in response to VA’s request for clarification within the later of the following dates:


(i) 60 days from the date of the request; or


(ii) 1 year from the date of mailing of the notice of the decision of the agency of original jurisdiction.


(4) Failure to respond. If the claimant fails to provide a completed form within the timeframe set forth in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, the decision of the agency of original jurisdiction will become final.


(5) Form timely completed. If a completed form is received within the timeframe set forth in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, VA will treat the completed form as the Notice of Disagreement and VA will reexamine the claim and determine whether additional review or development is warranted. If no further review or development is required, or after necessary review or development is completed, VA will prepare a Statement of the Case pursuant to § 19.29 unless the disagreement is resolved by a grant of the benefit(s) sought on appeal or the NOD is withdrawn by the claimant.


(c) Issues under appellate review. If a form enumerates some but not all of the issues or conditions which were the subject of the decision of the agency of original jurisdiction, the form will be considered complete with respect to the issues for which appellate review is sought and identified by the claimant. Any issues or conditions not enumerated will not be considered appealed on the basis of the filing of that form and will become final unless the claimant timely files a separate form for those issues or conditions within the applicable timeframe set forth in paragraph (b)(3) of this section.


(d) Disagreement concerning whether Notice of Disagreement has been filed. Whether or not a claimant has timely filed a Notice of Disagreement is an appealable issue, but in such a case, appellate consideration shall be limited to the question of whether the correct form was timely filed.


[79 FR 57697, Sept. 25, 2014, as amended at 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.25 Notification by agency of original jurisdiction of right to appeal.

The claimant and his or her representative, if any, will be informed of appellate rights provided by 38 U.S.C. chapters 71 and 72, including the right to a personal hearing and the right to representation. The agency of original jurisdiction will provide this information in each notification of a determination of entitlement or nonentitlement to Department of Veterans Affairs benefits.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(a) (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.26 Action by agency of original jurisdiction on Notice of Disagreement.

(a) Initial action. When a timely Notice of Disagreement (NOD) is filed, the agency of original jurisdiction (AOJ) must reexamine the claim and determine whether additional review or development is warranted.


(b) Unclear communication or disagreement. If within one year after mailing an adverse decision (or 60 days for simultaneously contested claims), the AOJ receives a written communication expressing dissatisfaction or disagreement with the adverse decision, but the AOJ cannot clearly identify that communication as expressing an intent to appeal, or the AOJ cannot identify which denied claim(s) the claimant wants to appeal, then the AOJ will contact the claimant to request clarification of the claimant’s intent. This contact may be either oral or written.


(1) For oral contacts, VA will contact whoever filed the communication. VA will make a written record of any oral clarification request conveyed to the claimant including the date of the adverse decision involved and the response. In any request for clarification, the AOJ will explain that if a response to this request is not received within the time period described in paragraph (c) of this section, the earlier, unclear communication will not be considered an NOD as to any adverse decision for which clarification was requested.


(2) For written contacts, VA will mail a letter requesting clarification to the claimant and send a copy to his or her representative and fiduciary, if any.


(c) Response required from claimant – (1) Time to respond. The claimant must respond to the AOJ’s request for clarification within the later of the following dates:


(i) 60 days after the date of the AOJ’s clarification request; or


(ii) One year after the date of mailing of notice of the adverse decision being appealed (60 days for simultaneously contested claims).


(2) Failure to respond. If the claimant fails to provide a timely response, the previous communication from the claimant will not be considered an NOD as to any claim for which clarification was requested. The AOJ will not consider the claimant to have appealed the decision(s) on any claim(s) as to which clarification was requested and not received.


(d) Action following clarification. When clarification of the claimant’s intent to file an NOD is obtained, the AOJ will reexamine the claim and determine whether additional review or development is warranted. If no further review or development is required, or after necessary review or development is completed, the AOJ will prepare a Statement of the Case pursuant to § 19.29 unless the disagreement is resolved by a grant of the benefit(s) sought on appeal or the NOD is withdrawn by the claimant.


(e) Representatives and fiduciaries. For the purpose of the requirements in paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section, references to the “claimant” include reference to the claimant or his or her representative, if any, or to his or her fiduciary, if any, as appropriate.


(The Office of Management and Budget has approved the information collection requirements in this section under control number 2900-0674)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501; 38 U.S.C. 7105, 7105A (2016))

[71 FR 56871, Sept. 28, 2006, as amended at 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.27 [Reserved]

§ 19.28 Determination that a Notice of Disagreement is inadequate protested by claimant or representative.

Whether a Notice of Disagreement is adequate is an appealable issue. If the claimant or his or her representative protests an adverse determination made by the agency of original jurisdiction with respect to the adequacy of a Notice of Disagreement, the claimant will be furnished a Statement of the Case.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105 (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.29 Statement of the Case.

The Statement of the Case must be complete enough to allow the appellant to present written and/or oral arguments before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. It must contain:


(a) A summary of the evidence in the case relating to the issue or issues with which the appellant or representative has expressed disagreement;


(b) A summary of the applicable laws and regulations, with appropriate citations, and a discussion of how such laws and regulations affect the determination; and


(c) The determination of the agency of original jurisdiction on each issue and the reasons for each such determination with respect to which disagreement has been expressed.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(1) (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.30 Furnishing the Statement of the Case and instructions for filing a Substantive Appeal.

(a) To whom the Statement of the Case is furnished. The Statement of the Case will be forwarded to the appellant at the latest address of record and a separate copy provided to his or her representative (if any).


(b) Information furnished with the Statement of the Case. With the Statement of the Case, the appellant and the representative will be furnished information on the right to file, and time limit for filing, a substantive appeal; information on hearing and representation rights; a VA Form 9, “Appeal to Board of Veterans’ Appeals”; and a statement describing the available review options if the appellant elects review of the issue or issues on appeal in the modernized review system.


(Authority: Sec. 2, Pub. L. 115-55; 131 Stat. 1105; 38 U.S.C. 7105 (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 20449, May 7, 1996; 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 19.31 Supplemental statement of the case.

(a) Purpose and limitations. A “Supplemental Statement of the Case,” so identified, is a document prepared by the agency of original jurisdiction to inform the appellant of any material changes in, or additions to, the information included in the Statement of the Case or any prior Supplemental Statement of the Case. The information furnished with the Supplemental Statement of the Case shall include a statement describing the available review options if the appellant elects review of the issue or issues on appeal in the modernized system. In no case will a Supplemental Statement of the Case be used to announce decisions by the agency of original jurisdiction on issues not previously addressed in the Statement of the Case, or to respond to a notice of disagreement on newly appealed issues that were not addressed in the Statement of the Case. The agency of original jurisdiction will respond to notices of disagreement on newly appealed issues not addressed in the Statement of the Case using the procedures in §§ 19.29 and 19.30 of this part (relating to statements of the case).


(b) When furnished. The agency of original jurisdiction will furnish the appellant and his or her representative, if any, a Supplemental Statement of the Case if:


(1) The agency of original jurisdiction receives additional pertinent evidence after a Statement of the Case or the most recent Supplemental Statement of the Case has been issued and before the appeal is certified to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and the appellate record is transferred to the Board;


(2) A material defect in the Statement of the Case or a prior Supplemental statement of the Case is discovered; or


(3) For any other reason the Statement of the Case or a prior Supplemental Statement of the Case is inadequate.


(c) Pursuant to remand from the Board. The agency of original jurisdiction will issue a Supplemental Statement of the Case if, pursuant to a remand by the Board, it develops the evidence or cures a procedural defect, unless:


(1) The only purpose of the remand is to assemble records previously considered by the agency of original jurisdiction and properly discussed in a prior Statement of the Case or Supplemental Statement of the Case; or


(2) The Board specifies in the remand that a Supplemental Statement of the Case is not required.


(d) Exception. Paragraph (b)(1) of this section does not apply in proceedings before the General Counsel conducted under part 14 of this chapter to cancel accreditation or to review fee agreements and expenses for reasonableness.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5902, 5903, 5904; 38 U.S.C. 7105(d) (2016))

[67 FR 3104, Jan. 23, 2002, as amended at 73 FR 29879, May 22, 2008; 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.32 Closing of appeal for failure to respond to Statement of the Case.

The agency of original jurisdiction may close the appeal without notice to an appellant or his or her representative for failure to respond to a Statement of the Case within the period allowed. However, if a Substantive Appeal is subsequently received within the 1-year appeal period (60-day appeal period for simultaneously contested claims), the appeal will be considered to be reactivated.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(3) (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.33 [Reserved]

§ 19.34 Determination that Notice of Disagreement or Substantive Appeal was not timely filed protested by claimant or representative.

Whether a Notice of Disagreement or Substantive Appeal has been filed on time is an appealable issue. If the claimant or his or her representative protests an adverse determination made by the agency of original jurisdiction with respect to timely filing of the Notice of Disagreement or Substantive Appeal, the claimant will be furnished a Statement of the Case.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105 (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.35 Certification of appeals.

Following receipt of a timely Substantive Appeal, the agency of original jurisdiction will certify the case to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The certification is used for administrative purposes and does not serve to either confer or deprive the Board of Veterans’ Appeals of jurisdiction over an issue.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105 (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 20449, May 7, 1996; 66 FR 53339, Oct. 22, 2001; 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.36 Notification of certification of appeal and transfer of appellate record.

When an appeal is certified to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals for appellate review and the appellate record is transferred to the Board, the appellant and his or her representative, if any, will be notified in writing of the certification and transfer and of the time limit for requesting a change in representation, for requesting a personal hearing, and for submitting additional evidence described in Rule 1305 (§ 20.1305 of this chapter). Provisions in this section for submitting additional evidence and references to § 20.1305 do not apply in proceedings before the General Counsel conducted under part 14 of this chapter to suspend or cancel accreditation or to review fee agreements and expenses for reasonableness.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5902, 5903; 38 U.S.C. 5904, 7105 (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 73 FR 29879, May 22, 2008; 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.37 Consideration of additional evidence received by the agency of original jurisdiction after an appeal has been initiated.

(a) Evidence received prior to transfer of records to Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Evidence received by the agency of original jurisdiction prior to transfer of the records to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals after an appeal has been initiated (including evidence received after certification has been completed) will be referred to the appropriate rating or authorization activity for review and disposition. If the Statement of the Case and any prior Supplemental Statements of the Case were prepared before the receipt of the additional evidence, a Supplemental Statement of the Case will be furnished to the appellant and his or her representative as provided in § 19.31 of this part, unless the additional evidence received duplicates evidence previously of record which was discussed in the Statement of the Case or a prior Supplemental Statement of the Case or the additional evidence is not relevant to the issue, or issues, on appeal.


(b) Evidence received after transfer of records to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Additional evidence received by the agency of original jurisdiction after the records have been transferred to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals for appellate consideration will be forwarded to the Board if it has a bearing on the appellate issue or issues. The Board will then determine what action is required with respect to the additional evidence.


(c) The provisions of this section do not apply in proceedings before the General Counsel conducted under part 14 of this chapter to cancel accreditation or to review fee agreements and expenses for reasonableness.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5902, 5903, 5904; 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(1) (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 73 FR 29879, May 22, 2008; 84 FR 178, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.38 Action by agency of original jurisdiction when remand received.

When a case is remanded by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, the agency of original jurisdiction will complete the additional development of the evidence or procedural development required. Following completion of the development, the case will be reviewed to determine whether the additional development, together with the evidence which was previously of record, supports the allowance of all benefits sought on appeal. If so, the appellant and his or her representative, if any, will be promptly informed. If any benefits sought on appeal remain denied following this review, the agency of original jurisdiction will issue a Supplemental Statement of the Case concerning the additional development pertaining to those issues in accordance with the provisions of § 19.31 of this part. Following the 30-day period allowed for a response to the Supplemental Statement of the Case pursuant to § 19.52(c), the case will be returned to the Board for further appellate processing unless the appeal is withdrawn or review of the response to the Supplemental Statement of the Case results in the allowance of all benefits sought on appeal. Remanded cases will not be closed for failure to respond to the Supplemental Statement of the Case.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(1) (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 69 FR 53808, Sept. 3, 2004; 73 FR 40748, July 16, 2008; 84 FR 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 19.39-19.49 [Reserved]

Subpart C – Claimant Action in a Legacy Appeal

§ 19.50 Who can file an appeal.

(a) Persons authorized. A Notice of Disagreement and/or a Substantive Appeal may be filed by a claimant personally, or by his or her representative if a proper Power of Attorney or declaration of representation, as applicable, is on record or accompanies such Notice of Disagreement or Substantive Appeal.


(b) Claimant rated incompetent by Department of Veterans Affairs or under disability and unable to file. If an appeal is not filed by a person listed in paragraph (a) of this section, and the claimant is rated incompetent by the Department of Veterans Affairs or has a physical, mental, or legal disability which prevents the filing of an appeal on his or her own behalf, a Notice of Disagreement and a Substantive Appeal may be filed by a fiduciary appointed to manage the claimant’s affairs by the Department of Veterans Affairs or a court, or by a person acting as next friend if the appointed fiduciary fails to take needed action or no fiduciary has been appointed.


(c) Claimant under disability and able to file. Notwithstanding the fact that a fiduciary may have been appointed for a claimant, an appeal filed by a claimant will be accepted.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(b)(2) (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.51 Place of filing Notice of Disagreement and Substantive Appeal.

The Notice of Disagreement and Substantive Appeal must be filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs office from which the claimant received notice of the determination being appealed unless notice has been received that the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs records have been transferred to another Department of Veterans Affairs office. In that case, the Notice of Disagreement or Substantive Appeal must be filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs office which has assumed jurisdiction over the applicable records.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(b)(1), (d)(3) (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 19.52 Time limit for filing Notice of Disagreement, Substantive Appeal, and response to Supplemental Statement of the Case.

(a) Notice of Disagreement. Except in the case of simultaneously contested claims, a claimant, or his or her representative, must file a Notice of Disagreement with a determination by the agency of original jurisdiction within one year from the date that that agency mails notice of the determination to him or her. Otherwise, that determination will become final. The date of mailing the letter of notification of the determination will be presumed to be the same as the date of that letter for purposes of determining whether an appeal has been timely filed.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(b)(1) (2016))

(b) Substantive Appeal – (1) General. Except in the case of simultaneously contested claims, a Substantive Appeal must be filed within 60 days from the date that the agency of original jurisdiction mails the Statement of the Case to the appellant, or within the remainder of the 1-year period from the date of mailing of the notification of the determination being appealed, whichever period ends later. The date of mailing of the Statement of the Case will be presumed to be the same as the date of the Statement of the Case and the date of mailing the letter of notification of the determination will be presumed to be the same as the date of that letter for purposes of determining whether an appeal has been timely filed.


(2) Special rule in certain cases where additional evidence is submitted. Except in the case of simultaneously contested claims, if (i) a claimant submits additional evidence within 1 year of the date of mailing of the notification of the determination being appealed, and (ii) that evidence requires, in accordance with § 19.31 of this title, that the claimant be furnished a Supplemental Statement of the Case, then the time to submit a Substantive Appeal shall end not sooner than 60 days after such Supplemental Statement of the Case is mailed to the appellant, even if the 60-day period extends beyond the expiration of the 1-year appeal period.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(b)(1), (d)(3) (2016))

(c) Response to Supplemental Statement of the Case. Where a Supplemental Statement of the Case is furnished, a period of 30 days from the date of mailing of the Supplemental Statement of the Case will be allowed for response. The date of mailing of the Supplemental Statement of the Case will be presumed to be the same as the date of the Supplemental Statement of the Case for purposes of determining whether a response has been timely filed. Provided a Substantive Appeal has been timely filed in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section, the response to a Supplemental Statement of the Case is optional and is not required for the perfection of an appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(3) (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 66 FR 50318, Oct. 3, 2001; 68 FR 64806, Nov. 17, 2003; 73 FR 40748, July 16, 2008. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.53 Extension of time for filing Substantive Appeal and response to Supplemental Statement of the Case.

An extension of the 60-day period for filing a Substantive Appeal, or the 30-day period for responding to a Supplemental Statement of the Case, may be granted for good cause. A request for such an extension must be in writing and must be made prior to expiration of the time limit for filing the Substantive Appeal or the response to the Supplemental Statement of the Case. The request for extension must be filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs office from which the claimant received notice of the determination being appealed, unless notice has been received that the applicable records have been transferred to another Department of Veterans Affairs office. A denial of a request for extension may be appealed to the Board.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(3) (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 73 FR 40748, July 16, 2008. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.54 Filing additional evidence does not extend time limit for appeal.

Except as provided in § 19.52(b), the filing of additional evidence after receipt of notice of an adverse determination does not extend the time limit for initiating or completing an appeal from that determination.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105 (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 66 FR 50318, Oct. 3, 2001. Redesignated by correction at 84 FR 4336, Feb. 15, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.55 Withdrawal of Appeal.

(a) When and by whom filed. Only an appellant, or an appellant’s authorized representative, may withdraw an appeal. An appeal may be withdrawn as to any or all issues involved in the appeal.


(b) Filing – (1) Content. Appeal withdrawals must include the name of the veteran, the name of the claimant or appellant if other than the veteran (e.g., a veteran’s survivor, a guardian, or a fiduciary appointed to receive VA benefits on an individual’s behalf), the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number, and a statement that the appeal is withdrawn. If the appeal involves multiple issues, the withdrawal must specify that the appeal is withdrawn in its entirety, or list the issue(s) withdrawn from the appeal.


(2) Where to file. Appeal withdrawals should be filed with the agency of original jurisdiction until the appellant or representative filing the withdrawal receives notice that the appeal has been transferred to the Board. Thereafter, file the withdrawal at the Board.


(3) When effective. Until the appeal is transferred to the Board, an appeal withdrawal is effective when received by the agency of original jurisdiction. Thereafter, it is not effective until received by the Board. A withdrawal received by the Board after the Board issues a final decision under Rule 1100(a) (§ 20.1100(a) of this chapter) will not be effective.


(c) Effect of filing. Withdrawal of an appeal will be deemed a withdrawal of the Notice of Disagreement and, if filed, the Substantive Appeal, as to all issues to which the withdrawal applies. Withdrawal does not preclude filing a new Notice of Disagreement and, after a Statement of the Case is issued, a new Substantive Appeal, as to any issue withdrawn, provided such filings would be timely under these rules if the appeal withdrawn had never been filed.


(Authority 38 U.S.C. 7105(b), (d) (2016))

[68 FR 13236, Mar. 19, 2003, as amended at 81 FR 32649, May 24, 2016. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 19.56-19.74 [Reserved]

Subpart D [Reserved]

Subpart E – Simultaneously Contested Claims

§ 19.100 Notification of right to appeal in simultaneously contested claims.

All interested parties will be specifically notified of the action taken by the agency of original jurisdiction in a simultaneously contested claim and of the right and time limit for initiation of an appeal, as well as hearing and representation rights.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(a) (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.101 Notice to contesting parties on receipt of Notice of Disagreement in simultaneously contested claims.

Upon the filing of a Notice of Disagreement in a simultaneously contested claim, all interested parties and their representatives will be furnished a copy of the Statement of the Case. The Statement of the Case so furnished will contain only information which directly affects the payment or potential payment of the benefit(s) which is (are) the subject of that contested claim. The interested parties who filed Notices of Disagreement will be duly notified of the right to file, and the time limit within which to file, a Substantive Appeal and will be furnished with VA Form 9, “Appeal to Board of Veterans’ Appeals.”


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(b) (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 20449, May 7, 1996; 84 FR 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 19.102 Notice of appeal to other contesting parties in simultaneously contested claims.

When a Substantive Appeal is filed in a simultaneously contested claim, the content of the Substantive Appeal will be furnished to the other contesting parties to the extent that it contains information which could directly affect the payment or potential payment of the benefit which is the subject of the contested claim.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(b) (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 19.103-19.199 [Reserved]

PART 20 – BOARD OF VETERANS’ APPEALS: RULES OF PRACTICE


Authority:38 U.S.C. 501(a) and as noted in specific sections.


Source:57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – General

§ 20.1 Rule 1. Purpose and construction of Rules of Practice.

(a) Purpose. These rules establish the practices and procedures governing appeals to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 7102, 7104)

(b) Construction. These rules are to be construed to secure a just and speedy decision in every appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 5107, 7104)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.2 Rule 2. Procedure in absence of specific Rule of Practice.

Where in any instance there is no applicable rule or procedure, the Chairman may prescribe a procedure which is consistent with the provisions of title 38, United States Code, and these rules.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 512(a), 7102, 7104)


§ 20.3 Rule 3. Definitions.

As used in these Rules:


(a) Agency of original jurisdiction means the Department of Veterans Affairs activity or administration, that is, the Veterans Benefits Administration, Veterans Health Administration, or National Cemetery Administration, that made the initial determination on a claim.


(b) Agent means a person who has met the standards and qualifications for accreditation outlined in § 14.629(b) of this chapter and who has been properly designated under the provisions of § 14.631 of this chapter. It does not include representatives accredited under § 14.629(a) of this chapter, attorneys accredited under § 14.629(b) of this chapter, or a person authorized to represent a claimant for a particular claim under § 14.630 of this chapter.


(c) Appellant means a claimant who has filed an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals either as a legacy appeal or in the modernized review system, as those terms are defined in § 19.2 of this chapter, and Rule 4 (§ 20.4 of this part), respectively.


(d) Attorney-at-law means a member in good standing of a State bar.


(e) Benefit means any payment, service, commodity, function, or status, entitlement to which is determined under laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs pertaining to veterans and their dependents and survivors.


(f) Claim means a written communication requesting a determination of entitlement or evidencing a belief in entitlement, to a specific benefit under the laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs submitted on an application form prescribed by the Secretary.


(g) Claimant means a person who has filed a claim, as defined by paragraph (f) of this section.


(h) Hearing on appeal or Board hearing means a hearing conducted after a Notice of Disagreement has been filed in which testimony is presented concerning the determination, or determinations, by the agency of original jurisdiction being appealed.


(i) Motion means a request that the Board rule on some question which is subsidiary to the ultimate decision on the outcome of an appeal. For example, a request to correct a hearing transcript (see Rule 714 (§ 20.714)) is raised by motion. Unless raised orally at a personal hearing before Members of the Board, motions for consideration by the Board must be made in writing. No formal type of document is required. The motion may be in the form of a letter which contains the necessary information.


(j) Past-due benefits means a nonrecurring payment resulting from a benefit, or benefits, granted on appeal or awarded on the basis of a claim readjudicated after a denial by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals or the lump sum payment which represents the total amount of recurring cash payments which accrued between the effective date of the award, as determined by applicable laws and regulations, and the date of the grant of the benefit by the agency of original jurisdiction, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, or an appellate court.


(k) Presiding Member means that Member of the Board who presides over a hearing, whether conducted as a single Member or panel hearing.


(l) Simultaneously contested claim refers to the situation in which the allowance of one claim results in the disallowance of another claim involving the same benefit or the allowance of one claim results in the payment of a lesser benefit to another claimant.


(m) State includes any State, possession, territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, as well as the District of Columbia.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 20449, May 7, 1996; 67 FR 36104, May 23, 2002; 69 FR 53808, Sept. 3, 2004; 79 FR 57698, Sept. 25, 2014; 84 FR 179, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.4 Rule 4. Appeal systems definitions and applicability provisions.

(a) Appeal – (1) In general. An appeal consists of a Notice of Disagreement timely filed to the Board on any issue or issues for which VA provided notice of a decision under 38 U.S.C. 5104 on or after the effective date, as defined in § 19.2(a) of this chapter.


(2) Appellant’s election for review of a legacy claim or appeal in the modernized review system. The regulations applicable to appeals are also applicable to legacy claims and appeals, as those terms are defined in §§ 3.2400(b) and 19.2(c) of this chapter, where the claimant elects the modernized review system pursuant to § 19.2(d) of this chapter, and upon the timely filing to the Board of a Notice of Disagreement.


(b) Applicability of parts 19 and 20 – (1) Appeals. Subparts C, D, E, and I of part 20 apply only to the processing and adjudication of appeals in the modernized review system.


(2) Legacy claims and appeals. Part 19 and subparts F, G, and J of part 20 apply only to the processing and adjudication of legacy claims and appeals.


(3) Both appeals systems. Except as otherwise provided in specific sections, subparts A, B, H, K, L, M, N, and O of part 20 apply to the processing and adjudication of both appeals and legacy claims and appeals.


(Authority: Sec. 2, Pub. L. 115-55; 131 Stat. 1105)

[84 FR 180, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.5 Rule 5. Right to representation.

An appellant will be accorded full right to representation in all stages of an appeal by a recognized organization, attorney, agent, or other authorized person.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5901-5905, 7105(a))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 184, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.6 Rule 6. Withdrawal of services by a representative.

(a)(1) Applicability. The restrictions on a representative’s right to withdraw contained in this paragraph apply only to those cases in which the representative has previously agreed to act as representative in an appeal. In addition to express agreement, orally or in writing, such agreement shall be presumed if the representative makes an appearance in the case by acting on an appellant’s behalf before the Board in any way after the appellant has designated the representative as such as provided in § 14.630 or § 14.631 of this chapter. The preceding sentence notwithstanding, an appearance in an appeal solely to notify the Board that a designation of representation has not been accepted will not be presumed to constitute such consent.


(2) Procedures. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of this section, after an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals has been filed, a representative may not withdraw services as representative in the appeal unless good cause is shown on motion. Good cause for such purposes is the extended illness or incapacitation of an agent admitted to practice before the Department of Veterans Affairs, an attorney-at-law, or other individual representative; failure of the appellant to cooperate with proper preparation and presentation of the appeal; or other factors which make the continuation of representation impossible, impractical, or unethical. Such motions must be in writing and must include the name of the veteran, the name of the claimant or appellant if other than the veteran (e.g., a veteran’s survivor, a guardian, or a fiduciary appointed to receive VA benefits on an individual’s behalf), the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number, and the reason why withdrawal should be permitted, and a signed statement certifying that a copy of the motion was sent by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the appellant, setting forth the address to which the copy was mailed. Such motions should not contain information which would violate privileged communications or which would otherwise be unethical to reveal. Such motions must be filed at the following address: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038. The appellant may file a response to the motion with the Board at the same address not later than 30 days following receipt of the copy of the motion and must include a signed statement certifying that a copy of the response was sent by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the representative, setting forth the address to which the copy was mailed.


(b) Withdrawal of services prior to certification of a legacy appeal. A representative may withdraw services as representative in a legacy appeal at any time prior to certification of the appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals by the agency of original jurisdiction by complying with the requirements of § 14.631 of this chapter.


(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0085)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5901-5904, 7105(a))

[84 FR 184, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§§ 20.7-20.99 [Reserved]

Subpart B – The Board

§ 20.100 Rule 100. Establishment of the Board.

The Board of Veterans’ Appeals is established by authority of, and functions pursuant to, title 38, United States Code, chapter 71.


[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 180, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.101 Rule 101. Composition of the Board; titles.

(a) The Board consists of a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Deputy Vice Chairmen, Members and professional, administrative, clerical and stenographic personnel. Deputy Vice Chairmen are Members of the Board who are appointed to that office by the Secretary upon the recommendation of the Chairman.


(b) A Member of the Board (other than the Chairman) may also be known as a Veterans Law Judge. An individual designated as an acting member pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 7101(c)(1) may also be known as an acting Veterans Law Judge.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 512, 7101(a))

[68 FR 6625, Feb. 10, 2003. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4336, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.102 Rule 102. Name, business hours, and mailing address of the Board.

(a) Name. The name of the Board is the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.


(b) Business hours. The Board is open during business hours on all days except Saturday, Sunday and legal holidays. Business hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


(c) Mailing address. The mailing address of the Board is: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038. Mail to the Board that is not related to an appeal must be addressed to: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, 810 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20420.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7101(a))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 81 FR 32649, May 24, 2016. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 180, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.103 Rule 103. Principal functions of the Board.

The principal functions of the Board are to make determinations of appellate jurisdiction, consider all applications on appeal properly before it, conduct hearings on appeal, evaluate the evidence of record, and enter decisions in writing on the questions presented on appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7104, 7107)

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 19, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.104 Rule 104. Jurisdiction of the Board.

(a) General. All questions of law and fact necessary to a decision by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under a law that affects the provision of benefits by the Secretary to veterans or their dependents or survivors are subject to review on appeal to the Secretary. Decisions in such appeals are made by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Examples of the issues over which the Board has jurisdiction include, but are not limited to, the following:


(1) Entitlement to, and benefits resulting from, service-connected disability or death (38 U.S.C. chapter 11).


(2) Dependency and indemnity compensation for service-connected death, including benefits in certain cases of inservice or service-connected deaths (38 U.S.C. 1312) and certification and entitlement to death gratuity (38 U.S.C. 1323).


(3) Benefits for survivors of certain veterans rated totally disabled at time of death (38 U.S.C. 1318).


(4) Entitlement to nonservice-connected disability pension, service pension and death pension (38 U.S.C. chapter 15).


(5) All-Volunteer Force Educational Assistance Program (38 U.S.C. chapter 30).


(6) Training and Rehabilitation for Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities (38 U.S.C. chapter 31).


(7) Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance (38 U.S.C. chapter 32).


(8) Veterans’ Educational Assistance (38 U.S.C. chapter 34).


(9) Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (38 U.S.C. chapter 35).


(10) Veterans’ Job Training (Pub. L. 98-77, as amended; 38 CFR 21.4600 et seq.).


(11) Educational Assistance for Members of the Selected Reserve (10 U.S.C. chapter 106).


