The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Board of Veterans’ Appeals is making access to virtual hearings available to all veterans, according to a May 1 press release.
VA has been testing the option since July 2019 for veterans who otherwise would have had to cancel their hearings, such as those with trouble commuting to the hearing location. In the first six months, the board held 155 successful hearings.
Now as all in-person hearings have been canceled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, all veterans awaiting a board hearing will have access to the virtual option and the board has successfully held over 640 virtual hearings. The board announced that it currently has the capability to hold 250 virtual hearings per week.
“Providing veterans the option to participate in their board hearings from a location of their choosing is yet another way VA and the Board are continuing to modernize,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said. “This option helps VA ensure Veterans continue to receive important benefits and services, especially in these difficult times.”
The board makes the final decisions regarding veterans’ access to benefits and services. The virtual hearing model is based on the Veterans Health Administration’s telehealth platform.