Miltary Benefits for Veterans and Dependents

Part 3 - Other Benefits

Overseas Benefits

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Medical Benefits

VA will pay for medical services for the treatment of service-connected disabilities and related conditions for veterans abroad. VA does not authorize nursing-home care in foreign jurisdictions, except for the Philippines. Services in most foreign countries must be authorized by the Foreign Medical Program Office, PO Box 65021, Denver, CO 80206-5021, USA, Phone 303-331-7590. Services provided in Canada are under the jurisdiction of the VA Center in White River Junction, VT 05009-0001, USA, phone 802-296-6379. Services provided in the Philippines are under the jurisdiction of the United States VA office in Pasay City, phone 011-632-833-4566.

Other Overseas Benefits

VA monetary benefits, including compensation, pension, educational assistance and burial allowances, generally are payable overseas. Some programs in foreign jurisdictions are restricted. Home-loan guaranties are available only in the United States and selected territories and possessions. Educational benefits are limited to approved degree-granting programs in institutions of higher learning. Beneficiaries residing in foreign countries should contact the nearest American embassy or consulate for information and claims assistance. In Canada, veterans should contact an office of Veterans Affairs Canada.

Benefits for Special Groups

A number of groups who have provided military-related service to the United States have been granted VA benefits. For the service to qualify, the Defense Secretary must certify that the group has provided active military service. Individual members must be issued a discharge by the Defense Secretary to qualify for VA benefits. Service in the following groups has been certified as active military service for benefits purposes:1.Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). 2.Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit of World I. 3.Engineer Field Clerks. 4.Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). 5.Quartermaster Corps female clerical employees serving with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. 6.Civilian employees of Pacific naval air bases who actively participated in defense of Wake Island during World War II. 7.Reconstruction aides and dietitians in World War I. 8.Male civilian ferry pilots. 9.Wake Island defenders from Guam. 10.Civilian personnel assigned to OSS secret intelligence. 11.Guam Combat Patrol. 12.Quartermaster Corps members of the Keswick crew on Corregidor during World War II. 13.U.S. civilians who participated in the defense of Bataan. 14.U.S. merchant seamen who served on blockships in support of Operation Mulberry in the World War II invasion of Normandy. 15.American merchant marines in oceangoing service during World War II. 16.Civilian Navy IFF radar technicians who served in combat areas of the Pacific during World War II. 17.U.S. civilians of the American Field Service who served overseas in World War I. 18.U.S. civilians of the American Field Service who served overseas under U.S. armies and U.S. army groups in World War II. 19.U.S. civilian employees of American Airlines who served overseas in a contract with the Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945. 20.Civilian crewmen of U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey vessels who served in areas of immediate military hazard while conducting cooperative operations with and for the U.S. Armed Forces between Dec. 7, 1941, and Aug. 15, 1945. 21.Members of the American Volunteer Group (Flying Tigers) who served between Dec. 7, 1941, and July 18, 1942. 22.U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of United Air Lines who served overseas in a contract with Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945. 23.U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc. (TWA), who served overseas in a contract with the Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945. 24.U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. (Consairway Division) who served overseas in a contract with Air Transport Command between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945. 25.U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Pan American World Airways and its subsidiaries and affiliates, who served overseas in a contract with the Air Transport Command and Naval Air Transport Service between Dec. 14, 1941, and Aug. 14, 1945. 26.Honorably discharged members of the American Volunteer Guard, Eritrea Service Command, between June 21, 1942, and March 31, 1943. 27.U.S. civilian flight crew and aviation ground support employees of Northwest Airlines who served overseas under the airline's contract with Air Transport Command from Dec. 14, 1941, through Aug. 14, 1945. 28.U.S. civilian female employees of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps who served in the defense of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942.

Small and Disadvantaged

Business Utilization

The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization helps small businesses obtain information on acquiring contracts with VA. Like other federal offices, VA is required to place a portion of its contracts and purchases with small and disadvantaged businesses. VA also promotes business with veterans by encouraging VA contracting offices to include veteran-owned contractors in mailings to solicit bids. These businesses are identified from the Procurement Automated Source System and Procurement Marketing and Access Network through the Internet, which are maintained by the Small Business Administration. For more information, write to OSDBU (00SB) at the Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20420.

Other Federal Benefits

Some benefits for veterans and their dependents are not administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The following information describes these benefits and how to apply for them.

Job-Finding Assistance

State employment offices help veterans find jobs by providing free job counseling, testing, referral and placement services. Veterans are given priority when referring applicants to job openings and training opportunities. Disabled veterans receive the highest priority in referrals. Employment offices also assist veterans by providing information about unemployment compensation, job markets and on-job and apprenticeship training opportunities. Veterans may inquire at the nearest state employment office.