(12) Educational Assistance Test Program (10 U.S.C. chapter 107; 38 CFR 21.5701 et seq.).


(13) Educational Assistance Pilot Program (10 U.S.C. chapter 107; 38 CFR 21.5290 et seq.).


(14) Matters arising under National Service Life Insurance and United States Government Life Insurance (38 U.S.C. chapter 19).


(15) Payment or reimbursement for unauthorized medical expenses (38 U.S.C. 1728).


(16) Burial benefits and burial in National Cemeteries (38 U.S.C. chapters 23 and 24).


(17) Benefits for persons disabled by medical treatment or vocational rehabilitation (38 U.S.C. 1151).


(18) Basic eligibility for home, condominium and mobile home loans as well as waiver of payment of loan guaranty indebtedness (38 U.S.C. chapter 37, 38 U.S.C. 5302).


(19) Waiver of recovery of overpayments (38 U.S.C. 5302).


(20) Forfeiture of rights, claims or benefits for fraud, treason, or subversive activities (38 U.S.C. 6102-6105).


(21) Character of discharge (38 U.S.C. 5303).


(22) Determinations as to duty status (38 U.S.C. 101(21)-(24)).


(23) Determinations as to marital status (38 U.S.C. 101(3), 103).


(24) Determination of dependency status as parent or child (38 U.S.C. 101(4), (5)).


(25) Validity of claims and effective dates of benefits (38 U.S.C. chapter 51).


(26) Apportionment of benefits (38 U.S.C. 5307).


(27) Payment of benefits while a veteran is hospitalized and questions regarding an estate of an incompetent institutionalized veteran (38 U.S.C. 5503).


(28) Benefits for surviving spouses and children of deceased veterans under Public Law 97-377, section 156 (38 CFR 3.812(d)).


(29) Eligibility for automobile and automobile adaptive equipment assistance (38 U.S.C. chapter 39).


(b) Appellate jurisdiction of determinations of the Veterans Health Administration. The Board’s appellate jurisdiction extends to questions of eligibility for hospitalization, outpatient treatment, and nursing home and domiciliary care; for devices such as prostheses, canes, wheelchairs, back braces, orthopedic shoes, and similar appliances; and for other benefits administered by the Veterans Health Administration. Medical determinations, such as determinations of the need for and appropriateness of specific types of medical care and treatment for an individual, are not adjudicative matters and are beyond the Board’s jurisdiction. Typical examples of these issues are whether a particular drug should be prescribed, whether a specific type of physiotherapy should be ordered, and similar judgmental treatment decisions with which an attending physician may be faced.


(c) Authority to determine jurisdiction. The Board shall decide all questions pertaining to its jurisdictional authority to review a particular case. When the Board, on its own initiative, raises a question as to a potential jurisdictional defect, all parties to the proceeding and their representative(s), if any, will be given notice of the potential jurisdictional defect(s) and granted a period of 60 days following the date on which such notice is mailed to present written argument and additional evidence relevant to jurisdiction and to request a hearing to present oral argument on the jurisdictional question(s). The date of mailing of the notice will be presumed to be the same as the date stamped on the letter of notification. The Board may dismiss any case over which it determines it does not have jurisdiction.


(d)(1) Appeals as to jurisdiction in legacy claims and appeals. All claimants in legacy appeals, as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter, have the right to appeal a determination made by the agency of original jurisdiction that the Board does not have jurisdictional authority to review a particular case. Jurisdictional questions which a claimant may appeal, include, but are not limited to, questions relating to the timely filing and adequacy of the Notice of Disagreement and the Substantive Appeal.


(Authority: Sec. 2, Pub. L. 115-55; 131 Stat. 1105)

(2) Application of 20.904 and 20.1305. Section 20.904 of this part shall not apply to proceedings to determine the Board’s own jurisdiction. However, the Board may remand a case to an agency of original jurisdiction in order to obtain assistance in securing evidence of jurisdictional facts. The time restrictions on requesting a hearing and submitting additional evidence in § 20.1305 of this part do not apply to a hearing requested, or evidence submitted, under paragraph (c) of this section.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 511(a), 7104, 7105, 7108)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 66 FR 53339, Oct. 22, 2001. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 180, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 20.105 Rule 105. Criteria governing disposition of appeals.

In the consideration of appeals and in its decisions, the Board is bound by applicable statutes, regulations of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and precedent opinions of the General Counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Board is not bound by Department manuals, circulars, or similar administrative issues.


[84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.106 Rule 106. Assignment of proceedings.

(a) Assignment. The Chairman may assign a proceeding instituted before the Board, including any motion, to an individual Member or to a panel of three or more Members for adjudication or other appropriate action. The Chairman may participate in a proceeding assigned to a panel of Members.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102)

(b) Inability to serve. If a Member is unable to participate in the disposition of a proceeding or motion to which the Member has been assigned, the Chairman may assign the proceeding or motion to another Member or substitute another Member (in the case of a proceeding or motion assigned to a panel).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7101(a), 7102)

[61 FR 20448, May 7, 1996. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.107 Rule 107. Disqualification of Members.

(a) General. A Member of the Board will disqualify himself or herself in a hearing or decision on an appeal if that appeal involves a determination in which he or she participated or had supervisory responsibility in the agency of original jurisdiction prior to his or her appointment as a Member of the Board, or where there are other circumstances which might give the impression of bias either for or against the appellant.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7104)

(b) Disqualification of Members by the Chairman. The Chairman of the Board, on his or her own motion, may disqualify a Member from acting in an appeal on the grounds set forth in paragraph (a) of this section and in those cases where a Member is unable or unwilling to act.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7104, 7106)

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 20449, May 7, 1996. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.108 Rule 108. Delegation of authority to Chairman and Vice Chairman, Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

The Chairman and/or Vice Chairman have authority delegated by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to:


(a) Approve the assumption of appellate jurisdiction of an adjudicative determination which has not become final in order to grant a benefit, and


(b) Order VA Central Office investigations of matters before the Board.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 303, 512(a))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.109 Rule 109. Delegation of authority to Vice Chairman, Deputy Vice Chairmen, or Members of the Board.

(a) The authority exercised by the Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals described in Rules 106(b) and 107(b) (§§ 20.106(b) and 20.107(b)) may also be exercised by the Vice Chairman of the Board.


(b) The authority exercised by the Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals described in Rules 1004 and 1002(c) (§§ 20.1004 and 20.1002(c)) may also be exercised by the Vice Chairman of the Board and by Deputy Vice Chairmen of the Board.


(c) The authority exercised by the Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals described in Rule 2 (§ 20.2), may also be exercised by the Vice Chairman of the Board; by Deputy Vice Chairmen of the Board; and, in connection with a proceeding or motion assigned to them by the Chairman, by a Member or Members of the Board.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 512(a), 7102, 7104)

[84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.110 Rule 110. Computation of time limit for filing.

(a) Acceptance of postmark date. When these Rules require that any written document be filed within a specified period of time, a response postmarked prior to expiration of the applicable time limit will be accepted as having been timely filed. In the event that the postmark is not of record, the postmark date will be presumed to be five days prior to the date of receipt of the document by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In calculating this 5-day period, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays will be excluded.


(b) Computation of time limit. In computing the time limit for filing a written document, the first day of the specified period will be excluded and the last day included. Where the time limit would expire on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the next succeeding workday will be included in the computation.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 182, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.111 Rule 111. Legal holidays.

For the purpose of Rule 110 (§ 20.110), the legal holidays, in addition to any other day appointed as a holiday by the President or the Congress of the United States, are as follows: New Year’s Day – January 1; Inauguration Day – January 20 of every fourth year or, if the 20th falls on a Sunday, the next succeeding day selected for public observance of the inauguration; Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. – Third Monday in January; Washington’s Birthday – Third Monday in February; Memorial Day – Last Monday in May; Independence Day – July 4; Labor Day – First Monday in September; Columbus Day – Second Monday in October; Veterans Day – November 11; Thanksgiving Day – Fourth Thursday in November; and Christmas Day – December 25. When a holiday occurs on a Saturday, the Friday immediately before is the legal public holiday. When a holiday occurs on a Sunday, the Monday immediately after is the legal public holiday.


(Authority: 5 U.S.C. 6103)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 182, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 20.112-20.199 [Reserved]

Subpart C – Commencement and Filing of Appeals


Source:84 FR 180, Jan. 18, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

§ 20.200 Rule 200. Notification by agency of original jurisdiction of right to appeal.

The claimant and his or her representative, if any, will be informed of appellate rights provided by 38 U.S.C. chapters 71 and 72, including the right to a personal hearing and the right to representation. The agency of original jurisdiction will provide this information in each notification of a determination of entitlement or nonentitlement to Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 5104, 5104B, and 5108.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(a))


§ 20.201 Rule 201. What constitutes an appeal.

An appeal of a decision by the agency of original jurisdiction consists of a Notice of Disagreement submitted to the Board in accordance with the provisions of §§ 20.202-20.204.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105)


§ 20.202 Rule 202. Notice of Disagreement.

(a) In general. A Notice of Disagreement must be properly completed on a form prescribed by the Secretary. If the agency of original jurisdiction decision addressed several issues, the Notice of Disagreement must identify the specific decision and issue or issues therein with which the claimant disagrees. The term issue means an adjudication of a specific entitlement as described in 38 CFR 3.151(c). The Board will construe such arguments in a liberal manner for purposes of determining whether they raise issues on appeal, but the Board may dismiss any appeal which fails to identify the specific decision and issue or issues therein with which the claimant disagrees.


(b) Review options. Upon filing the Notice of Disagreement, a claimant must indicate whether the claimant requests:


(1) Direct review by the Board of the record before the agency of original jurisdiction at the time of its decision, without submission of additional evidence or a Board hearing;


(2) A Board hearing, to include an opportunity to submit additional evidence at the hearing and within 90 days following the hearing; or


(3) An opportunity to submit additional evidence without a Board hearing with the Notice of Disagreement and within 90 days following receipt of the Notice of Disagreement.


(c)(1) The information indicated by the claimant in paragraph (b) of this section determines the evidentiary record before the Board as described in subpart D of this part, and the docket on which the appeal will be placed, as described in Rule 800 (§ 20.800). Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (2) of this section, the Board will not consider evidence as described in Rules 302 or 303 (§§ 20.302 and 20.303) unless the claimant requests a Board hearing or an opportunity to submit additional evidence on the Notice of Disagreement.


(2) A claimant may modify the information identified in the Notice of Disagreement for the purpose of selecting a different evidentiary record option as described in paragraph (b) of this section. Requests to modify a Notice of Disagreement must be made by completing a new Notice of Disagreement on a form prescribed by the Secretary, and must be received at the Board within one year from the date that the agency of original jurisdiction mails notice of the decision on appeal, or within 60 days of the date that the Board receives the Notice of Disagreement, whichever is later. Requests to modify a Notice of Disagreement will not be granted if the appellant has submitted evidence or testimony as described in §§ 20.302 and 20.303.


(d) Standard form required. The Board will not accept as a Notice of Disagreement an expression of dissatisfaction or disagreement with an adjudicative determination by the agency of original jurisdiction and a desire to contest the result that is submitted in any format other than the form prescribed by the Secretary, including on a different VA form.


(e) Alternate form or other communication. The filing of an alternate form or other communication will not extend, toll, or otherwise delay the time limit for filing a Notice of Disagreement, as provided in § 20.203(b). In particular, returning the incorrect VA form does not extend, toll, or otherwise delay the time limit for filing the correct form.


(f) Unclear Notice of Disagreement. If within one year after mailing an adverse decision (or 60 days for simultaneously contested claims), the Board receives a Notice of Disagreement completed on the form prescribed by the Secretary, but the Board cannot identify which denied issue or issues the claimant wants to appeal or which option the claimant intends to select under paragraph (b) of this section, then the Board will contact the claimant to request clarification of the claimant’s intent.


(g) Response required from claimant – (1) Time to respond. The claimant must respond to the Board’s request for clarification on or before the later of the following dates:


(i) 60 days after the date of the Board’s clarification request; or


(ii) One year after the date of mailing of notice of the adverse decision being appealed (60 days for simultaneously contested claims).


(2) Failure to respond. If the claimant fails to provide a timely response, the previous communication from the claimant will not be considered a Notice of Disagreement as to any claim for which clarification was requested. The Board will not consider the claimant to have appealed the decision(s) on any claim(s) as to which clarification was requested and not received.


(h) Action following clarification. The unclear Notice of Disagreement is properly completed, and thereby filed, under paragraph (a) of this section when the Board receives the clarification.


(i) Representatives and fiduciaries. For the purpose of the requirements in paragraphs (f) through (h) of this section, references to the “claimant” include reference to the claimant or his or her representative, if any, or to his or her fiduciary, if any, as appropriate.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105)

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0674)


§ 20.203 Rule 203. Place and time of filing of Notice of Disagreement.

(a) Place of filing. The Notice of Disagreement must be filed with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038.


(b) Time of filing. Except as provided in § 20.402 for simultaneously contested claims, a claimant, or his or her representative, must file a properly completed Notice of Disagreement with a decision by the agency of original jurisdiction within one year from the date that the agency mails the notice of the decision. The date of mailing the letter of notification of the decision will be presumed to be the same as the date of that letter for purposes of determining whether an appeal has been timely filed.


(c) Extension of time of filing. An extension of the period for filing a Notice of Disagreement or a request to modify a Notice of Disagreement may be granted for good cause. A request for such an extension must be in writing and must be filed with the Board. Whether good cause for an extension has been established will be determined by the Board.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105)


§ 20.204 Rule 204. Who can file a Notice of Disagreement.

(a) Persons authorized. A Notice of Disagreement may be filed by a claimant personally, or by his or her representative if a proper Power of Attorney is on record or accompanies such Notice of Disagreement.


(b) Claimant rated incompetent by Department of Veterans Affairs or under disability and unable to file. If an appeal is not filed by a person listed in paragraph (a) of this section, and the claimant is rated incompetent by the Department of Veterans Affairs or has a physical, mental, or legal disability which prevents the filing of an appeal on his or her own behalf, a Notice of Disagreement may be filed by a fiduciary appointed to manage the claimant’s affairs by the Department of Veterans Affairs or a court, or by a person acting as next friend if the appointed fiduciary fails to take needed action or no fiduciary has been appointed.


(c) Claimant under disability and able to file. Notwithstanding the fact that a fiduciary may have been appointed for a claimant, an appeal filed by a claimant will be accepted.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(b)(2)(A))


§ 20.205 Rule 205. Withdrawal of appeal.

(a) When and by whom filed. Only an appellant, or an appellant’s authorized representative, may withdraw an appeal. An appeal may be withdrawn as to any or all issues involved in the appeal.


(b) Filing – (1) Content. Appeal withdrawals must include the name of the veteran, the name of the claimant or appellant if other than the veteran (e.g., a veteran’s survivor, a guardian, or a fiduciary appointed to receive VA benefits on an individual’s behalf), the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number, and a statement that the appeal is withdrawn. If the appeal involves multiple issues, the withdrawal must specify that the appeal is withdrawn in its entirety, or list the issue(s) withdrawn from the appeal.


(2) Where to file. Appeal withdrawals should be filed with the Board.


(3) When effective. An appeal withdrawal is effective when received by the Board. A withdrawal received after the Board issues a final decision under Rule 1100(a) (§ 20.1100(a)) will not be effective.


(c) Effect of filing. Withdrawal of an appeal will be deemed a withdrawal of the Notice of Disagreement as to all issues to which the withdrawal applies. Withdrawal does not preclude filing a new Notice of Disagreement pursuant to this subpart, a request for higher-level review under 38 U.S.C. 5104B, or a supplemental claim under 38 U.S.C. 5108, as to any issue withdrawn, provided such filing would be timely under these rules if the withdrawn appeal had never been filed.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105)


§§ 20.206-20.299 [Reserved]

Subpart D – Evidentiary Record

§ 20.300 Rule 300. General.

(a) Decisions of the Board will be based on a de novo review of the evidence of record at the time of the agency of original jurisdiction decision on the issue or issues on appeal, and any additional evidence or testimony submitted pursuant to this subpart, as provided in § 20.801.


(b) Waiver of appellant’s right to submit evidence. For appeals described in 20.302 and 20.303, an appellant has a right to submit evidence during a period of 90 days, unless this right is waived by the appellant or representative at any time prior to the expiration of the applicable 90-day period. Such a waiver must be in writing or, if a hearing on appeal is conducted pursuant to 20.302, the waiver must be formally and clearly entered on the record orally at the time of the hearing.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104)

[84 FR 182, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.301 Rule 301. Appeals with no request for a Board hearing and no additional evidence.

For appeals in which the appellant requested, on the Notice of Disagreement, direct review by the Board without submission of additional evidence and without a Board hearing, the Board’s decision will be based on a review of the evidence of record at the time of the agency of original jurisdiction decision on the issue or issues on appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105, 7107, 7113(a))

[84 FR 182, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.302 Rule 302. Appeals with a request for a Board hearing.

(a) Except as described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, for appeals in which the appellant requested, on the Notice of Disagreement, a Board hearing, the Board’s decision will be based on a review of the following:


(1) Evidence of record at the time of the agency of original jurisdiction’s decision on the issue or issues on appeal;


(2) Evidence submitted by the appellant or his or her representative at the hearing, to include testimony provided at the hearing; and


(3) Evidence submitted by the appellant or his or her representative within 90 days following the hearing.


(b) In the event that the hearing request is withdrawn pursuant to § 20.704(e), the Board’s decision will be based on a review of evidence described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and evidence submitted by the appellant or his or her representative within 90 days following receipt of the withdrawal.


(c) In the event that the appellant does not appear for a scheduled hearing, and the hearing is not rescheduled subject to § 20.704(d), the Board’s decision will be based on a review of evidence described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and evidence submitted by the appellant or his or her representative within 90 days following the date of the scheduled hearing.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105, 7107, 7113(b))

[84 FR 182, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.303 Rule 303. Appeals with no request for a Board hearing, but with a request for submission of additional evidence.

For appeals in which the appellant requested, on the Notice of Disagreement, an opportunity to submit additional evidence without a Board hearing, the Board’s decision will be based on a review of the following:


(a) Evidence of record at the time of the agency of original jurisdiction’s decision on the issue or issues on appeal; and


(b) Evidence submitted by the appellant or his or her representative:


(1) With the Notice of Disagreement or within 90 days following receipt of the Notice of Disagreement; or,


(2) If the appellant did not request an opportunity to submit additional evidence on the Notice of Disagreement, but subsequently requested to submit additional evidence pursuant to Rule 202 (§ 20.202(c)(2)(ii)), within 90 days following VA’s notice that the appeal has been moved to the docket described in § 20.800(a)(ii).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105, 7107, 7113(c))

[84 FR 182, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§§ 20.304-20.399 [Reserved]

Subpart E – Appeal in Simultaneously Contested Claims


Source:84 FR 182, Jan. 18, 2019, unless otherwise noted.

§ 20.400 Rule 400. Notification of the right to appeal in a simultaneously contested claim.

All interested parties will be specifically notified of the action taken by the agency of original jurisdiction in a simultaneously contested claim and of the right and time limit for submitting a Notice of Disagreement to the Board, as well as hearing and representation rights.


§ 20.401 Rule 401. Who can file an appeal in simultaneously contested claims.

In simultaneously contested claims, any claimant or representative of a claimant may file a Notice of Disagreement within the time limits set out in Rule 402 (§ 20.402).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(b)(2), 7105A)


§ 20.402 Rule 402. Time limits for filing Notice of Disagreement in simultaneously contested claims.

In simultaneously contested claims, the Notice of Disagreement from the person adversely affected must be filed within 60 days from the date of mailing of the notification of the determination to him or her; otherwise, that determination will become final. The date of mailing of the letter of notification will be presumed to be the same as the date of that letter for purposes of determining whether a Notice of Disagreement has been timely filed.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A)


§ 20.403 Rule 403. Notice to contesting parties on receipt of Notice of Disagreement in simultaneously contested claims.

Upon the filing of a Notice of Disagreement in a simultaneously contested claim, all interested parties and their representatives will be furnished a copy of the substance of the Notice of Disagreement. The notice will inform the contesting party or parties of what type of review the appellant who initially filed a Notice of Disagreement selected under § 20.202(b), including whether a hearing was requested.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A)


§ 20.404 Rule 404. Time limit for response to appeal by another contesting party in a simultaneously contested claim.

A party to a simultaneously contested claim may file a brief, argument, or request for a different type of review under § 20.202(b) in answer to a Notice of Disagreement filed by another contesting party. Any such brief, argument, or request must be filed with the Board within 30 days from the date the content of the Notice of Disagreement is furnished as provided in § 20.403. Such content will be presumed to have been furnished on the date of the letter that accompanies the content.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(b)(1))


§ 20.405 Rule 405. Docketing of simultaneously contested claims at the Board.

After expiration of the 30-day period for response in § 20.404, the Board will place all parties of the simultaneously contested claim on the docket for the type of review requested under § 20.202(b). In the event the parties request different types of review, if any party requests a hearing the appeal will be placed on the docket described in § 20.800(a)(iii), and VA will notify the parties that a hearing will be scheduled. If no party requested a hearing, but any party requested the opportunity to submit additional evidence, the appeal will be placed on the docket described in § 20.800(a)(ii), and the parties will be notified of their opportunity to submit additional evidence within 90 days of the date of such notice.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(b)(1))

[84 FR 182, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 20.406 Rule 406. Notices sent to last addresses of record in simultaneously contested claims.

Notices in simultaneously contested claims will be forwarded to the last address of record of the parties concerned and such action will constitute sufficient evidence of notice.


§ 20.407 Rule 407. Favorable findings are not binding in contested claims.

Where a claim is contested, findings favorable to either party, as described in Rule 801 (§ 20.801), are no longer binding on all agency of original jurisdiction and Board of Veterans’ Appeals adjudicators during the pendency of the contested appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(b)(2))

[84 FR 182, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§§ 20.408-20.499 [Reserved]

Subpart F – Legacy Appeal in Simultaneously Contested Claims

§ 20.500 Rule 500. Applicability.

The provisions of this subpart apply to legacy appeals, as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter.


[84 FR 183, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.501 Rule 501. Who can file an appeal in simultaneously contested claims.

In a simultaneously contested claim, any claimant or representative of a claimant may file a Notice of Disagreement or Substantive Appeal within the time limits set out in Rule 502 (§ 20.502).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(b)(2), 7105A (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 183, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.502 Rule 502. Time limits for filing Notice of Disagreement, Substantive Appeal, and response to Supplemental Statement of the Case in simultaneously contested claims.

(a) Notice of Disagreement. In simultaneously contested claims, the Notice of Disagreement from the person adversely affected must be filed within 60 days from the date of mailing of the notification of the determination to him or her; otherwise, that determination will become final. The date of mailing of the letter of notification will be presumed to be the same as the date of that letter for purposes of determining whether a Notice of Disagreement has been timely filed.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(a) (2016))

(b) Substantive Appeal. In the case of simultaneously contested claims, a Substantive Appeal must be filed within 30 days from the date of mailing of the Statement of the Case. The date of mailing of the Statement of the Case will be presumed to be the same as the date of the Statement of the Case for purposes of determining whether an appeal has been timely filed.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(b) (2016))

(c) Supplemental Statement of the Case. Where a Supplemental Statement of the Case is furnished by the agency of original jurisdiction in a simultaneously contested claim, a period of 30 days from the date of mailing of the Supplemental Statement of the Case will be allowed for response, but the receipt of a Supplemental Statement of the Case will not extend the time allowed for filing a Substantive Appeal as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. The date of mailing of the Supplemental Statement of the Case will be presumed to be the same as the date of the Supplemental Statement of the Case for purposes of determining whether a response has been timely filed. Provided a Substantive Appeal has been timely filed in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section, the response to a Supplemental Statement of the Case is optional and is not required for the perfection of an appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(3), 7105A(b) (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 68 FR 64806, Nov. 17, 2003. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 183, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019.]


§ 20.503 Rule 503. Time limit for response to appeal by another contesting party in a simultaneously contested claim.

A party to a simultaneously contested claim may file a brief or argument in answer to a Substantive Appeal filed by another contesting party. Any such brief or argument must be filed with the agency of original jurisdiction within 30 days from the date the content of the Substantive Appeal is furnished as provided in § 19.102 of this chapter. Such content will be presumed to have been furnished on the date of the letter that accompanies the content.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(b) (2016))

[66 FR 60153, Dec. 3, 2001. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 183, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.504 Rule 504. Extension of time for filing a Substantive Appeal in simultaneously contested claims.

An extension of the 30-day period to file a Substantive Appeal in simultaneously contested claims may be granted if good cause is shown. In granting an extension, consideration will be given to the interests of the other parties involved. A request for such an extension must be in writing and must be made prior to expiration of the time limit for filing the Substantive Appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(b) (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 183, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.505 Rule 505. Notices sent to last addresses of record in simultaneously contested claims.

Notices in simultaneously contested claims will be forwarded to the last address of record of the parties concerned and such action will constitute sufficient evidence of notice.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A(b) (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 183, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 20.506-20.599 [Reserved]

Subpart G – Legacy Hearings on Appeal

§ 20.600 Rule 600. Applicability.

(a) The provisions in this subpart apply to Board hearings conducted in legacy appeals, as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter.


(b) Except as otherwise provided, Rules 700, 701, 704, 705, and 707-715 (§§ 20.700, 20.701, 20.704, 20.705, and 20.707-20.715) are also applicable to Board hearings conducted in legacy appeals.


[84 FR 184, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.601 Rule 601. Methods by which hearings in legacy appeals are conducted; scheduling and notice provisions for such hearings.

(a) Methods by which hearings in legacy appeals are conducted. A hearing on appeal before the Board may be held by one of the following methods:


(1) In person at the Board’s principal location in Washington, DC;


(2) By electronic hearing, through voice transmission or through picture and voice transmission, with the appellant appearing at a Department of Veterans Affairs facility or appropriate Federal facility; or


(3) At a Department of Veterans Affairs facility having adequate physical resources and personnel for the support of such hearings.


(b) Electronic hearings. An appropriate Federal facility consists of a Federal facility having adequate physical resources and personnel for the support of such hearings.


(c) Provisions for scheduling and providing notice of hearings in legacy appeals.


(1) The procedures for scheduling and providing notice of Board hearings in legacy appeals conducted by the methods described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section are contained in Rule 704 (§ 20.704).


(2) The procedures for scheduling and providing notice of Board hearings in legacy appeals conducted at a Department of Veterans Affairs facility having adequate physical resources and personnel for the support of such hearings under (a)(3) are contained in Rule 603 (§ 20.603).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7107; Sec. 102, Pub. L. 114-315; 130 Stat. 1536)

[84 FR 186, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.602 Rule 602. When a hearing before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals may be requested in a legacy appeal; procedure for requesting a change in method of hearing.

(a) How to request a hearing. An appellant, or an appellant’s representative, may request a hearing before the Board when submitting the substantive appeal (VA Form 9) or anytime thereafter, subject to the restrictions in Rule 1305 (§ 20.1305). Requests for such hearings before a substantive appeal has been filed will be rejected.


(b) Board’s determination of method of hearing. Following the receipt of a request for a hearing, the Board shall determine, for purposes of scheduling the hearing for the earliest practical date, whether a hearing before the Board will be held at its principal location or at a facility of the Department or other appropriate Federal facility located within the area served by a regional office of the Department. The Board shall also determine whether the hearing will occur by means of an electronic hearing or by the appellant personally appearing before a Board member or panel. An electronic hearing will be in lieu of a hearing held by personally appearing before a Member or panel of Members of the Board and shall be conducted in the same manner as, and considered the equivalent of, such a hearing.


(c) Notification of method of hearing. The Board will notify the appellant and his or her representative of the method of a hearing before the Board.


(d) How to request a change in method of hearing. Upon notification of the method of the hearing requested pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, an appellant may make one request for a different method of the requested hearing. If the appellant makes such a request, the Board shall grant the request and notify the appellant of the change in method of the hearing.


(e) Notification of scheduling of hearing. The Board will notify the appellant and his or her representative of the scheduled time and location for the requested hearing not less than 30 days prior to the hearing date. This time limitation does not apply to hearings which have been rescheduled due to a postponement requested by an appellant, or on his or her behalf, or due to the prior failure of an appellant to appear at a scheduled hearing before the Board with good cause. The right to notice at least 30 days in advance will be deemed to have been waived if an appellant accepts an earlier hearing date due to the cancellation of another previously scheduled hearing.


(Authority: Sec. 102, Pub. L. 114-315; 130 Stat. 1536)

[84 FR 186, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.603 Rule 603. Scheduling and notice of hearings conducted by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals at Department of Veterans Affairs field facilities in a legacy appeal.

(a) General. Hearings may be conducted by a Member or Members of the Board during prescheduled visits to Department of Veterans Affairs facilities having adequate physical resources and personnel for the support of such hearings. Subject to paragraph (f) of this section, the hearings will be scheduled for each area served by a regional office in accordance with the place of each case on the Board’s docket, established under § 20.902, relative to other cases for which hearings are scheduled to be held within that area.


(b) Notification of hearing. When a hearing at a Department of Veterans Affairs field facility is scheduled, the person requesting it will be notified of its time and place, and of the fact that the Government may not assume any expense incurred by the appellant, the representative, or witnesses attending the hearing.


(c) Requests for changes in hearing dates. Requests for a change in a hearing date may be made at any time up to two weeks prior to the scheduled date of the hearing if good cause is shown. Such requests must be in writing, must explain why a new hearing date is necessary, and must be filed with the Board. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, illness of the appellant and/or representative, difficulty in obtaining necessary records, and unavailability of a necessary witness. If good cause is shown, the hearing will be rescheduled for the next available hearing date after the appellant or his or her representative gives notice that the contingency which gave rise to the request for postponement has been removed. If good cause is not shown, the appellant and his or her representative will be promptly notified and given an opportunity to appear at the hearing as previously scheduled. If the appellant elects not to appear at the prescheduled date, the request for a hearing will be considered to have been withdrawn. In such cases, however, the record will be submitted for review by the Member who would have presided over the hearing. If the presiding Member determines that good cause has been shown, the hearing will be rescheduled for the next available hearing date after the contingency which gave rise to the request for postponement has been removed.


(d) Failure to appear for a scheduled hearing. If an appellant (or when a hearing only for oral argument by a representative has been authorized, the representative) fails to appear for a scheduled hearing and a request for postponement has not been received and granted, the case will be processed as though the request for a hearing had been withdrawn. No further request for a hearing will be granted in the same appeal unless such failure to appear was with good cause and the cause for the failure to appear arose under such circumstances that a timely request for postponement could not have been submitted prior to the scheduled hearing date. A motion for a new hearing date following a failure to appear for a scheduled hearing must be in writing, must be filed within 15 days of the originally scheduled hearing date, and must explain why the appellant failed to appear for the hearing and why a timely request for a new hearing date could not have been submitted. Such motions must be filed with: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038. Whether good cause for such failure to appear and the impossibility of timely requesting postponement have been established will be determined by the Member who would have presided over the hearing. If good cause and the impossibility of timely requesting postponement are shown, the hearing will be rescheduled for the next available hearing date at the same facility after the appellant or his or her representative gives notice that the contingency which gave rise to the failure to appear has been removed.


(e) Withdrawal of hearing requests. A request for a hearing may be withdrawn by an appellant at any time before the date of the hearing. A request for a hearing may not be withdrawn by an appellant’s representative without the consent of the appellant. Notices of withdrawal must be submitted to the Board.


(f) Advancement of the case on the hearing docket. A hearing may be scheduled at a time earlier than would be provided for under paragraph (a) of this section upon written motion of the appellant or the representative. The same grounds for granting relief, motion filing procedures, and designation of authority to rule on the motion specified in Rule 902(c) (§ 20.902(c)) for advancing a case on the Board’s docket shall apply.


(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0085)

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7107; Sec. 102, Pub. 114-315; 130 Stat. 1536)

[84 FR 184, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.604 Rule 604. Designation of Member or Members to conduct the hearing in a legacy appeal.

The Member or panel to whom a proceeding is assigned under Rule 106 (§ 20.106) shall conduct any hearing before the Board in connection with that proceeding. Where a proceeding has been assigned to a panel, the Chairman, or the Chairman’s designee, shall designate one of the Members as the presiding Member. The Member or Members who conduct the hearing shall participate in making the final determination of the claim, subject to the exception in Rule 1004 (§ 20.1004) (relating to reconsideration of a decision).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102; 38 U.S.C. 7101 (2016))

[61 FR 20451, May 7, 1996. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 187, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.605 Rule 605. Procurement of additional evidence following a hearing in a legacy appeal.

If it appears during the course of a hearing that additional evidence would assist in the review of the questions at issue, the presiding Member may direct that the record be left open so that the appellant and his or her representative may obtain the desired evidence. The presiding Member will determine the period of time during which the record will stay open, considering the amount of time estimated by the appellant or representative as needed to obtain the evidence and other factors adduced during the hearing. Ordinarily, the period will not exceed 60 days, and will be as short as possible in order that appellate consideration of the case not be unnecessarily delayed.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102; 38 U.S.C. 7105, 7101 (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 187, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 20.606-20.699 [Reserved]

Subpart H – Hearings on Appeal

§ 20.700 Rule 700. General.

(a) Right to a hearing. A hearing on appeal will be granted if an appellant, or an appellant’s representative acting on his or her behalf, expresses a desire to testify before the Board. An appellant is limited to one Board hearing following the filing of a Notice of Disagreement with a decision of the agency of original jurisdiction. Requests for additional Board hearings may be granted for good cause shown.


(b) Purpose of hearing. The purpose of a hearing is to receive argument and testimony relevant and material to the appellate issue or issues. It is contemplated that the appellant and witnesses, if any, will be present. A hearing will not normally be scheduled solely for the purpose of receiving argument by a representative. Such argument may be submitted in the form of a written brief. Requests for appearances by representatives alone to personally present argument to Members of the Board may be granted if good cause is shown. Whether good cause has been shown will be determined by the presiding Member assigned to conduct the hearing.


(c) Nonadversarial proceedings. Hearings conducted by the Board are ex parte in nature and nonadversarial. Parties to the hearing will be permitted to ask questions, including follow-up questions, of all witnesses but cross-examination will not be permitted. Proceedings will not be limited by legal rules of evidence, but reasonable bounds of relevancy and materiality will be maintained. The presiding Member may set reasonable time limits for the presentation of argument and may exclude documentary evidence, testimony, and/or argument which is not relevant or material to the issue, or issues, being considered or which is unduly repetitious.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7107)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 58 FR 27935, May 12, 1993; 61 FR 20450, May 7, 1996; 84 FR 184, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.701 Rule 701. Who may present oral argument.

Only the appellant and/or his or her authorized representative may appear and present argument in support of an appeal. At the request of an appellant, a Veterans Benefits Counselor of the Department of Veterans Affairs may present the appeal at a hearing before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105, 7107)

[58 FR 27935, May 12, 1993]


§ 20.702 Rule 702. Methods by which hearings are conducted.

A hearing on appeal before the Board may be held by one of the following methods:


(a) In person at the Board’s principal location in Washington, DC, or


(b) By electronic hearing, through picture and voice transmission, with the appellant appearing at a Department of Veterans Affairs facility.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7107)

[84 FR 186, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.703 Rule 703. When a hearing before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals may be requested; procedure for requesting a change in method of hearing.

(a) How to request a hearing. An appellant, or an appellant’s representative, may request a hearing before the Board when submitting the Notice of Disagreement, or when requesting to modify the Notice of Disagreement, as provided in Rule 202 (§ 20.202). Requests for such hearings at any other time will be rejected.


(b) Board’s determination of method of hearing. Following the receipt of a request for a hearing, the Board shall determine, for purposes of scheduling the hearing for the earliest practical date, whether a hearing before the Board will be held at its principal location or by picture and voice transmission at a facility of the Department located within the area served by a regional office of the Department.


(c) Notification of method of hearing. The Board will notify the appellant and his or her representative of the method of a hearing before the Board.


(d) How to request a change in method of hearing. If an appellant declines to participate in the method of hearing selected by the Board, the appellant’s opportunity to participate in a hearing before the Board shall not be affected. Upon notification of the method of the hearing requested pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, an appellant may make one request for a different method of the requested hearing. If the appellant makes such a request, the Board shall grant the request and notify the appellant of the change in method of the hearing.


(e) Notification of scheduling of hearing. The Board will notify the appellant and his or her representative of the scheduled time and location for the requested hearing not less than 30 days prior to the hearing date. This time limitation does not apply to hearings which have been rescheduled due to a postponement requested by an appellant, or on his or her behalf, or due to the prior failure of an appellant to appear at a scheduled hearing before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals with good cause. The right to notice at least 30 days in advance will be deemed to have been waived if an appellant accepts an earlier hearing date due to the cancellation of another previously scheduled hearing.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(a), 7107)

[84 FR 186, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.704 Rule 704. Scheduling and notice of hearings conducted by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

(a)(1) General. To the extent that officials scheduling hearings for the Board determine that necessary physical resources and qualified personnel are available, hearings will be scheduled at the convenience of appellants and their representatives, with consideration of the travel distance involved. Subject to paragraph (f) of this section, electronic hearings will be scheduled for each area served by a regional office in accordance with the place of each case on the Board’s docket, established under Rule 801 (§ 20.801) for appeals and under Rule 902 (§ 20.902) for legacy appeals, relative to other cases for which hearings are scheduled to be held within that area.


(2) Special provisions for legacy appeals. The procedures for scheduling and providing notice of Board hearings in legacy appeals conducted at a Department of Veterans Affairs facility having adequate physical resources and personnel for the support of such hearings under paragraph (a)(3) of Rule 601 (§ 20.601(a)(3)) are contained in Rule 603 (§ 20.603).


(b) Notification of hearing. When a hearing is scheduled, the person requesting it will be notified of its time and place, and of the fact that the Government may not assume any expense incurred by the appellant, the representative or witnesses attending the hearing.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7107)

(c) Requests for changes in hearing dates. Requests for a change in a hearing date may be made at any time up to two weeks prior to the scheduled date of the hearing if good cause is shown. Such requests must be in writing, must explain why a new hearing date is necessary, and must be filed with the Board. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, illness of the appellant and/or representative, difficulty in obtaining necessary records, and unavailability of a necessary witness. If good cause is shown, the hearing will be rescheduled for the next available hearing date after the appellant or his or her representative gives notice that the contingency which gave rise to the request for postponement has been removed. If good cause is not shown, the appellant and his or her representative will be promptly notified and given an opportunity to appear at the hearing as previously scheduled. If the appellant elects not to appear at the prescheduled date, the request for a hearing will be considered to have been withdrawn. In such cases, however, the record will be submitted for review by the Member who would have presided over the hearing. If the presiding Member determines that good cause has been shown, the hearing will be rescheduled for the next available hearing date after the contingency which gave rise to the request for postponement has been removed.


(d) Failure to appear for a scheduled hearing. If an appellant (or when a hearing only for oral argument by a representative has been authorized, the representative) fails to appear for a scheduled hearing and a request for postponement has not been received and granted, the case will be processed as though the request for a hearing had been withdrawn. No further request for a hearing will be granted in the same appeal unless such failure to appear was with good cause and the cause for the failure to appear arose under such circumstances that a timely request for postponement could not have been submitted prior to the scheduled hearing date. A motion for a new hearing date following a failure to appear for a scheduled hearing must be in writing, must be filed within 15 days of the originally scheduled hearing date, and must explain why the appellant failed to appear for the hearing and why a timely request for a new hearing date could not have been submitted. Such motions must be filed with: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038. Whether good cause for such failure to appear and the impossibility of timely requesting postponement have been established will be determined by the Member who would have presided over the hearing. If good cause and the impossibility of timely requesting postponement are shown, the hearing will be rescheduled for the next available hearing date at the same facility after the appellant or his or her representative gives notice that the contingency which gave rise to the failure to appear has been removed.


(e) Withdrawal of hearing requests. A request for a hearing may be withdrawn by an appellant at any time before the date of the hearing. A request for a hearing may not be withdrawn by an appellant’s representative without the consent of the appellant. Notices of withdrawal must be submitted to the Board.


(f) Advancement of the case on the hearing docket. A hearing may be scheduled at a time earlier than would be provided for under paragraph (a) of this section upon written motion of the appellant or the representative. The same grounds for granting relief, motion filing procedures, and designation of authority to rule on the motion specified in Rule 902(c) (§ 20.902(c)) for advancing a case on the Board’s docket shall apply.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7107)

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0085)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 58 FR 27935, May 12, 1993; 61 FR 20450, May 7, 1996; 81 FR 32649, May 24, 2016. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 185, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.705 Rule 705. Functions of the presiding Member.

(a) General. The presiding Member is responsible for the conduct of a Board hearing in accordance with the provisions of subparts G and H of this part.


(b) Duties. The duties of the presiding Member include, but are not limited to, any of the following:


(1) Conducting a prehearing conference, pursuant to § 20.707;


(2) Ruling on questions of procedure;


(3) Administering the oath or affirmation;


(4) Ensuring that the course of the Board hearing remains relevant to the issue or issues on appeal;


(5) Setting reasonable time limits for the presentation of argument;


(6) Prohibiting cross-examination of the appellant and any witnesses;


(7) Determining whether documentary evidence, testimony, and/or argument is relevant or material to the issue or issues being considered and not unduly repetitious;


(8) Terminating a Board hearing or directing that an offending party, representative, witness, or observer leave the hearing if that party persists or engages in disruptive or threatening behavior;


(9) Disallowing or halting the use of personal recording equipment being used by an appellant or representative if it becomes disruptive to the hearing; and


(10) Taking any other steps necessary to maintain good order and decorum.


(c) Ruling on motions. The presiding Member has the authority to rule on any Board hearing-related motion.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501)

[84 FR 187, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.706 Rule 706. Designation of Member or Members to conduct the hearing.

Hearings will be conducted by a Member or panel of Members of the Board. Where a proceeding has been assigned to a panel, the Chairman, or the Chairman’s designee, shall designate one of the Members as the presiding Member.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7107)

[84 FR 187, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.707 Rule 707. Prehearing conference.

An appellant’s authorized representative may request a prehearing conference with the presiding Member of a hearing to clarify the issues to be considered at a hearing on appeal, obtain rulings on the admissibility of evidence, develop stipulations of fact, establish the length of argument which will be permitted, or take other steps which will make the hearing itself more efficient and productive.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7107)

[84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 20.708 Rule 708. Witness at hearings.

The testimony of witnesses, including appellants, will be heard. All testimony must be given under oath or affirmation. Oath or affirmation is not required for the sole purpose of presenting contentions and argument.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7107)

[61 FR 29028, June 7, 1996. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 187, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.709 Rule 709. Subpoenas.

(a) General. An appellant, or his or her representative, may arrange for the production of any tangible evidence or the voluntary appearance of any witnesses desired. When necessary evidence cannot be obtained in any other reasonable way, the appellant, or his or her representative, may move that a subpoena be issued to compel the attendance of witnesses residing within 100 miles of the place where a hearing on appeal is to be held and/or to compel the production of tangible evidence. A subpoena will not be issued to compel the attendance of Department of Veterans Affairs adjudicatory personnel.


(b) Contents of motion for subpoena. The motion for a subpoena must be in writing, must clearly show the name and address of each witness to be subpoenaed, must clearly identify all documentary or other tangible evidence to be produced, and must explain why the attendance of the witness and/or the production of the tangible evidence cannot be obtained without a subpoena.


(c) Where filed. Motions for a subpoena must be filed with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038.


(d) When motion for subpoena is to be filed in cases involving a hearing on appeal. Motions for the issuance of a subpoena for the attendance of a witness, or the production of documents or other tangible evidence, at a hearing on appeal must be filed not later than 30 days prior to the hearing date.


(e) Ruling on motion for subpoena – (1) To whom assigned. The ruling on the motion will be made by the Member or panel of Members to whom the case is assigned. Where the case has not been assigned, the Chairman, or the Chairman’s designee, will assign the case to a Member or panel who will then rule on the motion.


(2) Procedure. If the motion is denied, the Member(s) ruling on the motion will issue an order to that effect which sets forth the reasons for the denial and will send copies to the moving party and his or her representative, if any. Granting the motion will be signified by completion of a VA Form 0714, “Subpoena,” if attendance of a witness is required, and/or VA Form 0713, “Subpoena Duces Tecum,” if production of tangible evidence is required. The completed form shall be signed by the Member ruling on the motion, or, where applicable, by any panel Member on behalf of the panel ruling on the motion, and served in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section.


(f) Fees. Any person who is required to attend a hearing as a witness shall be allowed and paid the same fees and mileage as are paid witnesses in the district courts of the United States. A subpoena for a witness will not be issued or served unless the party on whose behalf the subpoena is issued submits a check in an amount equal to the fee for one day’s attendance and the mileage allowed by law, made payable to the witness, as an attachment to the motion for the subpoena. Except for checks on the business accounts of attorneys-at-law, agents, and recognized service organizations, such checks must be in the form of certified checks or cashiers checks.


(g) Service of subpoenas. The Board will serve the subpoena by certified mail, return receipt requested. The check for fees and mileage described in paragraph (f) of this section shall be mailed with the subpoena. The receipt, which must bear the signature of the witness or of the custodian of the tangible evidence, and a copy of the subpoena will be filed in the claims folder, loan guaranty folder, or other applicable Department of Veterans Affairs records folder.


(h) Motion to quash or modify subpoena – (1) Filing procedure. Upon written motion of the party securing the subpoena, or of the person subpoenaed, the Board may quash or modify the subpoena if it is unreasonable and oppressive or for other good cause shown. Relief may include, but is not limited to, requiring the party who secured the subpoena to advance the reasonable cost of producing books, papers, or other tangible evidence. The motion must specify the relief sought and the reasons for requesting relief. Such motions must be filed at the address specified in paragraph (c) of this section within 10 days after mailing of the subpoena or the time specified in the subpoena for compliance, whichever is less. The motion may be accompanied by such supporting evidence as the moving party may choose to submit. It must be accompanied by a declaration showing:


(i) That a copy of the motion, and any attachments thereto, were mailed to the party who secured the subpoena, or the person subpoenaed, as applicable;


(ii) The date of mailing; and


(iii) The address to which the copy was mailed.


(2) Response. Not later than 10 days after the date that the motion was mailed to the responding party, that party may file a response to the motion at the address specified in paragraph (c) of this section. The response may be accompanied by such supporting evidence as the responding party may choose to submit. It must be accompanied by a declaration showing:


(i) That a copy of the response, and any attachments thereto, were mailed to the moving party;


(ii) The date of mailing; and


(iii) The address to which the copy was mailed. If the subpoena involves testimony or the production of tangible evidence at a hearing before the Board and less than 30 days remain before the scheduled hearing date at the time the response is received by the Board, the Board may reschedule the hearing to permit disposition of the motion.


(3) Ruling on the motion. The Member or panel to whom the case is assigned will issue an order disposing of the motion. Such order shall set forth the reasons for which a motion is either granted or denied. The order will be mailed to all parties to the motion. Where applicable, an order quashing a subpoena will require refund of any sum advanced for fees and mileage.


(i) Disobedience. In case of disobedience to a subpoena issued by the Board, the Board will take such steps as may be necessary to invoke the aid of the appropriate district court of the United States in requiring the attendance of the witness and/or the production of the tangible evidence subpoenaed. A failure to obey the order of such a court may be punished by the court as a contempt thereof.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5711, 5713, 7102(a))

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5711, 7102(a), 7107)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 20452, May 7, 1996; 66 FR 49538, Sept. 28, 2001; 81 FR 32650, May 24, 2016. Redesignated and amended 84 FR 187, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.710 Rule 710. Expenses of appellants, representatives, and witnesses incident to hearings not reimbursable by the Government.

No expenses incurred by an appellant, representative, or witness incident to attendance at a hearing may be paid by the Government.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 111)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 187, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.711 Rule 711. Hearings in simultaneously contested claims.

(a) General. If a hearing is scheduled for any party to a simultaneously contested claim, the other contesting claimants and their representatives, if any, will be notified and afforded an opportunity to be present. The appellant will be allowed to present opening testimony and argument. Thereafter, any other contesting party who wishes to do so may present testimony and argument. The appellant will then be allowed an opportunity to present testimony and argument in rebuttal. Cross-examination will not be allowed.


(b) Requests for changes in hearing dates. (1) General. Except as described in paragraphs (b)(2) and (3) of this section, any party to a simultaneously contested claim may request a change in a hearing date in accordance with the provisions of Rule 704, paragraph (c) (§ 20.704(c)).


(2)(i) A request under Rule 704, paragraph (c) must be made within 60 days from the date of the letter of notification of the time and place of the hearing, or not later than two weeks prior to the scheduled hearing date, whichever is earlier.


(ii) In order to obtain a new hearing date under the provisions of Rule 704, paragraph (c) (§ 20.704(c)), the consent of all other interested parties must be obtained and submitted with the request for a new hearing date. If such consent is not obtained, the date of the hearing will become fixed. After a hearing date has become fixed, an extension of time for appearance at a hearing will be granted only for good cause, with due consideration of the interests of other parties. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, illness of the appellant and/or representative, difficulty in obtaining necessary records, and unavailability of a necessary witness. The motion for a new hearing date must be in writing and must explain why a new hearing date is necessary. If good cause is shown, the hearing will be rescheduled for the next available hearing date after the appellant or his or her representative gives notice that the contingency which gave rise to the request for postponement has been removed. Ordinarily, however, hearings will not be postponed more than 30 days. Whether good cause for establishing a new hearing date has been shown will be determined by the presiding Member assigned to conduct the hearing.


(3) A copy of any motion for a new hearing date required by these rules must be mailed to all other interested parties by certified mail, return receipt requested. The receipts, which must bear the signatures of the other interested parties, and a letter explaining that they relate to the motion for a new hearing date and containing the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number must be filed at the same address where the motion was filed as proof of service of the motion. Each interested party will be allowed a period of 10 days from the date that the copy of the motion was received by that party to file written argument in response to the motion.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105A)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 187, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 20.712 Rule 712. Record of hearing.

(a) General. All Board hearings will be recorded. The Board will prepare a written transcript for each Board hearing conducted. The transcript will be the official record of the hearing and will be incorporated as a part of the record on appeal. The Board will not accept alternate transcript versions prepared by the appellant or representative.


(b) Hearing recording. The recording of the Board hearing will be retained for a period of 12 months following the date of the Board hearing as a duplicate record of the proceeding.


(c) Copy of written transcript. If the appellant or representative requests a copy of the written transcript in accordance with § 1.577 of this chapter, the Board will furnish one copy to the appellant or representative.


[84 FR 188, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.713 Rule 713. Recording of hearing by appellant or representative.

An appellant or representative may record the hearing with his or her own equipment. Filming, videotaping or televising the hearing may only be authorized when prior written consent is obtained from all appellants and contesting claimants, if any, and made a matter of record. In no event will such additional equipment be used if it interferes with the conduct of the hearing or the official recording apparatus. In all such situations, advance arrangements must be made with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7107)

[84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 20.714 Rule 714. Correction of hearing transcripts.

If an appellant wishes to seek correction of perceived errors in a hearing transcript, the appellant or his or her representative should move for correction of the hearing transcript within 30 days after the date that the transcript is mailed to the appellant. The motion must be in writing and must specify the error, or errors, in the transcript and the correct wording to be substituted. The motion must be filed with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038. The ruling on the motion will be made by the presiding Member of the hearing.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7107)

[84 FR 188, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.715 Rule 715. Loss of hearing recordings or transcripts – request for new hearing.

(a) Notification. (1) The Board must notify the appellant and his or her representative in writing in the event the Board discovers that a Board hearing has not been recorded in whole or in part due to equipment failure or other cause, or the official transcript of the hearing is lost or destroyed and the recording upon which it was based is no longer available. The notice must provide the appellant with a choice of either of the following options:


(i) Appear at a new Board hearing, pursuant to Rules 703 and 704 (§§ 20.703 and 20.704) for appeals or Rules 602 and 603 (§§ 20.602 and 20.603) for legacy appeals, as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter; or


(ii) Have the Board proceed to appellate review of the appeal based on the evidence of record.


(2) The notice will inform the appellant that he or she has a period of 30 days to respond to the notice. If the appellant does not respond by requesting a new hearing within 30 days from the date of the mailing of the notice, then the Board will decide the appeal on the basis of the evidence of record. A request for a new Board hearing will not be accepted once the Board has issued a decision on the appeal.


(b) Board decision issued prior to a loss of the recording or transcript. The Board will not accept a request for a new Board hearing under this section if a Board decision was issued on an appeal prior to the loss of the recording or transcript of a Board hearing, and the Board decision considered testimony provided at that Board hearing.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7105(a), 7107)

[84 FR 188, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 20.716-20.799 [Reserved]

Subpart I – Appeals Processing

§ 20.800 Rule 800. Order of consideration of appeals.

(a) Docketing of appeals. (1) Applications for review on appeal are docketed in the order in which they are received on the following dockets:


(i) A docket for appeals in which an appellant does not request a hearing or an opportunity to submit additional evidence on the Notice of Disagreement;


(ii) A docket for appeals in which the appellant does not request a hearing but does request an opportunity to submit additional evidence on the Notice of Disagreement; and


(iii) A docket for appeals in which the appellant requests a hearing on the Notice of Disagreement.


(2) An appeal may be moved from one docket to another only when the Notice of Disagreement has been modified pursuant to Rule 202, paragraph (c)(3) (§ 20.202(c)(3)). The request to modify the Notice of Disagreement must reflect that the appellant requests the option listed in § 20.202(b) that corresponds to the docket to which the appeal will be moved. An appeal that is moved from one docket to another will retain its original docket date.


(b) Except as otherwise provided, each appeal will be decided in the order in which it is entered on the docket to which it is assigned.


(c) Advancement on the docket – (1) Grounds for advancement. A case may be advanced on the docket to which it is assigned on the motion of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, a party to the case before the Board, or such party’s representative. Such a motion may be granted only if the case involves interpretation of law of general application affecting other claims, if the appellant is seriously ill or is under severe financial hardship, or if other sufficient cause is shown. “Other sufficient cause” shall include, but is not limited to, administrative error resulting in a significant delay in docketing the case, administrative necessity, or the advanced age of the appellant. For purposes of this Rule, “advanced age” is defined as 75 or more years of age. This paragraph does not require the Board to advance a case on the docket in the absence of a motion of a party to the case or the party’s representative.


(2) Requirements for motions. Motions for advancement on the docket must be in writing and must identify the specific reason(s) why advancement on the docket is sought, the name of the veteran, the name of the appellant if other than the veteran (e.g., a veteran’s survivor, a guardian, a substitute appellant, or a fiduciary appointed to receive VA benefits on an individual’s behalf), and the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number. The motion must be filed with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038.


(3) Disposition of motions. If a motion is received prior to the assignment of the case to an individual Member or panel of Members, the ruling on the motion will be by the Vice Chairman, who may delegate such authority to a Deputy Vice Chairman. If a motion to advance a case on the docket is denied, the appellant and his or her representative will be immediately notified. If the motion to advance a case on the docket is granted, that fact will be noted in the Board’s decision when rendered.


(d) Consideration of appeals remanded by the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. A case remanded by the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims for appropriate action will be treated expeditiously by the Board without regard to its place on the Board’s docket.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7112; Sec. 302,103-446; 108 Stat. 4645)

(e) Case remanded to correct duty to assist error and new Notice of Disagreement filed after readjudication. A case will not be returned to the Board following the agency of original jurisdiction’s readjudication of an appeal previously remanded by the Board pursuant to Rule 802, paragraph (c) (§ 20.802(c)), unless the claimant files a new Notice of Disagreement. Such cases will be docketed in the order in which the most recent Notice of Disagreement was received.


(f) Cases involving substitution. A case returned to the Board following the grant of a substitution request or pursuant to an appeal of a denial of a substitution request assumes the same place on the docket held by the deceased appellant at the time of his or her death. If the deceased appellant’s case was advanced on the docket prior to his or her death pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, the substitute will receive the benefit of the advanced placement.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5121A)

(g) Postponement to provide hearing. Any other provision of this Rule notwithstanding, a case may be postponed for later consideration and determination if such postponement is necessary to afford the appellant a hearing.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105, 7107)

[84 FR 188, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 20.801 Rule 801. The decision.

(a) General. Decisions of the Board will be based on a de novo review of the evidence of record at the time of the agency of original jurisdiction decision on the issue or issues on appeal, and any additional evidence submitted pursuant to Rules 302 and 303 (§§ 20.302 and 20.303). Any findings favorable to the claimant as identified by the agency of original jurisdiction in notification of a decision or in a prior Board decision on an issue on appeal are binding on all agency of original jurisdiction and Board of Veterans’ Appeals adjudicators, unless rebutted by evidence that identifies a clear and unmistakable error in the favorable finding. For purposes of this section, findings means conclusions on questions of fact and application of law to facts made by an adjudicator concerning the issue under review.


(b) Content. The decision of the Board will be in writing and will set forth specifically the issue or issues under appellate consideration. Except with respect to appeals which are dismissed because an appellant seeking nonmonetary benefits has died while the appeal was pending, the decision will also include:


(1) Findings of fact and conclusions of law on all material issues of fact and law presented on the record;


(2) The reasons or bases for those findings and conclusions;


(3) A general statement reflecting whether any evidence was received at a time when not permitted under subpart D, and informing the appellant that any such evidence was not considered by the Board and of the options available to have that evidence reviewed by the Department of Veterans Affairs; and


(4) An order granting or denying the benefit or benefits sought on appeal, dismissing the appeal, or remanding the issue or issues as described in Rule 802 (§ 20.802).


(c) Panel decision. A decision by a panel of Members will be by a majority vote of the panel Members.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(d))

[84 FR 188, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.802 Rule 802. Remand for correction of error.

(a) Remand. Unless the issue or issues can be granted in full, the Board shall remand the appeal to the agency of original jurisdiction for correction of an error on the part of the agency of original jurisdiction to satisfy its duties under 38 U.S.C. 5103A, if the error occurred prior to the date of the agency of original jurisdiction decision on appeal. The Board may remand for correction of any other error by the agency of original jurisdiction in satisfying a regulatory or statutory duty, if correction of the error would have a reasonable possibility of aiding in substantiating the appellant’s claim. The remand must specify the action to be taken by the agency of original jurisdiction.


(b) Advisory Medical Opinion. If the Board determines that an error as described in paragraph (a) of this section may only be corrected by obtaining an advisory medical opinion from a medical expert who is not an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Board shall remand the case to the agency of original jurisdiction to obtain such an opinion, specifying the questions to be posed to the independent medical expert providing the advisory medical opinion.