Job Training Partnership Act

The Job Training Partnership Act provides for a national job training program for disabled, Vietnam Era and recently separated veterans. Job training programs may be conducted through public agencies and private nonprofit organizations. Veterans should apply at the nearest state employment office.

Disabled Veterans Outreach Program

State employment offices locate disabled veterans and help them find jobs. Outreach staff members are usually disabled veterans themselves. Most staff members are located in offices of the state employment service but some may be stationed in VA regional offices and readjustment counseling centers (Vet Centers).

Reemployment Rights

A person who left a civilian job to enter active duty in the Armed Forces may be entitled to return to the job after discharge or release from active duty. Reemployment rights are provided for those who rendered active-duty service, initial active duty for training, active duty for training or inactive duty for training. To be reemployed, four requirements must be met: (1) the person must give advance notice of military service to the employer; (2) the cumulative absence from the civilian job shall not exceed five years; (3) the person must submit an application for reemployment; (4) the person must be released from active duty under honorable conditions.

The law calls for the returning veteran to be placed in the job as if the veteran had remained continuously employed instead of going on active duty. This means that the person may be entitled to benefits that are generally based on seniority, such as pensions, pay increases, promotions and transfers. The law also protects a veteran from discharge without just cause for one year from the date of re- employment, and a reservist or National Guard member from discharge without just cause for six months after returning from initial active duty for training. The law also prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotion or other advantages of employment because entitled to benefits that are generally based on seniority,

Applications for reemployment should be given, verbally or in writing, to a person authorized to represent the company for hiring purposes. A record should be kept of the application. If there are problems in attaining reemployment, the applicant may be represented by the Department of Labor.

Individuals seeking assistance should contact the Department of Labor's Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) in the state of the employer concerned.

VETS administers the law for federal employees, including those in the Postal Service. Employees should contact their agency personnel office about rights restoration. If a job is not restored, the employee has the right to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board. Internet information also is available through VETS' Advisor Expert System, http://www.dol.gov/dol/vets.

Unemployment Compensation

Weekly unemployment compensation may be paid to discharged servicemembers for a limited period of time. The amount and duration of payments are governed by state laws. To apply, veterans should immediately contact their nearest state employment office after leaving military service and present a copy of their military discharge, form DD-214.

Federal Contract Affirmative Action

Federal legislation prohibits employers with federal contracts of $10,000 or more from discriminating in employment against Vietnam-Era and "special disabled" veterans. Special disabled veterans are veterans who have a VA disability rating of 30 percent or more, or veterans who are rated at 10 or 20 percent and have been determined to have a serious employment handicap, or veterans who were discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability. Federal legislation requires these contractors to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified Vietnam-Era and special disabled veterans. It also requires these contractors to list jobs with offices of the state employment service, including full-time employment, temporary employment and part-time employment. Complaints may be filed with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs of the Labor Department at any local state employment office. Com-plaints must be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory act.

Federal Government Jobs

The Veterans Readjustment Appointment (VRA) authority promotes maximum job opportunities within the federal government for qualified veterans. The VRA authority allows federal agencies to appoint Vietnam-Era and post-Vietnam-Era veterans to jobs without competition. Such appointments may lead to conversion to career or career-conditional employment upon satisfactory work for two years. Veterans seeking VRA appointment should apply directly to the agency where they wish to work.

The Office of Personnel Management administers the Disabled Veterans Affirmative Action Program (DVAAP). All federal departments and agencies are required to establish action plans to facilitate the recruitment, employment and advancement of disabled veterans.

Veterans who are disabled or who served during certain periods have preference in federal employment. This preference includes additional points to passing scores in examinations, first consideration for certain jobs, and preference in job retention. Preference also is provided for unremarried widows and widowers of deceased veterans and mothers of military personnel who died in service; spouses of service-connected disabled veterans who are no longer able to work in their usual occupations; and mothers of veterans who have permanent and total service-connected disabilities. Individuals interested in federal employment should contact the personnel offices of the federal agencies in which they wish to be employed. Information also may be obtained by contacting any Office of Personnel Management service center. The centers are listed in telephone books under U.S. Government.

Information regarding job opportunities is provided by Career America Connection at 912-757-3000 and a computer home page, http://www.usajobs.opmgov.

Transition Assistance Program

The Labor Department assists servicemembers who are scheduled for separation from active duty through the Transition Assistance Program. The program, a joint effort by the Defense Department, the Labor Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides employment and training information to servicemembers within 180 days of separation. Three-day workshops to help veterans make the adjustment from military to civilian employment are conducted at military installations. Additional counseling is available to disabled servicemembers. For information, contact the nearest state employment office.

Operation Transition

The military services provide civilian-transition counseling at least 90 days prior to each servicemember's discharge in a program called Operation Transition. A Defense Department document (DD Form 2586) is prepared that provides military experience, training history, civilian job equivalent experience and recommended educational credit. The document is delivered to servicemembers 90 to 180 days before the scheduled separation.