(c) Action by agency of original jurisdiction after receipt of remand. After correction of any error identified in the Board’s remand, the agency of original jurisdiction must readjudicate the claim and provide notice of the decision under 38 U.S.C. 5104, to include notice under 38 U.S.C. 5104C of a claimant’s options for further review of the agency of original jurisdiction’s decision. The agency of original jurisdiction must provide for the expeditious treatment of any claim that is remanded by the Board.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A, 5109, 5109B, 7102, 7104(a), 7105)

[84 FR 188, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.803 Rule 803. Content of Board decision, remand, or order in simultaneously contested claims.

The content of the Board’s decision, remand, or order in appeals involving a simultaneously contested claim will be limited to information that directly affects the issues involved in the contested claim. Appellate issues that do not involve all of the contesting parties will be addressed in one or more separate written decisions, remands, or orders that will be furnished only to the appellants concerned and their representatives, if any.


(Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(b), 38 U.S.C. 5701(a))

[84 FR 188, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.804 Rule 804. Opinions of the General Counsel.

(a) The Board may obtain an opinion from the General Counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs on legal questions involved in the consideration of an appeal.


(b) Filing of requests for the procurement of opinions. The appellant or representative may request that the Board obtain an opinion under this section. Such request must be in writing and will be granted upon a showing of good cause, such as the identification of a complex or controversial legal issue involved in the appeal which warrants such an opinion.


(c) Notification of evidence to be considered by the Board and opportunity for response. If the Board requests an opinion pursuant to this section, it will notify the appellant and his or her representative, if any. When the Board receives the opinion, it will furnish a copy of the opinion to the appellant, subject to the limitations provided in 38 U.S.C. 5701(b)(1), and to the appellant’s representative, if any. A period of 60 days from the date the Board furnishes a copy of the opinion will be allowed for response, which may include the submission of relevant evidence or argument. The date the Board furnishes a copy will be presumed to be the same as the date of the letter or memorandum that accompanies the copy of the opinion for purposes of determining whether a response was timely filed.


(d) For purposes of this section, the term “the Board” includes the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, any Deputy Vice Chairman, and any Member of the Board before whom a case is pending.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5107(a), 7102(c), 7104(a), 7104(c))

[84 FR 188, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 20.805-20.899 [Reserved]

Subpart J – Action by the Board in Legacy Appeals

§ 20.900 Rule 900. Applicability.

The provisions in this subpart apply to Board decisions and remands rendered in legacy appeals, as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter.


(Authority: Sec. 2,115-55; 131 Stat. 1105)

[84 FR 190, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.901 Rule 901. Submission of additional evidence after initiation of appeal.

Subject to the limitations set forth in Rule 1304 (§ 20.1304 of this part), an appellant may submit additional evidence, or information as to the availability of additional evidence, after initiating an appeal. The provisions of this section do not apply in proceedings before the General Counsel conducted under part 14 of this chapter to cancel accreditation or to review fee agreements and expenses for reasonableness.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5902, 5903, 5904; 38 U.S.C. 5904, 7105(d)(1) (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 73 FR 29879, May 22, 2008. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 188, 190, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.902 Rule 902. Order of consideration of appeals.

(a) Docketing of appeals. Applications for review on appeal are docketed in the order in which they are received.


(1) A case returned to the Board following action pursuant to a remand assumes its original place on the docket.


(2) A case returned to the Board following the grant of a substitution request or pursuant to an appeal of a denial of a substitution request assumes the same place on the docket held by the deceased appellant at the time of his or her death. Pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, if the deceased appellant’s case was advanced on the docket prior to his or her death, the substitute will receive the benefit of the advanced placement.


(b) Appeals considered in docket order. Except as otherwise provided in this Rule, appeals are considered in the order in which they are entered on the docket.


(c) Advancement on the docket – (1) Grounds for advancement. A case may be advanced on the docket on the motion of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, a party to the case before the Board, or such party’s representative. Such a motion may be granted only if the case involves interpretation of law of general application affecting other claims, if the appellant is seriously ill or is under severe financial hardship, or if other sufficient cause is shown. “Other sufficient cause” shall include, but is not limited to, administrative error resulting in a significant delay in docketing the case, administrative necessity, or the advanced age of the appellant. For purposes of this Rule, “advanced age” is defined as 75 or more years of age. This paragraph does not require the Board to advance a case on the docket in the absence of a motion of a party to the case or the party’s representative.


(2) Requirements for motions. Motions for advancement on the docket must be in writing and must identify the specific reason(s) why advancement on the docket is sought, the name of the veteran, the name of the appellant if other than the veteran (e.g., a veteran’s survivor, a guardian, a substitute appellant, or a fiduciary appointed to receive VA benefits on an individual’s behalf), and the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number. The motion must be filed with: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038.


(3) Disposition of motions. If a motion is received prior to the assignment of the case to an individual member or panel of members, the ruling on the motion will be by the Vice Chairman, who may delegate such authority to a Deputy Vice Chairman. If a motion to advance a case on the docket is denied, the appellant and his or her representative will be immediately notified. If the motion to advance a case on the docket is granted, that fact will be noted in the Board’s decision when rendered.


(d) Consideration of appeals remanded by the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. A case remanded by the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims for additional development or other appropriate action will be treated expeditiously by the Board without regard to its place on the Board’s docket.


(Authority: Sec. 302, Pub. L. 103-446; 108 Stat. 4645)

(e) Postponement to provide hearing. Any other provision of this Rule notwithstanding, a case may be postponed for later consideration and determination if such postponement is necessary to afford the appellant a hearing.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5121A, 7107; 38 U.S.C. 7107 (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 60 FR 51923, Oct. 4, 1995; 61 FR 20453, May 7, 1996; 65 FR 14472, Mar. 17, 2000; 68 FR 53683, Sept. 12, 2003; 79 FR 52984, Sept. 5, 2014; 81 FR 32650, May 24, 2016. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 190, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.903 Rule 903. The decision.

(a) Decisions based on entire record. The appellant will not be presumed to be in agreement with any statement of fact contained in a Statement of the Case to which no exception is taken. Decisions of the Board are based on a review of the entire record.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(a), 7105(d)(4))

(b) Content. The decision of the Board will be in writing and will set forth specifically the issue or issues under appellate consideration. Except with respect to issues remanded to the agency of original jurisdiction for further development of the case and appeals which are dismissed because the issue has been resolved by administrative action or because an appellant seeking nonmonetary benefits has died while the appeal was pending, the decision will also include findings of fact and conclusions of law on all material issues of fact and law presented on the record, the reasons or bases for those findings and conclusions, and an order granting or denying the benefit or benefits sought on appeal or dismissing the appeal.


(c) A decision by a panel of Members will be by a majority vote of the panel Members.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(d) (2016))

[57 FR 4104, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 20449, May 7, 1996. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.904 Rule 904. Remand or referral for further action.

(a) Remand. If further evidence, clarification of the evidence, correction of a procedural defect, or any other action is essential for a proper appellate decision, a Veterans Law Judge or panel of Veterans Law Judges shall remand the case to the agency of original jurisdiction, specifying the action to be undertaken.


(b) Referral. The Board shall refer to the agency of original jurisdiction for appropriate consideration and handling in the first instance all claims reasonably raised by the record that have not been initially adjudicated by the agency of original jurisdiction, except for claims over which the Board has original jurisdiction.


(c) Remand for a Statement of the Case. In cases before the Board in which a claimant has timely filed a Notice of Disagreement with a determination of the agency of original jurisdiction on a claim, but the record reflects that the agency of original jurisdiction has not subsequently granted the claim in full and has not furnished the claimant with a Statement of the Case, the Board shall remand the claim to the agency of original jurisdiction with instructions to prepare and issue a Statement of the Case in accordance with the provisions of part 19, subpart B of this chapter. A remand for a Statement of the Case is not required if the claimant, consistent with the withdrawal requirements of § 19.55 of this chapter, withdraws the Notice of Disagreement.


(d) Exceptions. A remand or referral to the agency of original jurisdiction is not necessary for any of the following purposes:


(1) Clarifying a procedural matter before the Board, including the appellant’s choice of representative before the Board, the issues on appeal, or requests for a hearing before the Board;


(2) Considering law not already considered by the agency of original jurisdiction, including, but not limited to, statutes, regulations, and court decisions;


(3) Reviewing additional evidence received by the Board, if, pursuant to Rule 1305 (§ 20.1305(c) of this part), the appellant or the appellant’s representative waives the right to initial consideration by the agency of original jurisdiction, or if the Board determines that the benefit or benefits to which the evidence relates may be fully allowed on appeal;


(4) Requesting an opinion under Rule 906 (§ 20.906 of this part);


(5) Supplementing the record with a recognized medical treatise; or


(6) Considering a matter over which the Board has original jurisdiction.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7103(c); 38 U.S.C. 7104(a), 7105 (2016)).

[67 FR 3104, Jan. 23, 2002, as amended at 69 FR 53808, Sept. 3, 2004; 76 FR 17547, Mar. 30, 2011. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 20.905 Rule 905. Content of Board decision, remand, or order in simultaneously contested claims.

The content of the Board’s decision, remand, or order in appeals involving a simultaneously contested claim will be limited to information that directly affects the issues involved in the contested claim. Appellate issues that do not involve all of the contesting parties will be addressed in one or more separate written decisions, remands, or orders that will be furnished only to the appellants concerned and their representatives, if any.


(Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(b), 38 U.S.C. 5701(a))

[61 FR 68666, Dec. 30, 1996. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.906 Rule 906. Medical opinions and opinions of the General Counsel.

(a) Opinion from the Veterans Health Administration. The Board may obtain a medical opinion from an appropriate health care professional in the Veterans Health Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs on medical questions involved in the consideration of an appeal when, in its judgment, such medical expertise is needed for equitable disposition of an appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A(d), 7109)

(b) Joint Pathology Center opinions. The Board may refer pathologic material to the Joint Pathology Center and request an opinion based on that material.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7109(a))

(c) Opinion of the General Counsel. The Board may obtain an opinion from the General Counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs on legal questions involved in the consideration of an appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(c))

(d) Independent medical expert opinions. When, in the judgment of the Board, additional medical opinion is warranted by the medical complexity or controversy involved in an appeal, the Board may obtain an advisory medical opinion from one or more medical experts who are not employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Opinions will be secured, as requested by the Chairman of the Board, from recognized medical schools, universities, clinics, or medical institutions with which arrangements for such opinions have been made by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. An appropriate official of the institution will select the individual expert, or experts, to give an opinion.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7109)

(e) For purposes of this section, the term “the Board” includes the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, any Deputy Vice Chairman, and any Member of the Board before whom a case is pending.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5107(a), 7104(c), 7109)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 20453, May 7, 1996; 66 FR 38159, July 23, 2001; 69 FR 19937, Apr. 15, 2004. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 188, 190, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 20.907 Rule 907. Filing of requests for the procurement of opinions.

The appellant or representative may request that the Board obtain an opinion under Rule 906 (§ 20.906). The request must be in writing. It will be granted upon a showing of good cause, such as the identification of a complex or controversial medical or legal issue involved in the appeal which warrants such an opinion.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5107(a), 7102(c), 7104(c), 7109)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 188, 190, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.908 Rule 908. Notification of evidence to be considered by the Board and opportunity for response.

(a) If the Board obtains a legal or medical opinion. If the Board requests an opinion pursuant to Rule 906 (§ 20.906), the Board will notify the appellant and his or her representative, if any. When the Board receives the opinion, it will furnish a copy of the opinion to the appellant, subject to the limitations provided in 38 U.S.C. 5701(b)(1), and to the appellant’s representative, if any. A period of 60 days from the date the Board furnishes a copy of the opinion will be allowed for response, which may include the submission of relevant evidence or argument. The date the Board furnishes a copy will be presumed to be the same as the date of the letter or memorandum that accompanies the copy of the opinion for purposes of determining whether a response was timely filed.


(b) If the Board supplements the record with a recognized medical treatise – (1) General. If, pursuant to Rule 904(d)(5) (§ 20.904(d)(5)), the Board supplements the record with a recognized medical treatise, the Board will notify the appellant and his or her representative, if any, that the Board will consider such recognized medical treatise in the adjudication of the appeal. The notice from the Board will contain a copy of the relevant portions of the recognized medical treatise. The appellant will be given 60 days after the date of the notice described in this section to file a response, which may include the submission of relevant evidence or argument. The date the Board gives the notice will be presumed to be the same as the date of the notice letter for purposes of determining whether a response was timely filed.


(2) Exception. The notice described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section is not required if the Board uses a recognized medical treatise or medical dictionary for the limited purpose of defining a medical term and that definition is not material to the Board’s disposition of the appeal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(a), 7109(c)).

[67 FR 3105, Jan. 23, 2002, as amended at 69 FR 53808, Sept. 3, 2004; 76 FR 17548, Mar. 30, 2011. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 190, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 20.909-20.999 [Reserved]

Subpart K – Vacatur and Reconsideration

§ 20.1000 Rule 1000. Vacating a decision.

An appellate decision may be vacated by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals at any time upon request of the appellant or his or her representative, or on the Board’s own motion, on the following grounds:


(a) Denial of due process. Examples of circumstances in which denial of due process of law will be conceded are:


(1) When the appellant was denied his or her right to representation through action or inaction by Department of Veterans Affairs or Board of Veterans’ Appeals personnel,


(2) When there was a prejudicial failure to afford the appellant a personal hearing. (Where there was a failure to honor a request for a hearing and a hearing is subsequently scheduled, but the appellant fails to appear, the decision will not be vacated.), and


(3) For a legacy appeal, as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter, when a Statement of the Case or required Supplemental Statement of the Case was not provided.


(b) Allowance of benefits based on false or fraudulent evidence. Where it is determined on reconsideration that an allowance of benefits by the Board has been materially influenced by false or fraudulent evidence submitted by or on behalf of the appellant, the prior decision will be vacated only with respect to the issue or issues to which, within the judgment of the Board, the false or fraudulent evidence was material.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(a))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 177, 191, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§ 20.1001 Rule 1001. When reconsideration is accorded.

Reconsideration of an appellate decision may be accorded at any time by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals on motion by the appellant or his or her representative or on the Board’s own motion:


(a) Upon allegation of obvious error of fact or law;


(b) Upon discovery of new evidence in the form of relevant records or reports of the service department concerned; or


(c) Upon allegation that an allowance of benefits by the Board has been materially influenced by false or fraudulent evidence submitted by or on behalf of the appellant.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7103, 7104)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 190, 191, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1002 Rule 1002. Filing and disposition of motion for reconsideration.

(a) Application requirements. A motion for Reconsideration must be in writing and must include the name of the veteran; the name of the claimant or appellant if other than the veteran (e.g., a veteran’s survivor, a guardian, or a fiduciary appointed to receive VA benefits on an individual’s behalf); the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number; and the date of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision, or decisions, to be reconsidered. It must also set forth clearly and specifically the alleged obvious error, or errors, of fact or law in the applicable decision, or decisions, of the Board or other appropriate basis for requesting Reconsideration. If the applicable Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision, or decisions, involved more than one issue on appeal, the motion for reconsideration must identify the specific issue, or issues, to which the motion pertains. Issues not so identified will not be considered in the disposition of the motion.


(b) Filing of motion for reconsideration. A motion for reconsideration of a prior Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision may be filed at any time. Such motions must be filed at the following address: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038.


(c) Disposition. The Chairman will review the sufficiency of the allegations set forth in the motion and, depending upon the decision reached, proceed as follows:


(1) Motion denied. The appellant and representative or other appropriate party will be notified if the motion is denied. The notification will include reasons why the allegations are found insufficient. This constitutes final disposition of the motion.


(2) Motion allowed. If the motion is allowed, the appellant and his or her representative, if any, will be notified. The appellant and the representative will be given a period of 60 days from the date of mailing of the letter of notification to present additional arguments or evidence. The date of mailing of the letter of notification will be presumed to be the same as the date of the letter of notification. The Chairman will assign a Reconsideration panel in accordance with Rule 1004 (§ 20.1004).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7103, 7108)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 81 FR 32650, May 24, 2016. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 190, 191, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1003 Rule 1003. Hearings on reconsideration.

After a motion for reconsideration has been allowed, a hearing will be granted if the issue under reconsideration was considered on a docket for cases that may include a hearing, and an appellant requests a hearing before the Board. The hearing will be held by a Member or Members assigned to the reconsideration panel. A hearing will not normally be scheduled solely for the purpose of receiving argument by a representative. Such argument should be submitted in the form of a written brief. Requests for appearances by representatives alone to personally present argument to a Member or panel of Members of the Board may be granted if good cause is shown. Whether good cause has been shown will be determined by the presiding Member.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7103, 7105(a))

[61 FR 20453, May 7, 1996, as amended at 84 FR 191, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1004 Rule 1004. Reconsideration panel.

(a) Assignment of Members. When a motion for reconsideration is allowed, the Chairman will assign a panel of three or more Members of the Board, which may include the Chairman, to conduct the reconsideration.


(b) Number of Members constituting a reconsideration panel. In the case of a matter originally decided by a single Member of the Board, the case shall be referred to a panel of three Members of the Board. In the case of a matter originally decided by a panel of Members of the Board, the case shall be referred to an enlarged panel, consisting of three or more Members than the original panel. In order to obtain a majority opinion, the number of Members assigned to a reconsideration panel may be increased in successive increments of three.


(c) Members included in the reconsideration panel. The reconsideration panel may not include any Member who participated in the decision that is being reconsidered. Additional Members will be assigned in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7102, 7103)

[61 FR 20449, May 7, 1996. Redesignated at 84 FR 177, Jan. 18, 2019, as amended at 84 FR 4337, Feb. 15, 2019]


§§ 20.1005-20.1099 [Reserved]

Subpart L – Finality

§ 20.1100 Rule 1100. Finality of decisions of the Board.

(a) General. All decisions of the Board will be stamped with the date of mailing on the face of the decision. Unless the Chairman of the Board orders reconsideration, and with the exception of matters listed in paragraph (b) of this section, all Board decisions are final on the date stamped on the face of the decision. With the exception of matters listed in paragraph (b) of this section, the decision rendered by the reconsideration Panel in an appeal in which the Chairman has ordered reconsideration is final.


(b) Exceptions. Final Board decisions are not subject to review except as provided in 38 U.S.C. 1975 and 1984 and 38 U.S.C. chapters 37 and 72. A remand is in the nature of a preliminary order and does not constitute a final decision of the Board.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 511(a), 7103, 7104(a))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 61 FR 20453, May 7, 1996]


§ 20.1101 Rule 1101. [Reserved]

§ 20.1102 Rule 1102. Harmless error.

An error or defect in any decision by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals which does not affect the merits of the issue or substantive rights of the appellant will be considered harmless and not a basis for vacating or reversing such decision.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7103)


§ 20.1103 Rule 1103. Finality of determinations of the agency of original jurisdiction where issue is not appealed.

A determination on a claim by the agency of original jurisdiction of which the claimant is properly notified is final if an appeal is not perfected as prescribed in § 19.52 of this chapter. If no Notice of Disagreement is filed as prescribed in subpart C of this part, the claim shall not thereafter be readjudicated or allowed, except as provided by 38 U.S.C. 5104B or 5108, or by regulation.


[84 FR 191, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1104 Rule 1104. Finality of determinations of the agency of original jurisdiction affirmed on appeal.

When a determination of the agency of original jurisdiction is affirmed by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, such determination is subsumed by the final appellate decision.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(a))


§ 20.1105 Rule 1105. Supplemental claim after promulgation of appellate decision.

(a) After an appellate decision has been promulgated on a claim, a claimant may file a supplemental claim with the agency of original jurisdiction by submitting the prescribed form with new and relevant evidence related to the previously adjudicated claim as set forth in § 3.2601 of this chapter, except in cases involving simultaneously contested claims under Subpart E of this part.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5108, 7104)

(b) Legacy appeals pending on the effective date. For legacy appeals as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter, where prior to the effective date described in Rule 4 (§ 20.4), an appellant requested that a claim be reopened after an appellate decision has been promulgated and submitted evidence in support thereof, a determination as to whether such evidence is new and material must be made and, if it is, as to whether it provides a basis for allowing the claim. An adverse determination as to either question is appealable.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5108, 7104 (2016))

[84 FR 191, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1106 Rule 1106. Claim for death benefits by survivor – prior unfavorable decisions during veteran’s lifetime.

Except with respect to benefits under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 1311(a)(2) and 1318, and certain cases involving individuals whose Department of Veterans Affairs benefits have been forfeited for treason or for subversive activities under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 6104 and 6105, issues involved in a survivor’s claim for death benefits will be decided without regard to any prior disposition of those issues during the veteran’s lifetime. Cases in which a person substitutes for a deceased veteran under 38 U.S.C. 5121A are not claims for death benefits and are not subject to this section. Cases in which a person substitutes for a deceased death benefits claimant under 38 U.S.C. 5121A are claims for death benefits subject to this section.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5121A, 7104(b)).

[79 FR 52984, Sept. 5, 2014]


§§ 20.1107-20.1199 [Reserved]

Subpart M – Privacy Act

§ 20.1200 Rule 1200. Privacy Act request – appeal pending.

When a Privacy Act request is filed under § 1.577 of this chapter by an individual seeking records pertaining to him or her and the relevant records are in the custody of the Board, such request will be reviewed and processed prior to appellate action on that individual’s appeal.


(Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a; 38 U.S.C. 7107)


§ 20.1201 Rule 1201. Amendment of appellate decisions.

A request for amendment of an appellate decision under the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) may be entertained. However, such a request may not be used in lieu of, or to circumvent, the procedures established under Rules 1001 through 1004 (§§ 20.1001-20.1004). The Board will review a request for correction of factual information set forth in a decision. Where the request to amend under the Privacy Act is an attempt to alter a judgment made by the Board and thereby replace the adjudicatory authority and functions of the Board, the request will be denied on the basis that the Act does not authorize a collateral attack upon that which has already been the subject of a decision of the Board. The denial will satisfy the procedural requirements of § 1.579 of this chapter. If otherwise appropriate, the request will be considered one for reconsideration under Rules 1001 through 1004 (§§ 20.1001-20.1004).


(Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552a(d); 38 U.S.C. 7103, 7108)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 191, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 20.1202-20.1299 [Reserved]

Subpart N – Miscellaneous


Cross Reference:

In cases involving access to patient information relating to a Department of Veterans Affairs program for, or the treatment of, drug abuse, alcoholism, alcohol abuse, sickle cell anemia, or infection with the human immunodeficiency virus, also see 38 U.S.C. 7332.

§ 20.1300 Rule 1300. Removal of Board records.

No original record, paper, document or exhibit certified to the Board may be taken from the Board except as authorized by the Chairman or except as may be necessary to furnish copies or to transmit copies for other official purposes.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5701)

[61 FR 29028, June 7, 1996]


§ 20.1301 Rule 1301. Disclosure of information.

(a) Policy. It is the policy of the Board for the full text of appellate decisions to be disclosed to appellants. In those situations where disclosing certain information directly to the appellant would not be in conformance with 38 U.S.C. 5701, that information will be removed from the decision and the remaining text will be furnished to the appellant. A full-text appellate decision will be disclosed to the designated representative, however, unless the relationship between the appellant and representative is such (for example, a parent or spouse) that disclosure to the representative would be as harmful as if made to the appellant.


(b) Legacy appeals. For legacy appeals as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter, the policy described in paragraph (a) of this section is also applicable to Statements of the Case and supplemental Statements of the Case.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7105(d)(2))

(c) Public availability of Board decisions – (1) Decisions issued on or after January 1, 1992. Decisions rendered by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals on or after January 1, 1992, are electronically available for public inspection and copying on the Board’s website. All personal identifiers are redacted from the decisions prior to publication. Specific decisions may be identified by a word and/or topic search, or by the Board docket number. Board decisions will continue to be provided in a widely-used format as future advances in technology occur.


(2) Decisions issued prior to January 1, 1992. Decisions rendered by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals prior to January 1, 1992, have been indexed to facilitate access to the contents of the decisions (BVA Index I-01-1). The index, which was published quarterly in microfiche form with an annual cumulation, is available for review at Department of Veterans Affairs regional offices and at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, DC. Information on obtaining a microfiche copy of the index is also available from the Board. The index can be used to locate citations to decisions with issues similar to those of concern to an appellant. Each indexed decision has a locator number assigned to it. The manner in which the locator number is written depends upon the age of the decision. Decisions archived prior to late 1989 have a number such as 82-07-0001. Decisions archived at a later date have a number such as BVA-90-12345. This number must be used when requesting a copy of that decision. These requests must be directed to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038.


(Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2), 38 U.S.C. 501(a))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 71 FR 18009, Apr. 10, 2006; 81 FR 32650, May 24, 2016; 84 FR 191, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1302 Rule 1302. Death of appellant during pendency of appeal before the Board.

(a) General. An appeal pending before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals when the appellant dies will be dismissed without prejudice. A person eligible for substitution under § 3.1010 of this chapter may file with the agency of original jurisdiction a request to substitute for the deceased appellant. If the agency of original jurisdiction grants the request to substitute, the case will assume its original place on the docket pursuant to Rule 800, paragraph (f) (§ 20.800(f)) or, for legacy appeals, Rule 902, paragraph (a)(2) (§ 20.902(a)(2)). If the agency of original jurisdiction denies the request to substitute and the person requesting to substitute appeals that decision to the Board, the appeal regarding eligibility to substitute will assume the same place on the docket as the original claim pursuant to Rule 800, paragraph (f) (§ 20.800(f)) or, for legacy appeals, Rule 902, paragraph (a)(2) (§ 20.902(a)(2)).


(b) Exception. (1) If a hearing request is pending pursuant to Rule 704 (§ 20.704) when the appellant dies, the agency of original jurisdiction may take action on a request to substitute without regard to whether the pending appeal has been dismissed by the Board, if the request is submitted in accordance with § 3.1010 of this chapter.


(2) If the agency of original jurisdiction grants the request to substitute, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals can then take the testimony of the substitute at a hearing held pursuant to Rules 700 through 717 (§§ 20.700 through 20.717). If the substitute desires representation at the hearing, he or she must appoint a representative prior to the hearing pursuant to § 14.631(g) of this chapter.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5121A, 7104(a)).

[79 FR 52984, Sept. 5, 2014, as amended at 84 FR 191, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1303 Rule 1303. Nonprecedential nature of Board decisions.

Although the Board strives for consistency in issuing its decisions, previously issued Board decisions will be considered binding only with regard to the specific case decided. Prior decisions in other appeals may be considered in a case to the extent that they reasonably relate to the case, but each case presented to the Board will be decided on the basis of the individual facts of the case in light of applicable procedure and substantive law.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7104(a))


§ 20.1304 Rule 1304. Request for a change in representation.

(a) Request for a change in representation within 90 days following Notice of Disagreement. An appellant and his or her representative, if any, will be granted a period of 90 days following receipt of a Notice of Disagreement, or up to and including the date the appellate decision is promulgated by the Board, whichever comes first, during which they may submit a request for a change in representation.


(b) Subsequent request for a change in representation. Following the expiration of the period described in paragraph (a) of this section, the Board will not accept a request for a change in representation except when the appellant demonstrates on motion that there was good cause for the delay. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, illness of the appellant or the representative which precluded action during the period; death of an individual representative; illness or incapacity of an individual representative which renders it impractical for an appellant to continue with him or her as representative; and withdrawal of an individual representative. Such motions must be in writing and must include the name of the veteran; the name of the claimant or appellant if other than the veteran (e.g., a veteran’s survivor, a guardian, or a fiduciary appointed to receive VA benefits on an individual’s behalf) or the name of any substitute claimant or appellant; the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number; and an explanation of why the request for a change in representation could not be accomplished in a timely manner. Such motions must be filed at the following address: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038. Depending upon the ruling on the motion, action will be taken as follows:


(1) Good cause not shown. If good cause is not shown, the request for a change in representation will be referred to the agency of original jurisdiction for association with the appellant’s file for any pending or subsequently received claims upon completion of the Board’s action on the pending appeal without action by the Board concerning the request.


(2) Good cause shown. If good cause is shown, the request for a change in representation will be honored.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5902, 5903, 5904, 7105, 7105A)

[84 FR 191, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1305 Rule 1305. Procedures for legacy appellants to request a change in representation, personal hearing, or submission of additional evidence following certification of an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

(a) Request for a change in representation, request for a personal hearing, or submission of additional evidence within 90 days following notification of certification and transfer of records. An appellant in a legacy appeal, as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter, and his or her representative, if any, will be granted a period of 90 days following the mailing of notice to them that an appeal has been certified to the Board for appellate review and that the appellate record has been transferred to the Board, or up to and including the date the appellate decision is promulgated by the Board, whichever comes first, during which they may submit a request for a personal hearing, additional evidence, or a request for a change in representation. Any such request or additional evidence should be submitted directly to the Board and not to the agency of original jurisdiction. If any such request or additional evidence is submitted to the agency of original jurisdiction instead of to the Board, the agency of original jurisdiction must forward it to the Board in accordance with § 19.37(b) of this chapter. The date of mailing of the letter of notification will be presumed to be the same as the date of that letter for purposes of determining whether the request was timely made or the evidence was timely submitted. Any evidence which is submitted at a hearing on appeal which was requested during such period will be considered to have been received during such period, even though the hearing may be held following the expiration of the period. Any pertinent evidence submitted by the appellant or representative is subject to the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section if a simultaneously contested claim is involved.


(b) Subsequent request for a change in representation, request for a personal hearing, or submission of additional evidence – (1) General rule. Subject to the exception in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, following the expiration of the period described in paragraph (a) of this section, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals will not accept a request for a change in representation, a request for a personal hearing, or additional evidence except when the appellant demonstrates on motion that there was good cause for the delay. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, illness of the appellant or the representative which precluded action during the period; death of an individual representative; illness or incapacity of an individual representative which renders it impractical for an appellant to continue with him or her as representative; withdrawal of an individual representative; the discovery of evidence that was not available prior to the expiration of the period; and delay in transfer of the appellate record to the Board which precluded timely action with respect to these matters. Such motions must be in writing and must include the name of the veteran; the name of the claimant or appellant if other than the veteran (e.g., a veteran’s survivor, a guardian, or a fiduciary appointed to receive VA benefits on an individual’s behalf) or the name of any substitute claimant or appellant; the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number; and an explanation of why the request for a change in representation, the request for a personal hearing, or the submission of additional evidence could not be accomplished in a timely manner. Such motions must be filed at the following address: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038. Depending upon the ruling on the motion, action will be taken as follows:


(i) Good cause not shown. If good cause is not shown, the request for a change in representation, the request for a personal hearing, or the additional evidence submitted will be referred to the agency of original jurisdiction upon completion of the Board’s action on the pending appeal without action by the Board concerning the request or additional evidence. Any personal hearing granted as a result of a request so referred or any additional evidence so referred may be treated by that agency as the basis for a reopened claim, if appropriate. If the Board denied a benefit sought in the pending appeal and any evidence so referred which was received prior to the date of the Board’s decision, or testimony presented at a hearing resulting from a request for a hearing so referred, together with the evidence already of record, is subsequently found to be the basis of an allowance of that benefit, the effective date of the award will be the same as if the benefit had been granted by the Board as a result of the appeal which was pending at the time that the hearing request or additional evidence was received.


(ii) Good cause shown. If good cause is shown, the request for a change in representation or for a personal hearing will be honored. Any pertinent evidence submitted by the appellant or representative will be accepted, subject to the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section if a simultaneously contested claim is involved.


(2) Exception. The motion described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section is not required to submit evidence in response to a notice described in § 20.908.


(c) Consideration of additional evidence by the Board or by the agency of original jurisdiction. Any pertinent evidence submitted by the appellant or representative which is accepted by the Board under the provisions of this section, or is submitted by the appellant or representative in response to a § 20.908 of this part, notification, as well as any such evidence referred to the Board by the agency of original jurisdiction under § 19.37(b) of this chapter, must be referred to the agency of original jurisdiction for review, unless this procedural right is waived by the appellant or representative, or unless the Board determines that the benefit or benefits to which the evidence relates may be fully allowed on appeal without such referral. Such a waiver must be in writing or, if a hearing on appeal is conducted, the waiver must be formally and clearly entered on the record orally at the time of the hearing. Evidence is not pertinent if it does not relate to or have a bearing on the appellate issue or issues.


(d) Simultaneously contested claims. In simultaneously contested claims, if pertinent evidence which directly affects payment, or potential payment, of the benefit sought is submitted by any claimant and is accepted by the Board under the provisions of this section, the substance of such evidence will be mailed to each of the other claimants who will then have 60 days from the date of mailing of notice of the new evidence within which to comment upon it and/or submit additional evidence in rebuttal. For matters over which the Board does not have original jurisdiction, a waiver of initial agency of original jurisdiction consideration of pertinent additional evidence received by the Board must be obtained from each claimant in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section. The date of mailing of the letter of notification of the new evidence will be presumed to be the same as the date of that letter for purposes of determining whether such comment or evidence in rebuttal was timely submitted. No further period will be provided for response to such comment or rebuttal evidence.


(e) Relationship to proceedings before the General Counsel to cancel accreditation or to review the reasonableness of fees and expenses. The provisions of paragraphs (a), (b), and (d) of this section allowing appellants to submit additional evidence do not apply in proceedings before the General Counsel conducted under part 14 of this chapter to cancel accreditation or to review fee agreements and expenses for reasonableness.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5121A, 5902, 5903; 38 U.S.C. 5904, 7104, 7105, 7105A (2016))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 60 FR 25851, May 15, 1995; 61 FR 20453, May 7, 1996; 67 FR 3105, Jan. 23, 2002; 69 FR 53808, Sept. 3, 2004; 73 FR 29880, May 22, 2008; 76 FR 17548, Mar. 30, 2011; 79 FR 52984, Sept. 5, 2014; 81 FR 32650, May 24, 2016. Redesignated and amended at 84 FR 191, 192, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 20.1306-20.1399 [Reserved]

Subpart O – Revision of Decisions on Grounds of Clear and Unmistakable Error


Source:64 FR 2139, Jan. 13, 1999, unless otherwise noted.

§ 20.1400 Rule 1400. Motions to revise Board decisions.

(a) Review to determine whether clear and unmistakable error exists in a final Board decision may be initiated by the Board, on its own motion, or by a party to that decision (as the term “party” is defined in Rule 1401(b) (§ 20.1401(b) of this part) in accordance with Rule 1404 (§ 20.1404 of this part).


(b) All final Board decisions are subject to revision under this subpart except:


(1) Decisions on issues which have been appealed to and decided by a court of competent jurisdiction; and


(2) Decisions on issues which have subsequently been decided by a court of competent jurisdiction.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 7111)

[64 FR 2139, Jan. 13, 1999, as amended at 64 FR 73414, Dec. 30, 1999]


§ 20.1401 Rule 1401. Definitions.

(a) Issue. Unless otherwise specified, the term “issue” in this subpart means a matter upon which the Board made a final decision (other than a decision under this subpart). As used in the preceding sentence, a “final decision” is one which was appealable under Chapter 72 of title 38, United States Code, or which would have been so appealable if such provision had been in effect at the time of the decision.


(b) Party. As used in this subpart, the term “party” means any party to the proceeding before the Board that resulted in the final Board decision which is the subject of a motion under this subpart.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 7104(a))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 192, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1402 Rule 1402. Inapplicability of other rules.

Motions filed under this subpart are not appeals and, except as otherwise provided, are not subject to the provisions of part 19 of this title or this part 20 which relate to the processing and disposition of appeals.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))


§ 20.1403 Rule 1403. What constitutes clear and unmistakable error; what does not.

(a) General. Clear and unmistakable error is a very specific and rare kind of error. It is the kind of error, of fact or of law, that when called to the attention of later reviewers compels the conclusion, to which reasonable minds could not differ, that the result would have been manifestly different but for the error. Generally, either the correct facts, as they were known at the time, were not before the Board, or the statutory and regulatory provisions extant at the time were incorrectly applied.


(b) Record to be reviewed – (1) General. Review for clear and unmistakable error in a prior Board decision must be based on the record and the law that existed when that decision was made.


(2) Special rule for Board decisions on legacy appeals issued on or after July 21, 1992. For a Board decision on a legacy appeal as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter issued on or after July 21, 1992, the record that existed when that decision was made includes relevant documents possessed by the Department of Veterans Affairs not later than 90 days before such record was transferred to the Board for review in reaching that decision, provided that the documents could reasonably be expected to be part of the record.


(c) Errors that constitute clear and unmistakable error. To warrant revision of a Board decision on the grounds of clear and unmistakable error, there must have been an error in the Board’s adjudication of the appeal which, had it not been made, would have manifestly changed the outcome when it was made. If it is not absolutely clear that a different result would have ensued, the error complained of cannot be clear and unmistakable.


(d) Examples of situations that are not clear and unmistakable error – (1) Changed diagnosis. A new medical diagnosis that “corrects” an earlier diagnosis considered in a Board decision.


(2) Duty to assist. The Secretary’s failure to fulfill the duty to assist.


(3) Evaluation of evidence. A disagreement as to how the facts were weighed or evaluated.


(e) Change in interpretation. Clear and unmistakable error does not include the otherwise correct application of a statute or regulation where, subsequent to the Board decision challenged, there has been a change in the interpretation of the statute or regulation.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 7111)

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 192, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1404 Rule 1404. Filing and pleading requirements; withdrawal.

(a) General. A motion for revision of a decision based on clear and unmistakable error must be in writing, and must be signed by the moving party or that party’s representative. The motion must include the name of the veteran; the name of the moving party if other than the veteran; the applicable Department of Veterans Affairs file number; and the date of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision to which the motion relates. If the applicable decision involved more than one issue on appeal, the motion must identify the specific issue, or issues, to which the motion pertains. Motions which fail to comply with the requirements set forth in this paragraph shall be dismissed without prejudice to refiling under this subpart.


(b) Specific allegations required. The motion must set forth clearly and specifically the alleged clear and unmistakable error, or errors, of fact or law in the Board decision, the legal or factual basis for such allegations, and why the result would have been manifestly different but for the alleged error. Non-specific allegations of failure to follow regulations or failure to give due process, or any other general, non-specific allegations of error, are insufficient to satisfy the requirement of the previous sentence. Motions which fail to comply with the requirements set forth in this paragraph shall be dismissed without prejudice to refiling under this subpart.


(c) Filing. A motion for revision of a decision based on clear and unmistakable error may be filed at any time. Such motions should be filed at the following address: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038.


(d) Requests not filed at the Board. A request for revision transmitted to the Board by the Secretary pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 7111(f) (relating to requests for revision filed with the Secretary other than at the Board) shall be treated as if a motion had been filed pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.


(e) Motions for reconsideration. A motion for reconsideration, as described in subpart K of this part, whenever filed, will not be considered a motion under this subpart.


(f) Withdrawal. A motion under this subpart may be withdrawn at any time before the Board promulgates a decision on the motion. Such withdrawal shall be in writing, shall be filed at the address listed in paragraph (c) of this section, and shall be signed by the moving party or by such party’s representative. If such a writing is timely received, the motion shall be dismissed without prejudice to refiling under this subpart.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 7111)

[64 FR 2139, Jan. 13, 1999, as amended at 66 FR 35903, July 10, 2001; 81 FR 32650, May 24, 2016; 84 FR 192, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1405 Rule 1405. Disposition.

(a) Docketing and assignment; notification of representative – (1) General. Motions under this subpart will be docketed in the order received and will be assigned in accordance with § 20.106 (relating to assignment of proceedings). Where an appeal is pending on the same underlying issue at the time the motion is received, the motion and the appeal may be consolidated under the same docket number and disposed of as part of the same proceeding. A motion may not be assigned to any Member who participated in the decision that is the subject of the motion. If a motion is assigned to a panel, the decision will be by a majority vote of the panel Members.


(2) Advancement on the docket. A motion may be advanced on the docket subject to the same substantive and procedural requirements as those applicable to an appeal under Rule 800, paragraph (c) (§ 20.800(c)) or, for legacy appeals, Rule 902, paragraph (c) (§ 20.902(c)).


(3) Notification of representative. When the Board receives a motion under this subpart from an individual whose claims file indicates that he or she is represented, the Board shall provide a copy of the motion to the representative before assigning the motion to a Member or panel. Within 30 days after the date on which the Board provides a copy of the motion to the representative, the representative may file a relevant response, including a request to review the claims file prior to filing a further response. Upon request made within the time allowed under this paragraph (a)(2), the Board shall arrange for the representative to have the opportunity to review the claims file, and shall permit the representative a reasonable time after making the file available to file a further response.


(b) Evidence. No new evidence will be considered in connection with the disposition of the motion. Material included in the record on the basis of Rule 1403(b)(2) (§ 20.1403(b)(2) of this part) is not considered new evidence.


(c) Hearing – (1) Availability. The Board may, for good cause shown, grant a request for a hearing for the purpose of argument. No testimony or other evidence will be admitted in connection with such a hearing. The determination as to whether good cause has been shown shall be made by the member or panel to whom the motion is assigned.


(2) Submission of requests. Requests for such a hearing shall be submitted to the following address: Board of Veterans’ Appeals, P.O. Box 27063, Washington, DC 20038.


(d) Referral to ensure completeness of the record. Subject to the provisions of paragraph (b) of this section, the Board may use the various agencies of original jurisdiction to ensure completeness of the record in connection with a motion under this subpart.


(e) General Counsel opinions. The Board may secure opinions of the General Counsel in connection with a motion under this subpart. In such cases, the Board will notify the party and his or her representative, if any. When the opinion is received by the Board, a copy of the opinion will be furnished to the party’s representative or, subject to the limitations provided in 38 U.S.C. 5701(b)(1), to the party if there is no representative. A period of 60 days from the date of mailing of a copy of the opinion will be allowed for response. The date of mailing will be presumed to be the same as the date of the letter or memorandum which accompanies the copy of the opinion for purposes of determining whether a response was timely filed.


(f) Decision. The decision of the Board on a motion under this subpart will be in writing. The decision will include separately stated findings of fact and conclusions of law on all material questions of fact and law presented on the record, the reasons or bases for those findings and conclusions, and an order granting or denying the motion.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 7104(d), 7111)

[64 FR 2139, Jan. 13, 1999, as amended at 64 FR 7091, Feb. 12, 1999; 66 FR 37151, July 17, 2001; 68 FR 53682, Sept. 12, 2003; 81 FR 32650, May 24, 2016; 84 FR 192, Jan. 18, 2019; 84 FR 34788, July 19, 2019]


§ 20.1406 Rule 1406. Effect of revision; discontinuance or reduction of benefits.

(a) General. A decision of the Board that revises a prior Board decision on the grounds of clear and unmistakable error has the same effect as if the decision had been made on the date of the prior decision.


(b) Discontinuance or reduction of benefits. Revision of a prior Board decision under this subpart that results in the discontinuance or reduction of benefits is subject to laws and regulations governing the reduction or discontinuance of benefits by reason of erroneous award based solely on administrative error or errors in judgment.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 7111(b))


§ 20.1407 Rule 1407. Motions by the Board.

If the Board undertakes, on its own motion, a review pursuant to this subpart, the party to that decision and that party’s representative (if any) will be notified of such motion and provided an adequate summary thereof and, if applicable, outlining any proposed discontinuance or reduction in benefits that would result from revision of the Board’s prior decision. They will be allowed a period of 60 days to file a brief or argument in answer. The failure of a party to so respond does not affect the finality of the Board’s decision on the motion.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 7111)


§ 20.1408 Rule 1408. Special rules for simultaneously contested claims.

In the case of a motion under this subpart to revise a final Board decision in a simultaneously contested claim, as that term is used in Rule 3(l) (§ 20.3(l) of this part), a copy of such motion shall, to the extent practicable, be sent to all other contesting parties. Other parties have a period of 30 days from the date of mailing of the copy of the motion to file a brief or argument in answer. The date of mailing of the copy will be presumed to be the same as the date of the letter which accompanies the copy. Notices in simultaneously contested claims will be forwarded to the last address of record of the parties concerned and such action will constitute sufficient evidence of notice.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 193, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1409 Rule 1409. Finality and appeal.

(a) A decision on a motion filed by a party or initiated by the Board pursuant to this subpart will be stamped with the date of mailing on the face of the decision, and is final on such date. The party and his or her representative, if any, will be provided with copies of the decision.


(b) For purposes of this section, a dismissal without prejudice under Rule 1404(a)(§ 20.1404(a) of this part), Rule 1404(b)(§ 20.1404(b)), or Rule 1404(f)(§ 20.1404(f)), or a referral under Rule 1405, paragraph (d) (§ 20.1405(d) of this part) is not a final decision of the Board.


(c) Once there is a final decision on a motion under this subpart relating to a prior Board decision on an issue, that prior Board decision on that issue is no longer subject to revision on the grounds of clear and unmistakable error. Subsequent motions relating to that prior Board decision on that issue shall be dismissed with prejudice.


(d) Chapter 72 of title 38, United States Code (relating to judicial review), applies with respect to final decisions on motions filed by a party or initiated by the Board pursuant to this subpart.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a); Pub. L. 105-111)

[64 FR 2139, Jan. 13, 1999, as amended at 66 FR 35903, July 10, 2001; 84 FR 193, Jan. 18, 2019]


§ 20.1410 Rule 1410. Stays pending court action.

The Board will stay its consideration of a motion under this subpart upon receiving notice that the Board decision that is the subject of the motion has been appealed to a court of competent jurisdiction until the appeal has been concluded or the court has issued an order permitting, or directing, the Board to proceed with the motion.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))


§ 20.1411 Rule 1411. Relationship to other statutes.

(a) The “benefit of the doubt” rule of 38 U.S.C. 5107(b) does not apply to the Board’s decision, on a motion under this subpart, as to whether there was clear and unmistakable error in a prior Board decision.


(b) For legacy appeals as defined in § 19.2 of this chapter, a motion under this subpart is not a claim subject to reopening under 38 U.S.C. 5108 (prior to the effective date described in Rule 4, paragraph (a) (§ 20.4(a) of this part) (relating to reopening claims on the grounds of new and material evidence).


(c) A motion under this subpart is not an application for benefits subject to any duty associated with 38 U.S.C. 5103(a) (relating to applications for benefits).


(d) A motion under this subpart is not a claim for benefits subject to the requirements and duties associated with 38 U.S.C. 5103A (imposing a duty to assist).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a))

[57 FR 4109, Feb. 3, 1992, as amended at 84 FR 193, Jan. 18, 2019]


§§ 20.1412-20.1499 [Reserved]

Subpart P [Reserved]

PART 21 – VETERAN READINESS AND EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION

Subpart A – Veteran Readiness and Employment


Authority:38 U.S.C. 501(a), chs. 18, 31, and as noted in specific sections.


Source:49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, unless otherwise noted.

Veteran Readiness and Employment Overview

§ 21.1 Training and rehabilitation for veterans with service-connected disabilities.

(a) Purposes. The purposes of this program are to provide to eligible veterans with compensable service-connected disabilities all services and assistance necessary to enable them to achieve maximum independence in daily living and, to the maximum extent feasible, to become employable and to obtain and maintain suitable employment.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3100)

(b) Basic requirements. Before a service-disabled veteran may receive training and rehabilitation services under Chapter 31, Title 38 U.S.C., three basic requirements must be met:


(1) The Department of Veterans Affairs must first find that the veteran has basic entitlement to services as prescribed by § 21.40.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

(2) The services necessary for training and rehabilitation must be identified by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the veteran.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

(3) An individual written plan must be developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the veteran describing the goals of the program and the means through which these goals will be achieved.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]


Nonduplication

§ 21.21 Election of benefits under education programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(a) Election of benefits required. A veteran must make an election of benefits among the programs of education administered by VA for which he or she may be eligible. A veteran who has basic entitlement to rehabilitation under chapter 31 and is also eligible for assistance under any of the other education programs administered by VA must make an election of benefits between chapter 31 and any other VA program of education for which he or she may be eligible. The veteran may reelect at any time if he or she is otherwise eligible. (See §§ 21.264 and 21.334.)


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 1781(b))

(b) Use of prior training in formulating a rehabilitation program. If a veteran has pursued an educational or training program under an education program listed in § 21.4020 of this part, the earlier program of education or special restorative training shall be utilized to the extent practicable.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3695(b))

[53 FR 880, Jan. 14, 1988, as amended at 57 FR 57108, Dec. 3, 1992]


§ 21.22 Nonduplication – Federal programs.

(a) Allowances. A service-disabled veteran who is eligible for benefits under Chapter 31, may not receive a subsistence allowance or elect payment of an allowance at the educational assistance rate under Chapter 30 pursuant to § 21.264 if the veteran:


(1) Is on active duty and is pursuing a course of education which is being paid for by the Armed Forces (or by the Department of Health and Human Services in the case of the Public Health Service), or


(2) Is attending a course of education or training paid for under Chapter 41, Title 5 U.S.C. and whose full salary is being paid to such veteran while so training.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3681; Pub. L. 98-525)

(b) Services which may be authorized. A service-disabled veteran who is in one of the two categories defined in paragraph (a) of this section is entitled to receive all benefits, other than an allowance, to which he or she is otherwise entitled under Chapter 31, including:


(1) Payment of any tuition and fees not paid for by the Armed Forces.


(2) The cost of special services, such as reader services, tutorial assistance, and special equipment during the period of such training.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3681)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 4283, Jan. 30, 1989; 57 FR 57108, Dec. 3, 1992]


Claims

§ 21.30 Claims.

A specific claim in the form prescribed by the Department of Veterans Affairs must be filed for:


(a) A program of rehabilitation services, or


(b) Employment assistance.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 3102, 3117, 5101(a))


§ 21.31 Informal claim.

Any communication or action indicating an intent to apply for rehabilitation or employment assistance, from a veteran, a duly authorized representative, or a Member of Congress may be considered an informal claim. Upon receipt of an informal claim, if a formal claim has not been filed, an application form will be forwarded to the veteran for execution. In the case of a claim for rehabilitation, or employment assistance, the formal claim will be considered filed as of the date of receipt of the informal claim if received within 1 year from the date it was sent to the veteran, or before cessation of the course, whichever is earlier.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 5101(a), 5103(a))


§ 21.32 Notification by VA of necessary information or evidence when a claim is filed; time for claimant response and VA action.

The provisions of this section apply to claims that are governed by this subpart or subpart M of this part.


(a) VA has a duty to notify claimants of necessary information or evidence. Except when a claim cannot be substantiated because there is no legal basis for the claim, or undisputed facts render the claimant ineligible for the claimed benefit, when VA receives a complete or substantially complete application for vocational rehabilitation benefits and services provided under this subpart or subpart M of this part VA will:


(1) Notify the claimant of any information and evidence that is necessary to substantiate the claim;


(2) Inform the claimant which information and evidence, if any, the claimant is to provide to VA and which information and evidence, if any, VA will try to obtain for the claimant; and


(3) Inform the claimant of the time limit, as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, for responding to VA’s notification, and of actions, as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, that VA may take to decide the claim if the claimant does not respond to such notification within 30 days.


(b) Definitions for purposes of §§ 21.32 and 21.33. For purposes of this section and § 21.33:


(1) The term application does not include a notice of disagreement.


(2) The term notification means the notice described in paragraph (a) of this section.


(3) The term substantially complete application means, for an individual’s first application for vocational rehabilitation benefits and services administered by VA, an application containing:


(i) The claimant’s name;


(ii) His or her relationship to the veteran, if applicable;


(iii) Sufficient information for VA to verify the claimed service, if applicable; and


(iv) The benefit claimed.


(4) The term information means nonevidentiary facts, such as the claimant’s Social Security number or address, or the name of the educational institution the claimant is attending.


(c) Time limit. Any information and evidence described in the notification as information and evidence that the claimant is to provide must be received by VA within one year from the date of the notification. If VA does not receive the information and evidence from the claimant within that time period, VA may adjudicate the claim based on the information and evidence in the file.


(d) Actions VA may take after 30 days if no response from claimant. If the claimant has not responded to the notification within 30 days, VA may decide the claim before the expiration of the one-year period, based on all the information and evidence in the file, including information and evidence it has obtained on behalf of the claimant. If VA does so, however, and the claimant subsequently provides the information and evidence specified in the notification within one year of the date of the notification, VA must readjudicate the claim. If VA’s decision on a readjudication is favorable to the claimant, the award of vocational rehabilitation benefits and services shall take effect as if the prior decision by VA on the claim had not been made.


(e) Incomplete applications. If VA receives an incomplete application for benefits, it will notify the claimant of the information necessary to complete the application and will defer assistance until the claimant submits this information. If the information necessary to complete the application is not received by VA within one year from the date of such notice, VA cannot pay or provide any benefits based on that application.


(f) Who VA will notify. For the purpose of this section, when VA seeks to notify a claimant, it will provide such notice to:


(1) The claimant;


(2) His or her fiduciary, if any; and


(3) His or her representative, if any.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5102, 5103, 5103A(a)(3))

[74 FR 31855, July 6, 2009]


§ 21.33 VA has a duty to assist claimants in obtaining evidence.

The provisions of this section apply to claims that are governed by this subpart or subpart M of this part.


(a) VA’s duty to assist begins when VA receives a complete or substantially complete application. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, upon receipt of a complete or substantially complete application for vocational rehabilitation benefits and services under this subpart or subpart M of this part, VA will:


(i) Make reasonable efforts to help a claimant obtain evidence necessary to substantiate the claim; and


(ii) Give the assistance described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section to an individual attempting to reopen a finally decided claim.


(2) VA will not pay any fees a custodian of records may charge to provide the records VA requests.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A)

(b) Obtaining records not in the custody of a Federal department or agency. (1) VA will make reasonable efforts to obtain relevant records not in the custody of a Federal department or agency. These records include relevant records from:


(i) State or local governments;


(ii) Private medical care providers;


(iii) Current or former employers; and


(iv) Other non-Federal governmental sources.


(2) The reasonable efforts described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section will generally consist of an initial request for the records and, if VA does not receive the records, at least one follow-up request. The following are exceptions to this provision concerning the number of requests that VA generally will make:


(i) VA will not make a follow-up request if a response to the initial request indicates that the records sought do not exist or that a follow-up request for the records would be futile.


(ii) If VA receives information showing that subsequent requests to this or another custodian could result in obtaining the records sought, reasonable efforts will include an initial request and, if VA does not receive the records, at least one follow-up request to the new source or an additional request to the original source.


(3) The claimant must cooperate fully with VA’s reasonable efforts to obtain relevant records from non-Federal agency or department custodians. The claimant must provide enough information to identify and locate the existing records, including:


(i) The person, company, agency, or other custodian holding the records;


(ii) The approximate time frame covered by the records; and


(iii) In the case of medical treatment records, the condition for which treatment was provided.


(4) If necessary, the claimant must authorize the release of existing records in a form acceptable to the person, company, agency, or other custodian holding the records.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A)

(c) Obtaining records in the custody of a Federal department or agency. (1) Subject to paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(4) of this section, VA will make as many requests as are necessary to obtain relevant records from a Federal department or agency. These records include but are not limited to:


(i) Military records;


(ii) Medical and other records from VA medical facilities;


(iii) Records from non-VA facilities providing examination or treatment at VA expense; and


(iv) Records from other Federal agencies.


(2) VA will cease its efforts to obtain records from a Federal department or agency only if VA concludes that the records sought do not exist or that further efforts to obtain those records would be futile. Cases in which VA may conclude that no further efforts are required include cases in which the Federal department or agency advises VA that the requested records do not exist or that the custodian of such records does not have them.


(3) The claimant must cooperate fully with VA’s reasonable efforts to obtain relevant records from Federal department or agency custodians. At VA’s request, the claimant must provide enough information to identify and locate the existing records, including:


(i) The custodian or agency holding the records;


(ii) The approximate time frame covered by the records; and


(iii) In the case of medical treatment records, the condition for which treatment was provided.


(4) If necessary, the claimant must authorize the release of existing records in a form acceptable to the custodian or agency holding the records.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A)

(d) Circumstances where VA will refrain from or discontinue providing assistance. VA will refrain from providing assistance in obtaining evidence for a claim if the substantially complete or complete application for benefits indicates that there is no reasonable possibility that any assistance VA would provide to the claimant would substantiate the claim. VA will discontinue providing assistance in obtaining evidence for a claim if the evidence obtained indicates that there is no reasonable possibility that further assistance would substantiate the claim. Circumstances in which VA will refrain from or discontinue providing assistance in obtaining evidence include but are not limited to:


(1) The claimant’s ineligibility for the benefit sought because of lack of qualifying service, lack of veteran status, or other lack of legal eligibility;


(2) Claims that are inherently not credible or clearly lack merit;


(3) An application requesting a benefit to which the claimant is not entitled as a matter of law; and


(4) The claimant’s lack of cooperation in providing or requesting information or evidence necessary to substantiate the claim.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5103A)

(e) Duty to notify claimant of inability to obtain records. (1) VA will notify the claimant either orally or in writing when VA:


(i) Has made reasonable efforts to obtain relevant non-Federal records, but is unable to obtain them; or


(ii) After continued efforts to obtain Federal records, concludes that it is reasonably certain they do not exist or that further efforts to obtain them would be futile.


(2) For non-Federal records requests, VA may provide the notice to the claimant at the same time it makes its final attempt to obtain the relevant records.


(3) VA will make a written record of any oral notice conveyed under this paragraph to the claimant.


(4) The notice to the claimant must contain the following information:


(i) The identity of the records VA was unable to obtain;


(ii) An explanation of the efforts VA made to obtain the records;


(iii) The fact described in paragraph (e)(1)(i) or (e)(1)(ii) of this section;


(iv) A description of any further action VA will take regarding the claim, including, but not limited to, notice that VA will decide the claim based on the evidence of record unless the claimant submits the records VA was unable to obtain; and


(v) A notice that the claimant is ultimately responsible for obtaining the evidence.


(5) If VA becomes aware of the existence of relevant records before deciding the claim, VA will notify the claimant of the existence of such records and ask that the claimant provide a release for the records. If the claimant does not provide any necessary release of the relevant records that VA is unable to obtain, VA will ask that the claimant obtain the records and provide them to VA.


(6) For the purpose of this section, if VA must notify the claimant, VA will provide notice to:


(i) The claimant;


(ii) His or her fiduciary, if any; and


(iii) His or her representative, if any.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 5102, 5103(a), 5103A)

[74 FR 31856, July 6, 2009]


Definitions

§ 21.35 Definitions.

(a) Employment handicap. This term means an impairment of a veteran’s ability to prepare for, obtain, or retain employment consistent with such veteran’s abilities, aptitudes, and interests.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(1), 3102)

(b) Independence in daily living. This term means the ability of a veteran, without the service of others, or with a reduced level of the services of others, to live and function within such veteran’s family and community.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(2))

(c) Program of education. This term means:


(1) A combination of subjects or unit courses pursued at a school which is generally acceptable to meet requirements for a predetermined educational, professional or vocational objective; or


(2) Such subjects or courses which are generally acceptable to meet requirements for more than one objective if all objectives pursued are generally recognized as being related to a single career field; or


(3) Any unit course or subject, or combination of courses or subjects, pursued by an eligible veteran at any educational institution required by the Administrator of the Small Business Administration as a condition to obtaining financial assistance under the provisions of section (7)(i)(1) of the Small Business Act.