The Defense Outplacement Referral System (DORS) refers resumes to potential employers through 350 Transition offices worldwide. Resumes are provided to employers by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile. Employers may place job ads on the electronic Transition Bulletin Board (TBB) kept by Transition offices. Those employers having the proper computer equipment are able to place their ads electronically; others may mail or fax their ads to the TBB. Servicemembers are encouraged to respond directly to employers with their resumes. The electronic bulletin board also contains business opportunities, a calendar of transition seminars and events, and other helpful information.

Two special registries have been developed at Transition offices to help separating servicemembers obtain public community service jobs. The "Registry of Public and Community Service Organizations" contains information on organizations desiring to hire servicemembers. The "Personnel Registry" lists servicemembers who desire employment in public and community service occupations. Defense matches people and employers on the two registries, and counsels separating servicemembers on how to apply for positions with public and community service organizations.

Loans for Farms and Homes

Loans and guaranties may be provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to buy, improve or operate farms. Loans and guaranties are available for housing in towns generally up to 20,000 in population. Applications from veterans have preference. For further information contact Farm Service Agency or Rural Economic and Community Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250, or apply at local Department of Agriculture offices, usually located in county seats.

FHA Home Mortgage Insurance

HUD administers the Federal Housing Administration Home Mortgage Insurance Program for Veterans. These home loans require less down payment than other FHA programs. Veterans on active duty are eligible if they enlisted before Sept. 8, 1980, or entered on active duty before Oct. 14, 1982, and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions with at least 90 days service. Veterans with enlisted service after Sept. 7, 1980, or who entered on active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served at least 24 months unless discharged for hardship or disability. Active duty for training is qualifying service. Submit VA Form 26-8261a, available at any VA office, to VA for a Certificate of Veteran Status. This certificate is submitted by the lender to FHA.

Naturalization Preference

Aliens with honorable service in the U.S. Armed Forces during hostilities may be naturalized without having to comply with the general requirements for naturalization. Such aliens must have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence or have been inducted, enlisted, reenlisted or extended an enlistment in the Armed Forces while within the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, the Canal Zone, American Samoa, Northern Marianas or Swain's Island. Hostilities must be periods declared by the President. Aliens with honorable service in the U.S. Armed Forces for three years or more during periods not considered a conflict or hostility by Executive Order may be naturalized provided they have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Applications must be made while on active duty or within six months of discharge.

Aliens who have served honorably after Oct. 15, 1978, for at least 12 years may be granted special immigrant status. Aliens who died as a result of wounds incurred or disease contracted during periods of hostilities declared by the President may receive recognition as U.S. citizens. An application may be submitted by the person's next of kin or other authorized representative. This posthumous citizenship is honorary only and does not confer any other benefits to the person's surviving relatives. For assistance, contact the nearest office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Justice Department.

Small Business Administration

A number of SBA programs are designed to help small businesses, including businesses owned or operated by veterans. Help available from the SBA includes business training, conferences, counseling, surety bonding, government procurement and financial management assistance. SBA loans are made under its Loan Guaranty Program. The loan amount is advanced by the bank or other lending institution, with SBA guaranteeing up to 85 percent of the total amount. In each SBA field office a veterans affairs officer is designated as the contact person to assist veterans. Information about SBA's programs is provided at field offices. Check the local phone book for the nearest SBA office or call 1-800-827-5722.

Social Security

Monthly retirement, disability and survivor benefits under Social Security are payable to a veteran and dependents if the veteran has earned enough work credits under the program. Upon the veteran's death, a one-time payment of $255 also may be made to the veteran's spouse or child. In addition, a veteran may qualify at age 65 for Medicare's hospital insurance and medical insurance. Medicare protection also is available to people who have received Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, and to insured people and their dependents who need dialysis or kidney transplants.

Active duty or active duty for training in the U.S. uniformed services has counted toward Social Security since January 1957. Since Jan. 1, 1988, work as a member of the Armed Services Reserve components while on inactive duty for training also counts toward Social Security. Servicemembers and veterans receive an extra $300 credit for each quarter in which they received any basic pay for active duty or active duty for training after 1956 and before 1978. After 1977, a credit of $100 is granted for each $300 of reported wages up to a maximum credit of $1,200. No additional Social Security taxes are withheld from pay for these extra credits. Also, noncontributory Social Security credits of $160 a month may be granted to veterans who served after Sept. 15, 1940, and before 1957, including attendance at service academies. Further information about Social Security credits and benefits is available from Social Security offices or by calling l-800-772-1213.