(Authority: 15 U.S.C. 636(i)(1), 38 U.S.C. 3452(b))

(d) Program of independent living services and assistance. This term includes:


(1) The services provided in this program that are needed to enable a veteran to achieve maximum independence in daily living, including counseling, diagnostic, medical, social, psychological, and educational services determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be necessary, and


(2) The monthly allowance authorized by 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 for such a veteran.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(4))

(e) Rehabilitated to the point of employability. This term means that the veteran is employable in an occupation for which a vocational rehabilitation program has been provided under this program


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(5))

(f) Rehabilitation program. This term includes, when appropriate:


(1) A vocational rehabilitation program (see paragraph (i) of this section);


(2) A program of independent living services and assistance (see paragraph (d) of this section) for a veteran for whom a vocational goal has been determined not to be currently reasonably feasible; or


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(6); Pub. L. 99-576)

(3) A program of employment services for employable veterans who are prior participants in Department of Veterans Affairs or state-federal vocational rehabilitation programs.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(g) Serious employment handicap. This term means a significant impairment of a veteran’s ability to prepare for, obtain, or retain employment consistent with such veteran’s abilities, aptitudes, and interests.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(7)

(h) Vocational goal. (1) The term vocational goal means a gainful employment status consistent with a veteran’s abilities, aptitudes, and interests;


(2) The term achievement of a vocational goal is reasonably feasible means the effects of the veteran’s disability (service and nonservice-connected), when considered in relation to the veteran’s circumstances does not prevent the veteran from successfully pursuing a vocational rehabilitation program and becoming gainfully employed in an occupation consistent with the veteran’s abilities, aptitudes, and interests;


(3) The term achievement of a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible means the effects of the veteran’s disability (service and nonservice-connected), when considered in relation to the veteran’s circumstances at the time of the determination:


(i) Prevent the veteran from successfully achieving a vocational goal at that time; or


(ii) Are expected to worsen within the period needed to achieve a vocational goal and which would, therefore, make achievement not reasonably feasible.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(8))

(i) Vocational rehabilitation program. This term includes:


(1) The services that are needed for the accomplishment of the purposes of 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 including such counseling, diagnostic, medical, social, psychological, independent living, economic, educational, vocational, and employment services as are determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be needed;


(i) In the case of a veteran for whom the achievement of a vocational goal has not been found to be currently infeasible, such services include:


(A) Determining whether a vocational goal is reasonably feasible;


(B) Improving the veteran’s potential to participate in a program of services designed to achieve a vocational goal;


(C) Enabling the veteran to achieve maximum independence in daily living;


(ii) In the case of a veteran for whom achievement of a vocational goal is feasible, such services include assisting the veteran to become, to the maximum extent feasible, employable and to obtain and maintain suitable employment; and


(2) The term also includes the monetary assistance authorized by 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 for a veteran receiving any of the services described in this paragraph.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(9); Pub. L. 99-576)

(j) Program of employment services. This term includes the counseling, medical, social, and other placement and post-placement services provided to a veteran under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 to assist the veteran in obtaining or maintaining suitable employment.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(k) Other terminology. The following are primarily intended as explanations rather than definitions of terms to which frequent reference will be made in these regulations.


(1) Counseling psychologist. Unless otherwise stated, the term counseling psychologist refers to a counseling psychologist in the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Division in the Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3118(c))

(2) Vocational rehabilitation specialist. Unless otherwise stated, the term vocational rehabilitation specialist refers to a vocational rehabilitation specialist in the VR&E Division in the Veterans Benefits Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs, or to a Department of Veterans Affairs counseling psychologist performing the duties of a vocational rehabilitation specialist.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3118(c))

(3) School, educational institution, institution. These terms means any public or private school, secondary school, vocational school, correspondence school, business school, junior college, teachers’ college, college, normal school, professional school, university, or scientific or technical institution, or other institution furnishing education for adults.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3452(c))

(4) Training establishment. This term means any establishment providing apprentice or other training on the job, including those under the supervision of a college or university or any State department of education, or any State apprenticeship agency, or any State board of vocational education, or any joint apprenticeship committee, or the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training established in accordance with 29 U.S.C. Chapter 4C, or any agency of the Federal Government authorized to supervise such training.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3452(e))

(5) Rehabilitation facility. This term means a distinct organizational entity, either separate or within a larger insititution or agency, which provides goal-oriented comprehensive and coordinated services to individuals designed to evaluate and minimize the handicapping effects of physical, mental, social and vocational disadvantages, and to effect a realization of the individual’s potential.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3115(a))

(6) Workshop. This term means a charitable organization or institution, conducted not for profit, but for the purpose of carrying out an organized program of evaluation and rehabilitation for handicapped workers and/or for providing such individuals with remunerative employment and other occupational rehabilitative activity of an educational or therapeutic nature.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3115(a))

(7) Vocational rehabilitation counselor. Unless otherwise stated, the term vocational rehabilitation counselor refers to a vocational rehabilitation counselor in the VR&E Division in the Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3118(c))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985, as amended at 53 FR 50956, Dec. 19, 1988; 62 FR 17707, Apr. 11, 1997; 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


Entitlement

§ 21.40 Basic entitlement to vocational rehabilitation benefits and services.

An individual meets the basic entitlement criteria for vocational rehabilitation benefits and services under this subpart if VA determines that he or she meets the requirements of paragraph (a), (b), (c), or (d) of this section. For other requirements affecting the provision of vocational rehabilitation benefits and services, see §§ 21.41 through 21.46 (period of eligibility), § 21.53 (reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal), and §§ 21.70 through 21.79 (months of entitlement).


(a) Veterans with at least 20 percent disability. The individual is a veteran who meets all of the following criteria:


(1) Has a service-connected disability or combination of disabilities rated 20 percent or more under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11.


(2) Incurred or aggravated the disability or disabilities in active military, naval, or air service on or after September 16, 1940.


(3) Is determined by VA to be in need of rehabilitation because of an employment handicap.


(b) Veterans with 10 percent disability. The individual is a veteran who meets all of the following criteria:


(1) Has a service-connected disability or combination of disabilities rated less than 20 percent under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11.


(2) Incurred or aggravated the disability or disabilities in active military, naval, or air service on or after September 16, 1940.


(3) Is determined by VA to be in need of rehabilitation because of a serious employment handicap.


(c) Servicemembers awaiting discharge. The individual is a servicemember who, while waiting for discharge from the active military, naval, or air service, is hospitalized, or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment, for a disability that VA will likely determine to be service-connected. In addition, VA must have determined that:


(1) The hospital or other medical facility providing the hospitalization, care, service, or treatment is doing so under contract or agreement with the Secretary concerned, or is under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs or the Secretary concerned;


(2) The individual is in need of rehabilitation because of an employment handicap; and


(3) The individual has a disability or combination or disabilities that will likely be:


(i) At least 10 percent compensable under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11 and he or she originally applied for assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 after March 31, 1981, and before November 1, 1990; or


(ii) At least 20 percent compensable under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11 and he or she originally applied for assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 on or after November 1, 1990.


(d) Exception for veterans who first applied after March 31, 1981, and before November 1, 1990. The individual is a veteran who:


(1) Has a service-connected disability or combination of disabilities rated less than 20 percent under 38 U.S.C. chapter 11;


(2) Originally applied for assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 after March 31, 1981, and before November 1, 1990; and


(3) Is determined by VA to be in need of rehabilitation because of an employment handicap.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. ch. 11, 3102, 3103, 3106; sec. 8021(b), Pub. L. 101-508, 104 Stat. 1388-347; sec. 404(b), Pub. L. 102-568, 106 Stat. 4338, as amended by sec. 602, Pub. L. 103-446, 108 Stat. 4671)

[75 FR 3164, Jan. 20, 2010]


Periods of Eligibility

§ 21.41 Basic period of eligibility.

(a) Time limit for eligibility to receive vocational rehabilitation. (1) For purposes of §§ 21.41 through 21.46, the term basic period of eligibility means the 12-year period beginning on the date of a veteran’s discharge or release from his or her last period of active military, naval, or air service, and ending on the date that is 12 years from the veteran’s discharge or release date, but the beginning date may be deferred or the ending date extended under the sections referred to in paragraph (b) of this section. (See §§ 21.70 through 21.79 concerning duration of rehabilitation programs.)


(2) Except as provided in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, the period during which an individual may receive a program of vocational rehabilitation benefits and services under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 is limited to his or her basic period of eligibility.


(b) Deferral and extension of the basic period of eligibility. VA may defer the beginning date of a veteran’s basic period of eligibility under § 21.42. VA may extend the ending date of a veteran’s basic period of eligibility under § 21.42 (extension due to medical condition); § 21.44 (extension for a veteran with a serious employment handicap), § 21.45 (extension during a program of independent living services and assistance), and § 21.46 (extension for a veteran recalled to active duty).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103)

(c) Servicemember entitled to vocational rehabilitation services and assistance before discharge. The basic period of eligibility for a servicemember who is entitled to vocational rehabilitation services and assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 for a period before discharge does not run while the servicemember remains on active duty, but begins on the date of discharge from the active military, naval, or air service. The period of eligibility requirements of this section are not applicable to provision of vocational rehabilitation services and assistance under chapter 31 during active duty.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102, 3103)

[75 FR 3166, Jan. 20, 2010]


§ 21.42 Deferral or extension of the basic period of eligibility.

The basic period of eligibility does not run as long as any of the following reasons prevents the veteran from commencing or continuing a vocational rehabilitation program:


(a) Qualifying compensable service-connected disability(ies) not established. The basic period of eligibility does not commence until the day VA notifies a veteran of a rating determination by VA that the veteran has a qualifying compensable service-connected disability under § 21.40.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(b)(3))

(b) Character of discharge is a bar to benefits. (1) The basic period of eligibility does not commence until the veteran meets the requirement of a discharge or release under conditions other than dishonorable. (For provisions regarding character of discharge, see § 3.12 of this chapter.)


(2) If VA has considered a veteran’s character of discharge to be a bar to benefits, the basic period of eligibility commences only when one of the following happens:


(i) An appropriate authority changes the character of discharge or release; or


(ii) VA determines that the discharge or release was under conditions other than dishonorable or that the discharge or release was, but no longer is, a bar to benefits.


(3) If there is a change in the character of discharge, or the discharge or release otherwise is determined, as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, not to be a bar to benefits, the beginning date of the basic period of eligibility will be the effective date of the change or VA determination.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(b)(2))

(c) Commencement or continuation of participation prevented by medical condition(s). (1) The basic period of eligibility does not run during any period when a veteran’s participation in a Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program is determined to be infeasible for 30 days or more because of any medical condition(s) of the veteran, including the disabling effects of chronic alcoholism (see paragraphs (c)(2) through (c)(5) of this section).


(2) For purposes of this section, the term disabling effects of chronic alcoholism means alcohol-induced physical or mental disorders or both, such as habitual intoxication, withdrawal, delirium, amnesia, dementia, and other like manifestations that:


(i) Have been diagnosed as manifestations of alcohol dependency or chronic alcohol abuse; and


(ii) Have been determined to prevent the affected veteran from beginning or continuing in a program of VR&E.


(3) A diagnosis of alcoholism, chronic alcoholism, alcohol dependency, or chronic alcohol abuse, in and of itself, does not satisfy the definition of disabling effects of chronic alcoholism.


(4) Injuries sustained by a veteran as a proximate and immediate result of activity undertaken by the veteran while physically or mentally unqualified to do so due to alcoholic intoxication are not considered disabling effects of chronic alcoholism. An injury itself, however, may prevent commencement or continuation of a rehabilitation program.


(5) For purposes of this section, after November 17, 1988, the disabling effects of chronic alcoholism do not constitute willful misconduct. See 38 U.S.C. 105(c).


(6) If the basic period of eligibility is delayed or interrupted under this paragraph (c) due to any medical condition(s) of the veteran, it will begin or resume on the date a Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) notifies the veteran in writing that the CP or VRC has determined, based on the evidence of record, that participation in a VR&E program is reasonably feasible for the veteran.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(b)(1))

[75 FR 3166, Jan. 20, 2010, as amended at 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.44 Extension of the basic period of eligibility for a veteran with a serious employment handicap.

(a) Conditions for extension. A Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) may extend the basic period of eligibility of a veteran with a serious employment handicap when the veteran’s current employment handicap and need for rehabilitation services and assistance necessitate an extension under the following conditions:


(1) Not rehabilitated to the point of employability. The veteran has not been rehabilitated to the point of employability; or


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(c))

(2) Rehabilitated to the point of employability. The veteran was previously declared rehabilitated to the point of employability, but currently meets one of the following three conditions:


(i) One or more of the veteran’s service-connected disabilities has worsened, preventing the veteran from working in the occupation for which he or she trained, or in a related occupation;


(ii) The veteran’s current employment handicap and capabilities clearly show that the occupation for which the veteran previously trained is currently unsuitable; or


(iii) The occupational requirements in the occupation for which the veteran trained have changed to such an extent that additional services are necessary to enable the veteran to work in that occupation, or in a related field.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(c))

(b) Length of eligibility extension. For a veteran with a serious employment handicap, a CP or VRC may extend the basic period of eligibility for such additional period as the CP or VRC determines is needed for the veteran to accomplish the purposes of his or her individualized rehabilitation program.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(c))

[75 FR 3166, Jan. 20, 2010]


§ 21.45 Extending the period of eligibility for a program of independent living beyond basic period of eligibility.

A Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) may extend the period of eligibility for a veteran’s program of independent living services beyond the veteran’s basic period of eligibility if the CP or VRC determines that an extension is necessary for the veteran to achieve maximum independence in daily living. The extension may be for such period as the CP or VRC determines is needed for the veteran to achieve the goals of his or her program of independent living. (See § 21.76(b) concerning duration of independent living services.)


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(d))

[75 FR 3166, Jan. 20, 2010]


§ 21.46 Veteran ordered to active duty; extension of basic period of eligibility.

If VA determines that a veteran is prevented from participating in, or continuing in, a program of vocational rehabilitation as a result of being ordered to active duty under 10 U.S.C. 688, 12301(a), 12301(d), 12301(g), 12302, or 12304, the veteran’s basic period of eligibility will be extended by the length of time the veteran serves on active duty plus 4 months.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103(e); sec. 308(h), Pub. L. 107-330, 116 Stat. 2829)

[75 FR 3168, Jan. 20, 2010]


§ 21.47 Eligibility for employment assistance.

(a) Providing employment services to veterans eligible for a rehabilitation program under chapter 31. Each veteran, other than one found in need of a program of independent living services and assistance, who is otherwise currently eligible for and entitled to participate in a program of rehabilitation under chapter 31 may receive employment services. Included are those veterans who:


(1) Have completed a program of rehabilitation services under chapter 31 and been declared rehabilitated to the point of employability;


(2) Have not completed a period of rehabilitation to the point of employability under chapter 31, but:


(i) Have elected to secure employment without completing the period of rehabilitation to the point of employability; and


(ii) Are employable; or


(3) Have never received services for rehabilitation to the point of employability under chapter 31 if they:


(i) Are employable or employed in a suitable occupation;


(ii) Have an employment handicap or a serious employment handicap; and


(iii) Need employment services to secure and/or maintain suitable employment.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

(b) Veteran previously participated in a VA vocational rehabilitation program or a similar program under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. A veteran who at some time in the past has participated in a vocational rehabilitation program under chapter 31 or a similar program under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, and is employable is eligible for employment services under the following conditions even though he or she is ineligible for any other assistance under chapter 31:


(1) The veteran is employable in a suitable occupation;


(2) The veteran has filed a claim for vocational rehabilitation or employment assistance;


(3) The veteran meets the criteria for eligibility described in § 21.40; and


(4) The veteran has an employment handicap or serious employment handicap; and


(5) The veteran:


(i) Completed a vocational rehabilitation program under 38 U.S.C. ch. 31 or participated in such a program for at least 90 days on or after September 16, 1940; or


(ii) Completed a vocational rehabilitation program under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 after September 26, 1975, or participated in such a program which included at least 90 days of postsecondary education or vocational training.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(c) Veteran never received vocational rehabilitation services from the Department of Veterans Affairs or under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If a veteran is currently ineligible under chapter 31 because he or she does not have an employment handicap, and has never before participated in a vocational rehabilitation program under chapter 31 or under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, no employment assistance may now be provided to the veteran under chapter 31.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(d) Duration of period of employment assistance. The periods during which employment assistance may be provided are not subject to limitations on periods of eligibility for vocational rehabilitation provided in §§ 21.41 through 21.45 of this part, but entitlement to such assistance is, as provided in § 21.73 of this part, limited to 18 total months of assistance.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105)

[54 FR 21215, May 17, 1989, as amended at 56 FR 15836, Apr. 18, 1991; 75 FR 3165, Jan. 20, 2010]


§ 21.48 Severance of service-connection – reduction to noncompensable degree.

When a rating action is taken which proposes severance of service-connection or reduction to a noncompensable degree, the provisions of the following paragraphs will govern the veteran’s entitlement to rehabilitation and employment assistance under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31.


(a) Applicant. If the veteran is an applicant for rehabilitation or employment assistance when the proposed rating action is taken, all processes respecting determination of entitlement or induction into training shall be immediately suspended. In no event shall any veteran be inducted into a rehabilitation program or provided employment assistance during the interim periods provided in § 3.105 (d) and (e) of this title. If the proposed rating action becomes final, the application will be denied. See also § 21.50 as to initial evaluation.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104)

(b) Reduction while in a rehabilitation program. If the proposed rating action is taken while the veteran is in a rehabilitation program and results in a reduction to a noncompensable rating of his or her disability, the veteran may be retained in the program until the completion of the program, except if “discontinued” under § 21.198 he or she may not reenter.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103)

(c) Severance while in a rehabilitation program. If the proposed rating action is taken while the veteran is in a rehabilitation program and results in severance of the service-connection of his or her disability, rehabilitation will be terminated effective as of the last day of the month in which severance of service-connection becomes final.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3103)


Initial and Extended Evaluation

§ 21.50 Initial evaluation.

(a) Entitlement to an initial evaluation. VA will provide an initial evaluation to an individual who:


(1) Applies for benefits under 38 U.S.C. chapter 31; and


(2) Meets the service-connected disability requirements of § 21.40.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(9), 3106)

(b) Determinations to be made by VA during the initial evaluation. A counseling psychologist (CP) or vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) will determine:


(1) Whether the individual has an employment handicap as determined in accordance with this section and § 21.51;


(2) Whether an individual with an employment handicap has a serious employment handicap as determined in accordance with this section and § 21.52; and


(3) Whether the achievement of a vocational goal is currently reasonably feasible as described in § 21.53.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102, 3103)

(c) Factors for assessment as part of the initial evaluation. In making the determinations under paragraph (b) of this section, the following factors will be developed and assessed:


(1) The handicapping effects of the individual’s service-connected and nonservice-connected disability(ies) on employability and on independence in daily living;


(2) The individual’s physical and mental capabilities that may affect employability and ability to function independently in daily living activities in family and community;


(3) The impact of the individual’s identified vocational impairments on the individual’s ability to prepare for, obtain, and keep suitable employment;


(4) The individual’s abilities, aptitudes, and interests;


(5) The individual’s personal history and current circumstances (including educational and training achievements, employment record, developmental and related vocationally significant factors, and family and community adjustment); and


(6) Other factors that may affect the individual’s employability.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(a))

(d) Need for cooperation in the initial evaluation process. The individual’s cooperation is essential in the initial evaluation process. If the individual does not cooperate, the CP or VRC will make reasonable efforts to secure the individual’s cooperation. If, despite those efforts, the individual fails to cooperate, VA will suspend the initial evaluation process (see § 21.362, regarding satisfactory conduct and cooperation, and § 21.364, regarding unsatisfactory conduct and cooperation).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3111)

[72 FR 14042, Mar. 26, 2007, as amended at 75 FR 3165, Jan. 20, 2010]


§ 21.51 Determining employment handicap.

For the purposes of § 21.50, an employment handicap will be found to exist only if a CP or VRC determines that the individual meets each of the following conditions:


(a) Vocational impairment. The individual has a vocational impairment; that is, an impairment of the ability to prepare for, obtain, or keep employment in an occupation consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interests.


(b) Effects of impairment not overcome. The individual has not overcome the effects of the individual’s impairment of employability through employment in, or qualifying for employment in, an occupation consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interests. This situation includes an individual who qualifies for a suitable job, but who does not obtain or keep the job for reasons beyond his or her control.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

(c) Contribution of the service-connected disability(ies) to the individual’s overall vocational impairment. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, the service-connected disability(ies) must contribute in substantial part to the individual’s overall vocational impairment. This means that the disability(ies) must have an identifiable, measurable, or observable causative effect on the overall vocational impairment, but need not be the sole or primary cause of the employment handicap.


(2) When determining the individual’s overall vocational impairment, the CP or VRC will consider the factors identified in § 21.50(c).


(3) For determinations made on applications for vocational rehabilitation filed on or after March 30, 1995, but before October 9, 1996, the individual’s service-connected disability(ies) need not contribute to the individual’s overall vocational impairment.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101, 3102)

[72 FR 14042, Mar. 26, 2007]


§ 21.52 Determining serious employment handicap.

(a) Requirements for determining serious employment handicap. For each individual who is found to have an employment handicap, a CP or VRC must make a separate determination of whether the individual has a serious employment handicap. For the purposes of an initial evaluation under § 21.50, a serious employment handicap will be found to exist only if a CP or VRC determines that the individual meets each of the following conditions:


(1) Significant vocational impairment. The individual has a significant vocational impairment; that is, a significant impairment of the ability to prepare for, obtain, or keep employment in an occupation consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interests, considering the factors described in § 21.50 and paragraph (b) of this section.


(2) Effects of significant impairment not overcome. The individual has not overcome the effects of the significant vocational impairment through employment in, or qualifying for employment in, an occupation consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interests. This includes an individual who qualifies for a suitable job, but who does not obtain or keep the job for reasons beyond his or her control.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

(3) Contribution of the service-connected disability(ies) to the individual’s overall significant vocational impairment. (i) Except as provided in paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section, the service-connected disability(ies) must contribute in substantial part to the individual’s overall significant vocational impairment. This means that the disability(ies) must have an identifiable, measurable, or observable causative effect on the overall significant vocational impairment, but need not be the sole or primary cause of the serious employment handicap.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101)

(ii) For determinations made on applications for vocational rehabilitation filed on or after March 30, 1995, but before October 9, 1996, the individual’s service-connected disability(ies) need not contribute to the individual’s overall significant vocational impairment.


(b) Factors for assessment during the initial evaluation, when determining whether a significant vocational impairment exists. The combination of all restrictions and their effects on the individual define the extent of the vocational impairment and its significance. When determining whether the individual has a significant vocational impairment, VA will develop and assess the following factors and their effects:


(1) Number of disabling conditions;


(2) Severity of disabling condition(s);


(3) Existence of neuropsychiatric condition(s);


(4) Adequacy of education or training for suitable employment;


(5) Number, length, and frequency of periods of unemployment or underemployment;


(6) A pattern of reliance on government support programs, such as welfare, service-connected disability compensation, nonservice-connected disability pension, worker’s compensation, or Social Security disability;


(7) Extent and complexity of services and assistance the individual needs to achieve rehabilitation;


(8) Negative attitudes toward individuals with disabilities and other evidence of restrictions on suitable employment, such as labor market conditions; discrimination based on age, race, gender, disability or other factors; alcoholism or other substance abuse; and


(9) Other factors that relate to preparing for, obtaining, or keeping employment consistent with the individual’s abilities, aptitudes, and interests.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102, 3106)

[72 FR 14043, Mar. 26, 2007]


§ 21.53 Reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal.

(a) Requirement. The Department of Veterans Affairs shall determine the reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal in each case in which a veteran has either:


(1) An employment handicap, or


(2) A serious employment handicap.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(a))

(b) Definition. The term vocational goal means a gainful employment status consistent with the veteran’s abilities, aptitudes, and interests.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(8))

(c) Expeditious determination. The determination of reasonable feasibility shall be made as expeditiously as possible when necessary information has been developed in the course of initial evaluation. If an extended evaluation is necessary as provided in § 21.57 a decision of feasibility shall be made by the end of the extended evaluation. Any reasonable doubt shall be resolved in favor of a finding of feasibility.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(d))

(d) Vocational goal is reasonably feasible. Achievement of a vocational goal is reasonably feasible for a veteran with either an employment or serious employment handicap when the following conditions are met:


(1) Vocational goal(s) has (have) been identified;


(2) The veteran’s physical and mental conditions permit training for the goal(s) to begin within a reasonable period; and


(3) The veteran:


(i) Possesses the necessary educational skills and background to pursue the vocational goal; or


(ii) Will be provided services by the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop such necessary educational skills as part of the program.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(1), 3106(a))

(e) Criteria for reasonable feasibility not met. (1) When VA finds that the provisions of paragraph (d) of this section are not met, but VA has not determined that achievement of a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible, VA shall provide the rehabilitation services contained in § 21.35(i)(1)(i) of this part as appropriate;


(2) A finding that achievement of a vocational goal is infeasible without a period of extended evaluation requires compelling evidence which establishes infeasibility beyond any reasonable doubt.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(1), 3106(b))

(f) Independent living services. The Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) shall determine the current reasonable feasibility of a program of independent living services in each case in which a vocational rehabilitation program is not found reasonably feasible. The concurrence of the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Officer is required in any case in which the CP or VRC does not approve a program of independent living services.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3100)

(g) Responsible staff. A CP or VRC in the VR&E Division shall determine whether achievement of a vocational goal is:


(1) Reasonably feasible; or


(2) Not currently reasonably feasible under the provisions of paragraph (e) of this section for the purpose of determining present eligibility to receive a program of independent living services.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(b), Pub. L. 99-576)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50956, Dec. 19, 1988; 54 FR 37332, Sept. 8, 1989; 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016; 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.57 Extended evaluation.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of an extended evaluation for a veteran with a serious employment handicap is to determine the current feasibility of the veteran achieving a vocational goal, when this decision reasonably cannot be made on the basis of information developed during the initial evaluation.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(c), Pub. L. 99-576)

(b) Scope of services. During the extended evaluation, a veteran may be provided:


(1) Diagnostic and evaluative services;


(2) Services to improve his or her ability to attain a vocational goal;


(3) Services to improve his or her ability to live and function independently in the community;


(4) An allowance as provided in § 21.260.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104)

(c) Determination. (1) The determination of the reasonable feasibility of a veteran achieving a vocational goal will be made at the earliest time possible during an extended evaluation, but not later than the end of the period of evaluation, or an extension of that period. Any reasonable doubt as to feasibility will be resolved in the veteran’s favor;


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(d))

(2) When it is reasonably feasible for the veteran to achieve a vocational goal, an individualized written rehabilitation plan (IWRP) will be developed as indicated in § 21.84 of this part.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(b))

(d) Responsibility for determining the need for a period of extended evaluation. A Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) in the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Division shall determine whether a period of extended evaluation is needed.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(c))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50956, Dec. 19, 1988; 54 FR 37332, Sept. 8, 1989; 62 FR 17707, Apr. 11, 1997; 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016; 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.58 Redetermination of employment handicap and serious employment handicap.

(a) Prior to induction into a program. A determination as to employment handicap, serious employment handicap, or eligibility for a program of employment services will not be changed except for:


(1) Unmistakable error in fact or law; or


(2) New and material evidence which justifies a change.


(b) After induction into a program. (1) The Department of Veterans Affairs will not redetermine a finding of employment handicap, serious employment handicap, or eligibility for a program of employment services subsequent to the veteran’s induction into a program because of a reduction in his or her disability rating, including a reduction to 0 percent:


(2) The Department of Veterans Affairs may consider whether a finding of employment handicap should be changed to serious employment handicap when there is an increase in the degree of service-connected disability, or other significant change in the veteran’s situation;


(3) A redetermination of employment handicap, serious employment handicap, or eligibility for a program of employment services will be made when there is a clear and unmistakable error of fact or law.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102, 3106)

(c) Following rehabilitation or discontinuance. A veteran’s eligibility and entitlement to assistance must be redetermined in any case in which:


(1) The veteran is determined to be rehabilitated to the point of employability under the provisions of § 21.190;


(2) The veteran is determined to meet the requirements for rehabilitation under the provisions of § 21.196; or


(3) The veteran’s program is discontinued under the provisions of § 21.198, except as described in § 21.198(c)(3).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102, 3111)


Vocational Rehabilitation Panel

§ 21.60 Vocational Rehabilitation Panel.

(a) Establishment of the Panel. A Vocational Rehabilitation Panel will be established at each field facility by the facility head. The purpose of the Panel is to provide technical assistance in the planning of rehabilitation programs for seriously disabled veterans and dependents. This purpose will be most effectively carried out through use of the services of a wide range of professionals to bring the resources of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the community to bear on problems presented in the individual case.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a))

(b) Composition of the Panel. The Panel will include, but not be limited to the following:


(1) A Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) in the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Division as the chairperson;


(2) A vocational rehabilitation specialist in VR&E;


(3) A medical consultant from a Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center;


(4) A member of the Social Services staff from a Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center; and


(5) Other specialists from the Department of Veterans Affairs.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a), 3115(a))

(c) Appointment to the Panel. (1) The VR&E Officer may not serve as either chairperson or member of the Panel.


(2) The VR&E Officer will arrange for the participation of nonmedical professional staff in the Panel’s meetings.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3115(a)(2))

(d) Scope of Panel review. The Panel will review each case which has been referred to it in relation to:


(1) Specific reason for the referral; and


(2) Other problem areas which the Panel identifies in the course of its consideration of the case.


(e) Referral. A case may be referred to the Panel by:


(1) A CP or VRC in VR&E;


(2) A vocational rehabilitation specialist in VR&E; or


(3) The VR&E officer.


(f) Report. The Panel must prepare a report on its findings and recommendations in each case. The Panel’s recommendations may include specific actions which are warranted on the basis of current information, or may identify additional information needed to provide a sounder basis for planning the veteran’s program of rehabilitation.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016; 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.62 Duties of the Vocational Rehabilitation Panel.

(a) Consultation requested. The panel shall provide technical and consultative services when requested by professional staff of the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Division to:


(1) Assist staff members in planning and carrying out a rehabilitation plan for seriously disabled veterans and their dependents; and


(2) Consider other cases of individuals eligible for, or being provided assistance under chapter 31 and other programs of education and training administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a))

(b) Independent living services. The Panel has a key responsibility to assure that seriously disabled service-connected veterans who need independent living services to increase their independence in daily living are provided necessary services. In carrying out this responsibility the Panel shall review all cases which come before it to assure that the proposed program of vocational rehabilitation or independent living services includes those services necessary to enable the veteran to achieve the goals of the program.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3100)

(c) Dependents. The specific duties of the Panel with respect to dependents are more fully described §§ 21.3300, 21.3301, 21.3304, 21.4105, and 21.4276 of this part.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3536, 3540, 3541, 3542, 3543)

[54 FR 37332, Sept. 8, 1989, as amended at 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


Duration of Rehabilitation Programs

§ 21.70 Vocational rehabilitation.

(a) General. The goal of a vocational rehabilitation program is to:


(1) Evaluate and improve the veteran’s ability to achieve a vocational goal;


(2) Provide services needed to qualify for suitable employment;


(3) Enable the veteran to achieve maximum independence in daily living;


(4) Enable the veteran to become employed in a suitable occupation and to maintain suitable employment.


(b) Vocational rehabilitation program. This term includes:


(1) The services that are needed for the accomplishment of the purposes of Chapter 31, including such counseling, diagnostic, medical, social, psychological, independent living, economic, educational, vocational, and employment services as are determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be needed;


(i) In the case of a veteran for whom the achievement of a vocational goal has not been found to be currently infeasible such needed services include:


(A) Determining whether a vocational goal is reasonably feasible;


(B) Improving the veteran’s potential to participate in a program of services designed to achieve a vocational goal;


(C) Enabling the veteran to achieve maximum independence in daily living;


(ii) In the case of a veteran for whom achievement of a vocational goal is feasible, such needed services include assisting the veteran to become, to the maximum extent feasible, employable and to obtain and maintain suitable employment;


(2) The term also includes the monetary assistance authorized by Chapter 31 for a veteran receiving any of the services described in this paragraph.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(9); Pub. L. 99-576)

(c) Duration of vocational rehabilitation. Decisions on the duration of periods for attaining the goals named in paragraph (a) of this section are made in the course of development and approval of the Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan. However, the duration of a vocational rehabilitation program may not exceed 48 months (or its equivalent when pursued on a part-time basis), except as provided in § 21.78.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3695, 3105)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985, as amended at 53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988]


§ 21.72 Rehabilitation to the point of employability.

(a) General. Rehabilitation to the point of employability may include the services needed to:


(1) Evaluate and improve the veteran’s ability to undertake training;


(2) Train the veteran to the level generally recognized as necessary for entry into employment in a suitable occupational objective. Where a particular degree, diploma, or certificate is generally necessary for entry into the occupation, e.g., an MSW for social work, the veteran shall be trained to that level.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(5), 3104)

(b) When duration of training may exceed general requirements – (1) Employment handicap. If the amount of training necessary to qualify for employment in a particular occupation in a geographical area where a veteran lives or will seek employment exceeds the amount generally needed for employment in that occupation, the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide, or arrange for the necessary additional training.


(2) Serious employment handicap. The Department of Veterans Affairs will assist a veteran with a serious employment handicap to train to a higher level than is usually required to qualify in a particular occupation, when one of the following conditions exist:


(i) The veteran is preparing for a type of work in which he or she will be at a definite disadvantage in competing with nondisabled persons for jobs or business, and the additional training will help to offset the competitive disadvantage;


(ii) The number of feasible occupations are restricted, and additional training will enhance the veteran’s employability in one of those occupations;


(iii) The number of employment opportunities within feasible occupations are restricted.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(c))

(c) Responsibility for estimating duration of training. (1) The Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) shall estimate the duration of training and the estimate shall be incorporated in the IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan). When the period of training is estimated to exceed 48 months, the concurrence of the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Officer is required, prior to approving the IWRP, under conditions listed in § 21.78.


(2) The estimated duration of the period of training required to complete an original or amended IWRP may be extended when necessary. Authorization of an extension is the responsibility of the CP or VRC, except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section. Any extension which will result in use of more than 48 months of entitlement must meet conditions described in § 21.78.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3695(b))

(d) Extension of training by the vocational rehabilitation specialist. (1) The VRS (Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist) may authorize an extension of up to six months of the period of vocational rehabilitation training authorized by the IWRP when:


(i) The veteran is in rehabilitation to the point of employability status under § 21.190;


(ii) The veteran has completed more than half of the prescribed training;


(iii) The veteran is making satisfactory progress;


(iv) The extension is necessary to complete training;


(v) Training can be completed within six months; and


(vi) The extension will not result in use of more than 48 months of entitlement under Chapter 31 alone or in combination with other programs identified in § 21.4020.


(2) If the conditions listed in paragraph (d)(1) of this section are not met, and an extension is needed to complete the program, the case will be referred to the CP or VRC for a determination.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(c))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016; 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.73 Duration of employment assistance programs.

(a) Duration. Employment assistance may be provided to the veteran for the period necessary to enable the veteran to secure employment in a suitable occupation, and to adjust in the employment. This period shall not exceed 18 months. A veteran may be provided such assistance if he or she is eligible for employment assistance under the provisions of § 21.47 of this part.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(b))

(b) Employment assistance not charged against Chapter 31 entitlement. The period of employment assistance provided in paragraph (a) of this section is not charged against the months of entitlement under Chapter 31 (see § 21.70).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(b))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 21216, May 17, 1989]


§ 21.74 Extended evaluation.

(a) General. An extended evaluation may be authorized for the period necessary to determine whether the attainment of a vocational goal is currently reasonably feasible for the veteran. The services which may be provided during the period of extended evaluation are listed in § 21.57(b) of this part.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(a), 3106(a))

(b) Duration. An extended evaluation may not be for less than two weeks (full or part-time equivalent) nor for more than twelve months, unless a longer period is necessary to determine whether achievement of a vocational goal is reasonably feasible.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(a))

(c) Approval of the period of an extended evaluation. (1) The Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) may approve an initial period of up to 12 months for an extended evaluation.


(2) An additional period of extended evaluation of up to 6 months may be approved by the CP or VRC, if there is reasonable certainty that the feasibility of achieving a vocational goal can be determined during the additional period. The CP or VRC will obtain the concurrence of the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Officer before approving the extension of a period of extended evaluation.


(3) An extension beyond a total period of 18 months for additional periods of up to 6 months each may only be approved by the CP or VRC if there is a substantial certainty that a determination of current feasibility may be made within this extended period. The concurrence of the VR&E Officer is also required for this extension.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(a), 3106(b); Pub. L. 99-576)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988; 54 FR 37332, Sept. 8, 1989; 62 FR 17707, Apr. 11, 1997; 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016; 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.76 Independent living.

(a) General. A program of independent living services may be authorized to enable the veteran to:


(1) Reach the goals of the program, and


(2) Maintain the newly achieved level of independence in daily living.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(4), 3104(b))

(b) Period of independent living services. The duration of an independent living services program may not exceed 24 months unless the Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) finds that an additional period of up to 6 months would enable the veteran to substantially increase his or her level of independence in daily living. The concurrence of the Vocational Counseling and Rehabilitation Officer in this finding is required.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(d))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 37332, Sept. 8, 1989; 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]


§ 21.78 Approving more than 48 months of rehabilitation.

(a) General. Neither the basic period of entitlement which may be authorized for a program of rehabilitation under Chapter 31 alone, nor a combination of entitlement of Chapter 31 and other programs listed in § 21.4020 shall exceed 48 months except as indicated in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3695)

(b) Employment handicap. A rehabilitation program for a veteran with an employment handicap may only be extended beyond 48 months when:


(1) The veteran previously completed training for a suitable occupation but the veteran’s service-connected disability has worsened to the point that he or she is unable to perform the duties of the occupation for which training had been provided, and a period of training in the same or a different field is required. An extension beyond 48 months under Chapter 31 alone shall be authorized for this purpose.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(c)(1)(A))

(2) The occupation in which the veteran previously completed training is found to be unsuitable because of the veteran’s abilities and employment handicap. An extension beyond 48 months under Chapter 31 alone shall be approved for this purpose.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(c)(1)(B))

(3) The veteran previously used education benefit entitlement under other programs administered by VA, and the additional period of assistance to be provided under Chapter 31 which the veteran needs to become employable will result in more than 48 months being used under all VA education programs, under these conditions the number of months necessary to complete the program may be authorized under Chapter 31, provided that the length of the extension will not result in authorization of more than 48 months under Chapter 31 alone.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3695)

(4) A veteran in an approved Chapter 31 program has elected payment of benefits at the Chapter 30 educational assistance rate. The 48 month limitation may be exceeded only:


(i) To the extent that the entitlement in excess of 48 months does not exceed the entitlement previously used by the veteran in a course at the secondary school level under § 21.4235 before December 31, 1989, or


(ii) If the veteran is in a course on a term, quarter, or semester basis which began before the 36 month limitation on Chapter 30 entitlement was reached, and completion of the course will be possible by permitting the veteran to complete the training under Chapter 31.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3013, 3695; Pub. L. 98-525)

(5) The assistance to be provided in excess of 48 months consists only of a period of employment assistance (see § 21.73).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(b))

(c) Serious employment handicap. The duration of a rehabilitation program for a veteran with a serious employment handicap may be extended beyond 48 months under Chapter 31 for the number of months necessary to complete a rehabilitation program under the following conditions:


(1) To enable the veteran to complete a period of rehabilitation to the point of employability;


(2) To provide an extended evaluation in cases in which the total period needed for an extended evaluation and for rehabilitation to the point of employability would exceed 48 months;


(3) To provide a program of independent living services, including cases in which achievement of a vocational goal becomes feasible during or following a program of independent living services;


(4) Following rehabilitation to the point of employability:


(i) The veteran has been unable to secure employment in the occupation for which training has been provided despite intensive efforts on the part of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the veteran, and a period of retraining or additional training is needed;


(ii) The skills which the veteran developed in training for an occupation in which he or she was employed are no longer adequate to maintain employment in that field and a period of retraining is needed;


(iii) The veteran’s service-connected disability has worsened to the point that he or she is unable to perform the duties of the occupation for which the veteran has been trained, and a period of training in the same or different field is required;


(iv) The occupation in which the veteran previously completed training is found to be unsuitable due to the veteran’s abilities and employment handicap.


(5) The assistance to be provided in excess of 48 months consists, only of a period of employment assistance. (see § 21.73).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(c)(2))

(d) Approval of extension beyond 48 months. All extensions of a rehabilitation program beyond 48 months of total entitlement under all Department of Veterans Affairs programs requires the approval of the Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) and concurrence of the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Officer. Concurrence of the VR&E officer is not required for an extension due to provision of employment assistance (see § 21.21).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(b))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 4283, Jan. 30, 1989; 57 FR 57108, Dec. 3, 1992; 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016; 87 FR 8742, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.79 Determining entitlement usage under Chapter 31.

(a) General. The determination of entitlement usage for chapter 31 participants is made under the provisions of this section except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section. Charges for entitlement usage shall be based upon the principle that a veteran who pursues a rehabilitation program for 1 day should be charged 1 day of entitlement. The determination of entitlement is based upon the rate at which the veteran pursues his or her rehabilitation program. The rate of pursuit is determined under the provisions of § 21.310 of this part.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(d))

(b) No charge against chapter 31 entitlement. No charge will be made against chapter 31 entitlement under any of the following circumstances:


(1) The veteran is receiving employment services under an Individualized Employment Assistance Plan (IEAP);


(2) The veteran is receiving an employment adjustment allowance; or


(3) The veteran is on leave from his or her program, but leave is not authorized by the Department of Veterans Affairs.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(d), 3117)

(c) Periods during which entitlement may be charged. Charges for usage of chapter 31 entitlement may only be made for program participants in one of the following case statuses:


(1) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;


(2) Extended evaluation; or


(3) Independent living.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106, 3109)

(d) Method of charging entitlement under chapter 31. The Department of Veterans Affairs will make a charge against entitlement:


(1) On the basis of total elapsed time (1 day of entitlement for each day of pursuit) if the veteran is being provided a rehabilitation program on a full-time basis;


(2) On the basis of a proportionate rate of elapsed time if the veteran is being provided a rehabilitation program on a three-quarter, one-half or less than one-half time basis. Entitlement is charged at a:


(i) Three-quarter time rate if pursuit is three-quarters or more, but less than full-time;


(ii) One-half time rate if pursuit is half-time or more, but less than three-quarter time;


(iii) One-quarter time rate if pursuit is less than half-time. Measurement of pursuit on a one-quarter time basis is limited to veterans in independent living or extended evaluation programs.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(d), 3680(g))

(e) Computing entitlement. (1) The computation of entitlement is based upon the rate of program pursuit, as determined under § 21.310 of this part, over the elapsed time during which training and rehabilitation services were furnished;


(2) The Department of Veterans Affairs will compute elapsed time from the commencing date of the rehabilitation program as determined under § 21.322 of this part to the date of termination as determined under § 21.324 of this part. This includes the period during which veterans not receiving subsistence allowance because of a statutory bar; e.g., certain incarcerated veterans or servicepersons in a military hospital, nevertheless, received other chapter 31 services and assistance. Elapsed time includes the total period from the commencing date until the termination date, except for any period of unauthorized leave;


(3) If the veteran’s rate of pursuit changes after the commencing date of the rehabilitation program, the Department of Veterans Affairs will:


(i) Separate the period of rehabilitation program services into the actual periods of time during which the veteran’s rate of pursuit was different; and


(ii) Compute entitlement based on the rate of pursuit for each separate elapsed time period.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(f))

(f) Special situations. (1) When a chapter 31 participant elects benefits of the kind provided under chapter 30 or chapter 34 as a part of his or her rehabilitation program under chapter 31, the veteran’s entitlement usage will be determined by using the entitlement provisions of those programs. Entitlement charges shall be in accordance with § 21.7076 for chapter 30 and § 21.1045 under chapter 34. The entitlement usage computed under these provisions is deducted from the veteran’s chapter 31 entitlement. No entitlement charges are made against either chapter 30 or chapter 34.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(f))

(2) When a chapter 31 participant elects to receive payment of the Post-9/11 subsistence allowance under § 21.260(c) in lieu of a subsistence allowance under § 21.260(b), the entitlement usage is deducted from the veteran’s chapter 31 entitlement. No entitlement charges are made against chapter 33.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(b))

(3) When a veteran is pursuing on-job training or work experience in a Federal agency on a nonpay or nominal pay basis, the amount of entitlement used is determined in the following manner:


(i) Entitlement used in on-job training in a Federal agency on a nonpay or nominal pay basis is determined in the same manner as other training.


(ii) Entitlement used in pursuing work experience will be computed in the same manner as for veterans in on-job training except that work experience may be pursued on a less than full-time basis. If the veteran is receiving work experience on a less than full-time basis, entitlement charges are based upon a proportionate amount of the workweek. For example, if the workweek is 40 hours, three-quarter time is at least 30 hours, but less than 40 hours, and half-time is at least 20 hours but less than 30 hours.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(c))

(4) Entitlement is charged on a full-time basis for a veteran found to have a reduced work tolerance.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(d), 3680(g))

(g) Overpayment. The Department of Veterans Affairs will make a charge against entitlement for an overpayment of subsistence allowance under the conditions described in § 21.1045(h) of this part.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3680(g))

[54 FR 47770, Nov. 17, 1989, as amended at 76 FR 45703, Aug. 1, 2011]


Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan

§ 21.80 Requirement for a rehabilitation plan.

(a) General. An IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan) will be developed for each veteran eligible for rehabilitation services under Chapter 31. The plan is intended to assist in:


(1) Providing a structure which allows Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) staff to translate the findings made in the course of the initial evaluation into specific rehabilitation goals and objectives;


(2) Monitoring the veteran’s progress in achieving the rehabilitation goals established in the plan;


(3) Assuring the timeliness of assistance by Department of Veterans Affairs staff in providing services specified in the plan; and


(4) Evaluating the effectiveness of the planning and delivery of rehabilitation services by VR&E staff.


(b) When a plan is prepared. A plan will be prepared in each case in which a veteran will pursue:


(1) A vocational rehabilitation program, as that term is defined in § 21.35(i);


(2) An extended evaluation program;


(3) An independent living services program; or


(4) An employment program.


(c) Plan – a generic term. The term plan refers to the IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan) § 21.84, IEEP (Individualized Extended Evaluation Plan) § 21.86, IEAP (Individualized Employment Assistance Plan) § 21.88, and IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan) § 21.90.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

(d) Plan not required. A plan will not be prepared for a veteran who is not eligible for any assistance under Chapter 31. Department of Veterans Affairs staff, with the veteran’s assistance and cooperation, will utilize information developed in the course of an initial evaluation to assist the veteran to develop alternatives for education and training, independence in daily living, or employment assistance. This assistance should help the veteran in achieving attainable vocational, independent living and employment goals utilizing benefits and services for which the veteran may be eligible under other Department of Veterans Affairs or non-Department of Veterans Affairs programs.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 523, 7722(c))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 87 FR 8743, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.82 Completing the plan under Chapter 31.

(a) Serious employment handicap. Each plan for a veteran with a serious employment handicap shall provide for completion of the program provided by the plan under Chapter 31. The provisions of § 21.70 and § 21.78(c) are designed to enable a veteran with a serious employment handicap to pursue and complete a rehabilitation plan under Department of Veterans Affairs auspices. These provisions shall be used as necessary to accomplish the goals of the plan.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105(c), 3107)

(b) Employment handicap. A plan for a veteran with an employment handicap that is not a serious employment handicap shall require that the program be completed within 48 months, if the veteran is not eligible for an extension as provided in § 21.78. When the program provided by the plan cannot be completed under Chapter 31 because of limitations imposed by the veteran’s termination date or months of remaining entitlement, realistic, comprehensive and detailed arrangements must be made which will enable the veteran to successfully complete training under other auspices. If an arrangement cannot be made which meets these requirements, the long-range vocational goal of the veteran must be reevaluated, and another vocational goal selected which can be completed using the veteran’s remaining Chapter 31 resources.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

(c) Employment assistance when training is not completed under Chapter 31. A plan for employment assistance may be implemented even though the veteran’s training has not been or will not be completed under Chapter 31.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117(a))


§ 21.84 Individualized written rehabilitation plan.

(a) Purpose. The purposes of the IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan) are to:


(1) Identify goals and objectives to be achieved by the veteran during the period of rehabilitation services that will lead to the point of employability;


(2) Plan for placement of the veteran in the occupational field for which training and other services will be provided; and


(3) Specify the key services needed by the veteran to achieve the goals and objectives of the plan.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(b) Elements of the plan. A plan will include the following:


(1) A statement of long-range rehabilitation goals. Each statement of long-range goals shall include at a minimum:


(i) One vocational goal for a veteran with an employment handicap; or


(ii) One vocational goal and, if applicable, one independent living goal for a veteran with a serious employment handicap.


(2) Intermediate rehabilitation objectives; Intermediate objectives are statements of achievement expected of the veteran to attain the long-range goal. The development of appropriate intermediate objectives is the cornerstone of an effective plan. Intermediate objectives should have the following characteristics:


(i) The activity specified relates to the achievement of the goal;


(ii) The activity specified is definable in terms of observable behavior (e.g., pursuing an A.A. degree);


(iii) The activity has a projected completion date;


(iv) The outcome desired upon completion is measurable (e.g., receiving an A.A. degree).


(3) The specific services to be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs as stated. Counseling shall be included in all plans for a veteran with a serious employment handicap.


(4) The projected starting and completion dates of the planned services and the duration of each service;


(5) Objective criteria and an evaluation procedure and schedule for determining whether the objectives and goals are being achieved as set forth; and


(6) The name, location, and phone number of the VBA case manager.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]


§ 21.86 Individualized extended evaluation plan.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of an IEEP is to identify the services needed for the VA to determine the veteran’s current ability to achieve a vocational goal when this cannot reasonably be determined during the initial evaluation.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(a), 3107(a))

(b) Elements of the plan. An IEEP shall include the same elements as an IWRP except that:


(1) The long range goal shall be to determine achievement of a vocational goal is currently reasonably feasible;


(2) The intermediate objectives relate to problems of questions which must be resolved for the VA to determine the current reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(a), 3107(a))

[53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988]


§ 21.88 Individualized employment assistance plan.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of the IEAP (Individualized Employment Assistance Plan) is to assure that a comprehensive, thoughtful approach is taken, enabling eligible veterans to secure suitable employment.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(b) Requirement for a plan. An IEAP will be prepared:


(1) As part of an IWRP; or


(2) When the veteran is eligible for employment assistance under provisions of § 21.47.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

(c) Elements of the plan. The IEAP shall follow the same structure as the IWRP. Each IEAP will include full utilization of community resources to enable the veteran to:


(1) Secure employment; and


(2) Maintain employment.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3117)

(d) Preparation of the IEAP. Preparation of the IEAP will be completed:


(1) No later than 60 days before the projected end of the period of rehabilitation services leading to the point of employability; or


(2) Following initial evaluation when employment services constitute the whole of the veteran’s program under provisions of § 21.47.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))


§ 21.90 Individualized independent living plan.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of the IILP is to identify the steps through which a veteran, whose disabilities are so severe that a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible, can become more independent in daily living within the family and community.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3109, 3120)

(b) Elements of the plan. The IILP shall follow the same structure as the IWRP. The plan will include:


(1) Services which may be provided under Chapter 31 to achieve independence in daily living;


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104)

(2) Utilization of programs with a demonstrated capacity to provide independent living services for severely handicapped persons;


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(b), 3120(a))

(3) Services provided under other Department of Veterans Affairs and non-Department of Veterans Affairs programs needed to achieve the goals of the plan;


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(4) Arrangements for maintaining the improved level of independence following completion of the plan.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988]


§ 21.92 Preparation of the plan.

(a) General. The plan will be jointly developed by Department of Veterans Affairs staff and the veteran.


(b) Approval of the plan. The terms and conditions of the plan must be approved and agreed to by the Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC), the vocational rehabilitation specialist, and the veteran.


(c) Implementation of the plan. The vocational rehabilitation specialist or CP or VRC designated as case manager has the primary role in carrying out Department of Veterans Affairs responsibility for implementation of the plan.


(d) Responsible staff. The CP or VRC has the primary responsibility for the preparation of plans.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(a))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]


§ 21.94 Changing the plan.

(a) General. The veteran, the Counseling Psychologist (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) or the vocational rehabilitation specialist may request a change in the plan at any time.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))

(b) Long-range goals. A change in the statement of a long-range goal may only be made following a reevaluation of the veteran’s rehabilitation program by the CP or VRC. A change may be made when:


(1) Achievement of the current goal(s) is no longer reasonably feasible; or


(2) The veteran’s circumstances have changed or new information has been developed which makes rehabilitation more likely if a different long-range goal is established; and


(3) The veteran fully participates and concurs in the change.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))

(c) Intermediate objectives or services. A change in intermediate objectives or services provided under the plan may be made by the case manager when such change is necessary to carry out the statement of long-range goals. The veteran must concur in the change.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))

(d) Minor changes. Minor changes in the plan (e.g., changing the date of a scheduled evaluation) by the case manager may be made without the participation and concurrence of the veteran.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))

(e) Changes in duration of the plan. Any change in the total duration of a veteran’s rehabilitation plan is subject to provisions on duration of a rehabilitation program described in §§ 21.70-21.78.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 81 FR 26131, May 2, 2016]


§ 21.96 Review of the plan.

(a) General. The veteran’s progress in reaching the goals of the plan will be reviewed and evaluated as scheduled in the plan by the case manager and the veteran.


(b) Comprehensive review required. The case manager and the veteran will review all of the terms of the plan and the veteran’s progress at least every twelve months. On the basis of such review the veteran and the case manager will agree whether the plan should be:


(1) Retained in its current form;


(2) Amended; or


(3) Redeveloped.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107(b))


Counseling

§ 21.100 Counseling.

(a) General. A veteran requesting or being furnished assistance under Chapter 31 shall be provided professional counseling services by Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Service and other staff as necessary to:


(1) Carry out an initial evaluation in each case in which assistance is requested;


(2) Develop a rehabilitation plan or plan for employment services in each case in which the veteran is found during the initial evaluation to be eligible and entitled to services;


(3) Assist veterans found ineligible for services under Chapter 31 to the extent provided in § 21.82; and


(4) Try to overcome problems which arise during the course of the veteran’s rehabilitation program or program of employment services.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101)

(b) Types of counseling services. VA will furnish comprehensive counseling services, including but not limited to


(1) Psychological;


(2) Vocational;


(3) Personal adjustment;


(4) Employment;


(5) Educational.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(2))

(c) Qualifications. Counseling services may only be furnished by VA or other personnel who meet requirements established under provisions of § 21.380 and other policies of the VA pertaining to the qualifications of staff providing assistance under Chapter 31.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3118)

(d) Limitations. (1) If a veteran resides within a State, counseling services necessary to carry out the initial evaluation and the development of a rehabilitation plan or a program of employment services will be furnished by Counseling Psychologists (CP) or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRC) in the VR&E Division;


(2) If a veteran does not reside in a State the counseling services necessary to carry out an initial evaluation may be accomplished in the same manner as for a veteran residing in a State or through other arrangements when deemed appropriate by the VR&E Division. These alternative arrangements include, but are not limited to:


(i) Use of counseling centers or individual qualified professionals under contract to VA; and


(ii) Professional staff of other Federal agencies located in the area in which the veteran resides.


(3) Alternative arrangements to provide counseling are subject to the following requirements:


(i) All arrangements must be consistent with the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section regarding utilization of professionally qualified persons to provide counseling services during the initial evaluation;


(ii) All determinations of eligibility, entitlement and the development of a rehabilitation plan will continue to be made by a CP or VRC in the VR&E Division.


(4) If a CP or VRC in the VR&E Division determines that the evidence of record is insufficient to carry out an initial evaluation in a case in which alternative arrangements were used, VA staff may authorize the veteran to travel to a VA facility to complete the evaluation.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3118(c))

(e) Definition. For the purposes of this section, the term State means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(20))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 32071, Aug. 4, 1989; 62 FR 17708, Apr. 11, 1997; 81 FR 26132, May 2, 2016; 87 FR 8743, Feb. 16, 2022]


Educational and Vocational Training Services

§ 21.120 Educational and vocational training services.

(a) Purposes. The purposes of providing educational and vocational training services are to enable a veteran eligible for, and entitled to, services and assistance under Chapter 31 to:


(1) Meet the requirements for employment in the occupational objective established in the IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan);


(2) Provide incidental training which is necessary to achieve the employment objective in the IEAP (Individualized Employment Assistance Plan);


(3) Provide incidental training needed to achieve the goals of an IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan); or


(4) Provide training services necessary to implement an IEEP (Individualized Extended Evaluation Plan).


(b) Selection of courses. VA will generally select courses of study and training, completion of which usually results in a diploma, certificate, degree, qualification for licensure, or employment. If such courses are not available in the area in which the veteran resides, or if they are available but not accessible to the veteran, other arrangements may be made. Such arrangements may include, but are not limited to:


(1) Relocation of the veteran to another area in which necessary services are available, or


(2) Use of an individual instructor to provide necessary training.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(c) Charges for education and training services. The cost of education and training services will be one of the factors considered in selecting a facility when:


(1) There is more than one facility in the area in which the veteran resides which:


(i) Meets requirements for approval under §§ 21.292 through 21.298;


(ii) Can provide the education and training services, and other supportive services specified in the veteran’s plan; and


(iii) Is within reasonable commuting distance; or


(2) The veteran wishes to train at a suitable facility in another area, even though training can be provided at a suitable facility in the area in which the veteran resides.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7), 3115(a))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]


§ 21.122 School course.

(a) Explanation of terms – schools, educational institution, and institution. These terms mean any public or private school, secondary school, vocational school, correspondence school, business school, junior college, teacher’s college, college, normal school, professional school, university, scientific or technical institution, or other institution furnishing education for adults.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 3104)

(b) Course. A course generally consists of a number of areas of subject matter which are organized into learning units for the purpose of attaining a specific educational or vocational objective. Organized instruction in the units comprising the course is offered within a given period of time and credit toward graduation or certification is generally given.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

(c) School course. A school course is a course as defined in paragraph (b) of this section offered by a facility identified in paragraph (a) of this section.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3115)


§ 21.123 On-job course.

(a) Training establishment. This term means any establishment providing apprentice or other training on the job, including those under the supervision of a college or university or any State department of education, or any state apprenticeship agency, or any State board of vocational education, or any joint apprenticeship committee, or the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training established in accordance with 29 U.S.C. Chapter 4C, or any agency of the Federal government authorized to supervise such training.


(b) On-job course, An on-job course is pursued toward a specified vocational objective, provided by a training establishment. The trainee learns, in the course of work performed under supervision, primarily by receiving formal instruction, observing practical demonstration of work tasks, and assisting in those tasks. Productive work should gradually increase with greater independence from formal instruction as the course progresses.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 3104)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]


§ 21.124 Combination course.

(a) General. A combination course is a course which combines training on the job with training in school. For the purpose of VA vocational rehabilitation, a course will be considered to be a combination course, if the student spends full-time on the job and one or more times a week also attends school on a part-time basis. A veteran may pursue the components of a combination course in the following manner:


(1) Concurrent school and on-job training;


(2) Primarily on-job with some related instruction in school;


(3) In a school as a preparatory course to entering on-job training; or


(4) First training on-job followed by the school portion.


(b) Cooperative course. A cooperative course is a special type of combination course which usually:


(1) Has an objective which the student attains primarily through school instruction with the on-job portion being supplemental to the school course;


(2) Is at the college or junior college level although some cooperative courses are offered at post-secondary schools which do not offer a college degree or at secondary schools;


(3) Requires the student to devote at least one-half of the total training period to the school portion of the course; and


(4) Includes relatively long periods each of training on the job and in school such as a full term in school followed by a full term on the job.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]


§ 21.126 Farm cooperative course.

(a) Definition. An approvable farm cooperative course is a full-time course designated to restore employability by training a veteran to:


(1) Operate a farm which he or she owns or leases; or


(2) Manage a farm as the employee of another.


(b) Reaching the goal of a farm cooperative course. The farm cooperative course must enable a veteran to become proficient in the type of farming for which he or she is being provided rehabilitation services. The areas in which proficiency is to be established include:


(1) Planning;


(2) Producing;


(3) Marketing;


(4) Maintaining farm equipment;


(5) Conserving farm resources;


(6) Financing the farm;


(7) Managing the farm; and


(8) Keeping farm and home accounts.


(c) Instruction, including organized group instruction. Instruction in a farm cooperative course may be by a mixture of organized group (classroom) instruction and individual instruction or by individual instruction alone. A course which includes organized group instruction must meet the following criteria to be considered as full-time:


(1) The number of clock hours of instruction which should be provided yearly shall meet the requirements of § 21.310(a)(4) and § 21.4264 pertaining to full-time pursuit of a farm cooperative course:


(2) The individual instructor portion of a farm cooperative course shall include at least 100 hours of individual instruction per year.


(d) Instruction given solely by an individual instructor. (1) Instruction in a farm cooperative course may be given solely by an individual instructor if organized group instruction is:


(i) Not available within reasonable commuting distance of the veteran’s farm; or


(ii) The major portion of the organized group instruction that is available does not have a direct relation to the veteran’s farming operation and pertinent VA records are fully and clearly documented accordingly.


(2) To be considered full-time pursuit the individual instruction provided in these course must:


(i) Consist of at least 200 hours of instruction per year;


(ii) Be given by a fully qualified individual instructor by contract between VA and the instructor or an educational agency which employs the instructor.


(e) Plan requirements for farm operator or farm manager. (1) The plan for training developed by the case manager and the veteran in collaboration with the instructor must include:


(i) A complete written survey including but not limited to the areas identified in § 21.298 (a) and (b);


(ii) An overall, long-term plan based upon the survey of the operation of the farm;


(iii) An annual plan identifying the part of the overall plan to be implemented which will be prepared before the beginning of each crop year; and


(iv) A detailed individual training program showing the kind and amount of instruction, classroom and individual, or individual; and


(2) The farm must meet the requirements for selecting a farm found in § 21.298.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984; 50 FR 9622, Mar. 11, 1985]


§ 21.128 Independent study course.

A veteran may pursue a course by independent study under the following conditions:


(a) College level. The course is offered by a college or university.


(b) College degree. The course leads to or is fully creditable towards a standard college degree.


(c) Course content. The course consists of a prescribed program of study with provision for interaction between the student and regularly employed faculty of the university or college by mail, telephone, personally, or class attendance.


(d) School responsibility. The university or college:


(1) Evaluates the course in semester or quarter hours or the equivalent; and


(2) Prescribes a period for completion.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))


§ 21.129 Home study course.

(a) Definition. A home study course is a course conducted by mail, consisting of a series of written lesson assignments furnished by a school to the student for study and preparation of written answers, solutions to problems, and work projects which are corrected and graded by the school and returned to the trainee.


(b) Limitations on inclusion of home study courses, in rehabilitation plans. A veteran and his or her case manager may include a home study course in a rehabilitation plan only when it supplements the major part of the program. The purpose of the home study course is to provide the veteran with theory or technical information directly related to the practice of the occupation for which the veteran is training.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))


§ 21.130 Educational and vocational courses outside the United States.

(a) General. VA may provide educational and vocational courses outside a State if the case manager determines that such training is in the best interest of the veteran and the Federal Government.


(b) Specific conditions. (1) The training must be necessary to enable the veteran to qualify for, obtain, and retain suitable employment in the occupational objective; and


(2) Either:


(i) The training is not available in the United States; or


(ii) The training is available in the United States, but personal hardship would result from requiring that the veteran pursue training in this country; and


(3) All necessary supportive and follow-up services, including medical care and treatment and employment services, reasonably can be provided by or through VA, considering such factors as the availability, accessibility and cost of such services.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3114)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 55 FR 27822, July 6, 1990]


§ 21.132 Repetition of the course.

(a) Repeating all or part of the course. A veteran, having completed a course under Chapter 31 according to the standards and practices of the institution, ordinarily will not pursue it again at the expense of VA. However, VA may approve repetition of all, or any part of the course when VA determines that the repetition is necessary to accomplish the veteran’s vocational rehabilitation. A veteran repeating a course under Chapter 31 is subject to the same requirements for satisfactory pursuit and completion of the course as are other veterans taking the course unless a longer period is needed because of the veteran’s reduced work tolerance.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

(b) Review course. A veteran who has completed a course of training under Chapter 31 may pursue a review course, such as a bar review course, if it is specifically organized and conducted as a review course.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

(c) Auditing a subject. Auditing, as defined in § 21.4200(i), may not be authorized as a part of any rehabilitation plan. However, if an individual repeats a course under the conditions described in paragraph (a) of this section, the course shall not be considered an audited course, if pursued in the same manner as a subject offered for credit. The individual must meet the same requirements as other students, and not be a mere listener.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3680(a))


§ 21.134 Limitation on flight training.

Flight Training approved under chapter 31 may only be authorized in degree curriculums in the field of aviation that include required flight training. This type of training is otherwise subject to the same limitations as are applicable to flight training under Chapter 30.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3680A(b))

[57 FR 57108, Dec. 3, 1992]


Special Rehabilitation Services

§ 21.140 Evaluation and improvement of rehabilitation potential.

(a) General. The purposes of these services are to:


(1) Evaluate if the veteran:


(i) Has an employment handicap;


(ii) Has a serious employment handicap; and


(iii) Is reasonably feasible for a vocational goal or an independent living goal.


(2) Provide a basis for planning:


(i) A program of services and assistance to improve the veteran’s potential for vocational rehabilitation or independent living;


(ii) A suitable vocational rehabilitation program; or


(iii) A suitable independent living program.


(3) Reevaluate the vocational rehabilitation or independent living potential of a veteran participating in a rehabilitation program under Chapter 31, as necessary.


(4) Enable a veteran to achieve:


(i) A vocational goal; or


(ii) An independent living goal.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104)

(b) Periods during which evaluation and improvement services may be provided. Evaluation and improvement services may be provided concurrently, whenever necessary, with a period of rehabilitation services, including:


(1) Initial evaluation or reevaluation;


(2) Extended evaluation:


(3) Rehabilitation to the point of employability:


(4) A program of independent living services: or


(5) Employment services, incidental to obtaining or maintaining employment.


(c) Duration of full-time assistance. If evaluation and improvement services are furnished on a full-time basis as a preliminary part of the period of rehabilitation to the point of employability, or as the vocational rehabilitation program, the duration of such assistance may not exceed 12 months, except as provided in § 21.74(c).


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3105)

(d) Scope of services. Evaluation and improvement services include:


(1) Diagnostic services;


(2) Personal and work adjustment training;


(3) Medical care and treatment;


(4) Independent living services;


(5) Language training, speech and voice correction, training in ambulation, and one-hand typewriting;


(6) Orientation, adjustment, mobility and related services; and


(7) Other appropriate services.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(1), (6), (9), (10), (15))


§ 21.142 Adult basic education.

(a) Definition. The term adult basic education means an instructional program for the undereducated adult planned around those basic and specific skills most needed to help him or her to function adequately in society.


(b) Purposes. The purposes of providing adult basic education are to:


(1) Upgrade a veteran’s basic educational skills;


(2) Provide refresher training; or


(3) Remedy deficiencies which prevent the veteran from undertaking a course of education or vocational training.


(c) Periods during which basic adult education may be provided. Basic adult education may be authorized, as necessary, during;


(1) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;


(2) Extended evaluation; and


(3) Independent living services.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(1))


§ 21.144 Vocational course in a sheltered workshop or rehabilitation facility.

(a) General. A vocational course in a sheltered workshop or rehabilitation facility may be an institutional, on-job, or combination course which has been modified to facilitate successful pursuit by a person with a disability that would otherwise prevent or impair the person’s participation in the course.


(b) Authorization. A vocational course in a sheltered workshop or rehabilitation facility may be authorized when the training offered is a sound method of restoring a veteran’s employability.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))


§ 21.146 Independent instructor course.

(a) Definition. An independent instructor course is a full-time course of vocational training which the veteran pursues with an individual instructor, who, independently of a training institution or on-job training establishment, furnishes and conducts a vocational course at a suitable place of training.


(b) Limitations on including an independent instructor course in a rehabilitation plan. A veteran and his or her case manager may include an independent instructor course in a rehabilitation plan, other than one involving a farm cooperative program, only when either or both of the following conditions exist:


(1) Training is not available through an established school, on-job training establishment, rehabilitation facility or sheltered workshop within a reasonable commuting distance from the veteran’s home; or


(2) The veteran’s condition or other circumstances do not permit the veteran to attend an otherwise suitable facility within commuting distance. See § 21.126.


(c) Training in the home. Training in the home is a specialized type of independent instructor course which the veteran pursues in his or her home if:


(1) He or she is unable to pursue training at an otherwise suitable facility because of the effects of his or her disability;


(2) Based on proper medical opinion, the veteran is able to pursue the prescribed training; and


(3) The veteran’s home provides a favorable educational environment with adequate work and study space.


(d) Planning an individual instructor course. The case manager, the veteran, and the instructor should jointly plan the training program for a veteran for whom an independent instructor course is prescribed.


(e) Assuring employment. Since the customary channels leading to employment may not be readily available to a veteran requiring an individual instructor course, the IEAP (Individual Employment Assistance Plan) shall indicate thorough consideration of plans and prospects for seeking and obtaining employment, including self-employment, upon completion of training.


(f) Rate of pursuit. A veteran in an independent instructor program shall pursue training at a rate comparable to the rate at which similar training is pursued on an institutional basis, unless the veteran’s work tolerance is reduced by the effects of his or her disability.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))


§ 21.148 Tutorial assistance.

(a) General. A veteran may be provided individualized tutorial assistance, if VA determines that special assistance beyond that ordinarily given by the facility to students pursuing the same or a similar subject is needed to correct a deficiency in a subject.


(b) Authorization of tutorial assistance. Tutorial assistance may be provided during any period of rehabilitation services authorized by VA.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(7))

(c) Use of relatives precluded. Tutorial assistance at VA expense may not be provided by a relative of the veteran. The term relative has the same meaning as under § 21.374 pertaining to the use of a relative as an attendant.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3492)

(d) Payment at the Chapter 30 rate. If a veteran has elected payment at the educational assistance rate payable under Chapter 30, he or she may not be provided individualized tutorial assistance under provision of Chapter 31. (See § 21.334.)


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108(f))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 4283, Jan. 30, 1989; 57 FR 57108, Dec. 3, 1992]


§ 21.150 Reader service.

(a) Limitations on vision. A veteran considered to have a visual impairment necessitating reader service includes a veteran:


(1) Whose best corrected vision is 20/200 in both eyes;


(2) Whose central vision is greater than 20/200 but whose field of vision is limited to such an extent that the widest diameter of a visual field subtends to an angle no greater than 20 degrees; or


(3) With impaired vision, whose condition or prognosis indicates that the residual sight will be adversely affected by the use of his or her eyes for reading.


(b) Periods during which reader service may be provided. reader service necessary to the development of a rehabilitation plan, or the successful pursuit of a rehabilitation program may be provided during:


(1) Initial evaluation or reevaluation;


(2) Extended evaluation;


(3) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;


(4) Independent living services; or


(5) Employment services, including an initial employment period of up to three months.


(c) Reader responsibility. The reader should be able to do more than read to the veteran. The reader should have an understanding of the subject matter based upon prior training or experience which allows him or her to:


(1) Read printed material with understanding; and


(2) Test the veteran’s understanding of what has been read.


(d) Extent of service. The number of hours of service will be determined in each case by the amount of reading necessitated by the course and the efficacy of other equipment with which the veteran has been furnished to enable him or her to read printed material unassisted.


(e) Recording. VA will not normally pay for recording textbooks or other materials as a part of reader services, since excellent recording services are provided by volunteer organizations at no cost.


(f) Selecting a relative as a reader. Utilization of a relative of the veteran as a reader is subject to the limitations on use of a relative as an attendant under § 21.374.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(14))


§ 21.152 Interpreter service for the hearing impaired.

(a) General. The main purpose of interpreter service for the hearing impaired is to facilitate instructor-student communication. VA will provide interpreter service as necessary for the development and pursuit of a rehabilitation program. This service will be provided if:


(1) A VA physician determines that:


(i) The veteran is deaf or his or her hearing is severely impaired; and


(ii) All appropriate services and aids have been furnished to improve the veteran’s residual hearing; or


(2) A VA physician determines that the veteran:


(i) Can benefit from language and speech training; and


(ii) Agrees to undertake language and speech training.


(b) Periods during which interpreter service may be provided. Interpreter service may be furnished during:


(1) Initial evaluation or reevaluation;


(2) Extended evaluation;


(3) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;


(4) Independent living services; or


(5) Employment services, including the first three months of employment.


(c) Selecting the interpreter. Only certified interpreters or persons meeting generally accepted standards for interpreters shall provide interpreter service. When an individual is not certified by a State or professional association, VA shall seek the assistance of a State certifying agency or a professional association in ascertaining whether the individual is qualified to serve as an interpreter.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(14))

(d) Relatives. Interpreter service at VA expense may not be provided by a relative of the veteran. The term relative has the same meaning as under § 21.374 pertaining to the use of relatives as attendants.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3492)


§ 21.154 Special transportation assistance.

(a) General. A veteran, who because of the effects of disability has transportation expenses in addition to those incurred by persons not so disabled, shall be provided a transportation allowance to defray such additional expenses. The assistance provided in this section is in addition to provisions for interregional and intraregional travel which may be authorized under provisions of §§ 21.370 through 21.376.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(13))

(b) Periods during which special transportation allowance may be provided. A special transportation allowance may be provided during:


(1) Extended evaluation;


(2) Rehabilitation to the point of employability;


(3) Independent living services; or


(4) Employment services, including the first three months of employment.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(14))

(c) Scope of transportation assistance. (1) Transportation assistance includes mileage, parking fees, reasonable fee for a driver, transportation furnished by a rehabilitation facility or sheltered workshop, and other reasonable expenses which may be incurred in local travel;


(2) The veteran’s monthly transportation allowance may not exceed the lesser of actual expenses incurred or one-half of the subsistence allowance of a single veteran in full-time institutional training, unless extraordinary arrangements, such as transportation by ambulance, are necessary to enable a veteran to pursue a rehabilitation program.


(d) Determining the need for a transportation allowance. The case manager will determine the need for a transportation allowance. The assistance of a medical consultant shall be utilized, as necessary, to determine the need for special transportation assistance and to develop transportation arrangements which do not unduly tax the veteran’s ability to travel and pursue a rehabilitation program.


(e) Use of a relative precluded. A relative of the veteran may not be paid any part of a special transportation allowance. The term relative has the same meaning as under § 21.374 pertaining to the use of a relative as an attendant.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(13))


§ 21.155 Services to a veteran’s family.

(a) General. VA shall provide services to a veteran’s family which are necessary to the implementation of the veteran’s rehabilitation plan. The term family includes the veteran’s immediate family, legal guardian, or any individual in whose home the veteran certifies an intention to live.


(b) Scope of services to a veteran’s family. The services which may be furnished to the family are generally limited to consultation, homecare training, counseling, and mental health services of brief duration which are designed to enable the family to cope with the veteran’s needs. Extended medical, psychiatric or other services may not be furnished to family members under these provisions.


(c) Providing services to a veteran’s family. Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Staff will:


(1) Identify services which family members may need to facilitate the rehabilitation of the veteran; and


(2) Arrange for provision of the services which have been identified.


(d) Resources for provision of services to family members. (1) The established program and services which are furnished by Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to family members of veterans eligible for Chapter 31 should be used to the extent practicable; but


(2) If services are not readily available through regular VHA programs, necessary services will normally be secured through arrangements with other public and nonprofit agencies.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(11))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 62 FR 17708, Apr. 11, 1997; 87 FR 8743, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.156 Other incidental goods and services.

(a) General. Other incidental goods and services may be authorized if the case manager determines them to be necessary to implement the veteran’s rehabilitation plan. For example, a calculator may be authorized for a veteran pursuing an engineering degree, even though the veteran may not be required to have a calculator for any specific subject in his or her course, where there is substantial evidence that lack of a calculator places the veteran at a distinct disadvantage in successfully pursuing the course.


(b) Limitation on cost. The costs of incidental goods and services normally should not exceed five percent of training costs for any twelve-month period.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(10))


Independent Living Services

§ 21.160 Independent living services.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of independent living services is to assist eligible veterans whose ability to function independently in family, community, or employment is so limited by the severity of disability (service and nonservice-connected) that vocational or rehabilitation services need to be appreciably more extensive than for less disabled veterans.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(15), 3109, 3120)

(b) Definitions. The term independence in daily living means the ability of a veteran, without the services of others or with a reduced level of the services of others, to live and function within the veteran’s family and community.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3101(2))

(c) Situations under which independent living services may be furnished. Independent living services may be furnished:


(1) As part of a program to achieve rehabilitation to the point of employability;


(2) As part of an extended evaluation to determine the current reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal;


(3) Incidental to a program of employment services; or


(4) As a program of rehabilitation services for eligible veterans for whom achievement of a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible. This program of rehabilitation services may be furnished to help the veteran:


(i) Function more independently in the family and community without the assistance of others or a reduced level of the assistance of others;


(ii) Become reasonably feasible for a vocational rehabilitation program; or


(iii) Become reasonably feasible for extended evaluation.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(15), 3109, 3120)

(d) Services which may be authorized. The services which may be authorized as part of an IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan) include:


(1) Any appropriate service which may be authorized for a vocational rehabilitation program as that term is defined in § 21.35(i), except for a course of education or training as described in § 21.120; and


(2) Independent living services offered by approved independent living centers and programs which are determined to be necessary to carry out the veteran’s plan including:


(i) Evaluation of independent living potential;


(ii) Training in independent living skills;


(iii) Attendant care;


(iv) Health maintenance programs; and


(v) Identifying appropriate housing accommodations.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(15), 3109, 3120)

(e) Coordination with other VA elements and other Federal, State, and local programs. Implementation of programs of independent living services and assistance will generally require extensive coordination with other VA and non-VA programs. If appropriate arrangements cannot be made to provide these services through VA, other governmental, private nonprofit and for-profit agencies and facilities may be used to secure necessary services if the requirements contained in § 21.294 are met.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(15), 3109, 3115, 3120)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988; 55 FR 42186, Oct. 18, 1990]


§ 21.162 Participation in a program of independent living services.

(a) Approval of a program of independent living services. A program of independent living services and assistance is approved when:


(1) The VA determines that achievement of a vocational goal is not currently reasonably feasible;


(2) The VA determines that the veteran’s independence in daily living can be improved, and the gains made can reasonably be expected to continue following completion of the program;


(3) All steps required by §§ 21.90 and 21.92 of this part for the development and preparation of an Individualized Independent Living Plan (IILP) have been completed; and


(4) The Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Officer concurs in the IILP.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3104(a)(15), 3109, 3120)

(b) Considerations for the VR&E Officer. The VR&E Officer will consider the following factors in administering programs providing independent living services:


(1) If VA resources available limit the number of veterans who may be provided a program of independent living services and assistance, the first priority shall be given to veterans for whom the reasonable feasibility of achieving a vocational goal is precluded solely as a result of service-connected disability; and


(2) To the maximum extent feasible, a substantial portion of veterans provided with programs of independent living services and assistance shall be receiving long-term care in VA medical centers and nursing homes.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3120(c))

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 53 FR 50957, Dec. 19, 1988; 55 FR 48842, Nov. 23, 1990; 62 FR 17708, Apr. 11, 1997; 87 FR 8743, Feb. 16, 2022]


Case Status

§ 21.180 Case status system.

(a) General. Each veteran’s case will be assigned to a specific case status from the point of initial contact until all appropriate steps in the rehabilitation process have been completed. The case status system will:


(1) Assist Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) staff to fulfill its case management responsibility to provide authorized assistance to enable the veteran to successfully pursue his or her program; and


(2) Assure program management and accountability.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(b) Responsibility for change of case status. The case manager is responsible for assigning a case to the appropriate case status at each point in the rehabilitation process.


(c) Case manager. The VR&E Officer or his or her designee will assign a case manager when the veteran’s case is placed in evaluation and planning status. The VR&E Officer or his or her designee may assign case management responsibility for development and implementation of a rehabilitation plan authorized under Chapter 31 to a Counseling Psychologist (CP), Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) or vocational rehabilitation specialist in the VR&E Division. The case manager assigned will, unless replaced by the VR&E Officer, continue to be responsible for case management throughout the course of the veteran’s rehabilitation program. When securing medical care, treatment, and other related services, the VR&E case manager will coordinate with Veterans Health Administration (VHA) staff members who have case management responsibility for the veteran.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106(e))

(d) Informing the veteran. The veteran will be informed in writing of changes in case status by VA which affect his or her receipt of benefits and services under Chapter 31. The letter to the veteran will include the reason for the change of case status, and other information required under provisions of § 21.420.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(e) Normal progression for eligible veterans. The cases of veterans who are eligible for and entitled to services under Chapter 31 for whom individualized plans have been prepared will generally undergo the following changes of status:


(1) Individualized written rehabilitation plan. A veteran with an IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan) will generally move sequentially from applicant status through evaluation and planning status, rehabilitation to the point of employability status, employment services status, and rehabilitated status.


(2) Individualized extended evaluation plan. A veteran with an IEEP (Individualized Extended Evaluation Plan) will generally move from applicant status through evaluation and planning status to extended evaluation status. Once in extended evaluation status there will generally be a finding which leads to development of an IWRP (paragraph (e)(1) of this section), or IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan) (paragraph (e)(3) of this section).


(3) Individualized independent living plan. A veteran with an IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan) will generally move from applicant status through evaluation and planning, extended evaluation, independent living, and rehabilitated status.


(4) Individualized employment assistance plan. (i) A veteran with an IEAP (Individualized Employment Assistance Plan) which is a part of an IWRP will move through the case statuses described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, or in some cases through the steps in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.


(ii) A veteran for whom only employment services are provided will generally move from applicant through evaluation and planning, employment services to rehabilitated status.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(f) Normal progression for ineligible veterans. A veteran found ineligible for services under Chapter 31 will generally move from applicant to evaluation and planning status, to ineligible status.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(g) Changes of status. The case manager may change the case status when:


(1) Conditions for change specified in the status are met;


(2) The change is not specifically precluded by the status to which change is being considered; and


(3) The change is consistent with provisions of other applicable regulations.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 54 FR 34987, Aug. 23, 1989; 62 FR 17708, Apr. 11, 1997; 81 FR 26132, May 2, 2016; 87 FR 8743, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.182 “Applicant” status.

(a) Purpose. The purposes of applicant status are to:


(1) Process a veteran’s claim for assistance under Chapter 31 in a timely manner; and


(2) Identify service-disabled veterans whom VA should contact individually to increase their awareness and understanding of how they may benefit from services furnished under Chapter 31.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)

(b) Assignment to applicant status. VA will assign a veteran’s records to applicant status when either:


(1) VA receives a formal or informal application from a veteran for services under Chapter 31; or


(2) The Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Division:


(i) Advises a veteran in writing of the veteran’s potential eligibility for Chapter 31 services, or


(ii) Is informed that the veteran has been advised in writing of his or her potential eligibility for Chapter 31 services by other VA elements.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102(2))

(c) Termination of applicant status. Applicant status will be terminated when:


(1) An appointment for an initial evaluation has been kept by the veteran; or


(2) The veteran’s service-connected disability is reduced to a noncompensable degree; or


(3) The veteran’s service-connected disability is severed; or


(4) The veteran’s application is invalid because of fraud or error; or


(5) The veteran withdraws his or her claim, or otherwise indicates that no further assistance is desired.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

(d) Transfer of terminated cases to discontinued status. Each instance in which a veteran’s case is terminated for reasons described in paragraph (c)(4) or (5) of this section shall be placed in discontinued status.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3102)


Cross Reference:

See §§ 21.30 Claims, 21.31 Informal claims, and 21.32 Time limits.


[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 52 FR 2518, Jan. 23, 1987; 87 FR 8743, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.184 “Evaluation and planning” status.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of evaluation and planning status is to identify veterans for whom evaluation and planning services are needed to:


(1) Accomplish an initial evaluation as provided in § 21.50;


(2) Develop an IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan), IEEP (Individualized Extended Evaluation Plan), IILP (Individualized Independent Living Plan) or IEAP (Individualized Employment Assistance Plan); or


(3) Reevaluate:


(i) Findings made in prior initial evaluations, or


(ii) Current or previous individualized rehabilitation plans.


(b) Assignment to evaluation and planning status. A veteran’s records will be assigned to evaluation and planning status for any of the purposes specified in paragraph (a) of this section.


(c) Termination of evaluation and planning status. The assignment of the veteran’s records to evaluation and planning status may be terminated under the following conditions:


(1) Evaluation and planning completed. The services necessary to complete evaluation and planning have been provided. These services are:


(i) Completion of an initial evaluation;


(ii) Development of an IWRP (Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan) or other individual rehabilitation plan in those cases in which eligibility and entitlement to services provided under Chapter 31 are established; or


(iii) Completion of reevaluation of prior findings made in initial evaluation or modification of a rehabilitation plan.


(2) Evaluation and planning not completed. The Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Division shall make every reasonable effort to enable the veteran to complete the evaluation and planning phase of the rehabilitation process. A determination that every reasonable effort by VA has been made, and that little likelihood exists that continued efforts will lead to completion of planning and evaluation, may be made under the following conditions:


(i) The veteran writes VA and requests that his or her case be inactivated;


(ii) The veteran fails to keep scheduled appointments following his or her initial appointment; or


(iii) The veteran otherwise fails to cooperate with VA in the evaluation and planning process. If the veteran fails to cooperate, the provisions of § 21.362 are applicable.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106, 3107)

[49 FR 40814, Oct. 18, 1984, as amended at 84 FR 193, Jan. 18, 2019; 87 FR 8743, Feb. 16, 2022]


§ 21.186 “Ineligible” status.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of ineligible status is to identify the cases in which a veteran requests services under Chapter 31, but the request is denied by VA, usually, on the basis of information developed when the veteran was in evaluation and planning status.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

(b) Assignment to ineligible status. A veteran’s case will be assigned to ineligible status following a finding by VA that the veteran is not eligible for or entitled to services under Chapter 31. The finding must preclude all possible Chapter 31 services.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106, 3107)

(c) Termination of ineligible status. The assignment of the veteran’s case to ineligible status should be terminated if the veteran thereafter becomes eligible to receive any Chapter 31 service. Placement of the case in ineligible status is a bar to reconsideration of eligibility unless a material change in circumstances occurs.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)


§ 21.188 “Extended evaluation” status.

(a) Purpose. The purposes of extended evaluation status are to:


(1) Identify a veteran for whom a period of extended evaluation is needed; and


(2) Assure that necessary services are provided by VA during the extended evaluation.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3106)

(b) Assignment to extended evaluation status. A veteran’s case may be assigned or reassigned to extended evaluation status under provisions of § 21.57, § 21.74, § 21.86, § 21.94, or § 21.96.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3107)

(c) Continuation in extended evaluation status. A veteran’s case will be in extended evaluation status during periods in which:


(1) The veteran is pending induction into the facility at which rehabilitation services will be provided;


(2) The veteran is receiving rehabilitation services prescribed in the IEEP (§ 21.86); or


(3) The veteran is on authorized leave of absence during an extended evaluation.


(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3108)

(d) Termination of extended evaluation status. A veteran in extended evaluation status will remain in that status until one of the following events occur:


(1) Following notification of necessary arrangements to begin an extended evaluation, the date the extended evaluation begins, and instructions as to the next steps to be taken, the veteran:


(i) Fails to report and does not respond to followup contact by the case manager;


(ii) Declines or refuses to enter the program; or


(iii) Defers induction for a period exceeding 30 days beyond the scheduled date of induction, except where the