Supplemental Security Income

For those age 65 or older and those who are blind or otherwise disabled, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be provided, if they have little or no income or resources. States may supplement the federal payments to eligible persons and may disregard additional income. Although VA compensation and pension benefits are counted in determining income for SSI purposes, some income is not counted. Also, not all resources count in determining eligibility. For example, a person's home and the land it is on do not count, regardless of value. Personal effects, household goods, automobiles and life insurance may not count, depending upon their value. Information and assistance in making application for these payments may be obtained at any Social Security office or by calling l-800-772-1213.

Passports to Visit Overseas Cemeteries

"No-fee" passports are available for family members visiting overseas graves and memorial sites of World War I and World War II dead. Those eligible for such passports include surviving spouses, parents, children, sisters, brothers and guardians of the deceased who are buried or commemorated in permanent American military cemeteries on foreign soil. For additional information, write to the American Battle Monuments Commission, Courthouse Plaza II, Suite 500, 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201.


Medals awarded while in active service will be issued by the appropriate service if requested by veterans or, if deceased, their next of kin. Requests for medals from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard should be sent to the U.S. Navy Liaison Office, National Personnel Records Center, Room 3475, 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. Requests for medals from the Army should be sent to U.S. Army Reserve Personnel Center, ATTN: ARPC-VSE, 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. Requests for medals from the Air Force should be sent to the National Personnel Records Center (Military Personnel Records), 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. The veteran's full name should be printed or typed, so that it can be read clearly. The request must contain the signature of the veteran or the signature of the next of kin if the veteran is deceased. Include the veteran's branch of service, service number or Social Security number and dates of service, or at least the approximate years. If available, include a copy of the discharge or separation document, WDAGO Form 53-55 or DD Form 214. If possible, send the request on Standard Form 180, "Request Pertaining To Military Records." These forms are generally available from VA offices or veterans organizations.

Review of Discharges

Each of the military services maintains a discharge review board with authority to change, correct, or modify discharges or dismissals that are not issued by a sentence of a general court martial. The board has no authority to address medical discharges. The veteran or, if the veteran is deceased or incompetent, the surviving spouse, next of kin or legal representative may apply for a review of discharge by writing to the military department concerned, using Department of Defense Form 293. Tmartial. The board has no authority to address medical discharges. The veteran or, if the veteran is deceased or incompetent, the surviving spouse, next of kin or legal representative may apply for a review of discharge by writing to the military department concerned, using Department of Defense Form 293. This form may be obtained at a VA office. If more than 15 years have passed since discharge, DD Form 149 should be used. Service discharge review boards conduct hearings in Washington, D.C. Traveling review boards also visit selected cities to hear cases. In addition, the Army sends teams to locations to videotape the testimony of applicants for later review by a board in Washington, D.C. Discharges awa

Veterans with disabilities incurred or aggravated during active military service may qualify for medical or related benefits regardless of separation and characterization of service. Veterans separated administratively under other than honorable conditions may request that their discharge be reviewed for possible recharacterization, provided they file their appeal within 15 years of the date of separation. Questions regarding the review of a discharge may be addressed to the appropriate discharge review board at the following addre*ses:

* Army Army Discharge Review Board, Attention: SFMR-RBB, Room 200A, 1941 Jefferson Davis Hwy. Arlington, VA 22202-4504.

* Navy and USMC Navy Discharge Review Board, 801 N. Randolph St., Suite 905, Arlington, VA 22203.

* Air Force Air Force Military Personnel Center, Attention: DP-MDOA1, Randolph AFB, TX 78150-6001.

* Coast Guard Coast Guard, Attention: GPE1, Washington, DC 20593.

Replacing Military Records

If discharge or separation papers are lost, duplicate copies may be obtained by contacting the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records, 9700 Page Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. Specify that a duplicate separation document or discharge is needed. The veteran's full name should be printed or typed so that it can be read clearly, but the request must also contain the signature of the veteran or the signature of the next of kin, if the veteran is deceased. Include branch of service, service number or Social Security number and exact or approximate date and years of service. Use Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining To Military Records, which is available from VA offices and veterans organizations. It is not necessary to request a duplicate copy of a veteran's discharge or separation papers solely for the purpose of filing a claim for VA benefits. If complete information about the veteran's service is furnished on the application, VA will obtain verification of service from the National Personnel Records Center or the service department concerned. In a medical emergency, information from a veteran's records may be obtained by phoning the appropriate service: Army, 314-538-4261; Air Force, 314-538-4243; Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard, 314-538-4141.

Correction of Military Records

The secretary of a military department, acting through a board for correction of military records, has authority to correct any military record when necessary to correct an error or remove an injustice. Applications for correction of a military record, including review of discharges issued by court-martial, may be considered by a correction board. A request for correction generally must be filed by the veteran, survivor or legal representative within three years after discovery of the alleged error or injustice. The board may excuse failure to file within the prescribed time, however, if it finds it would be in the interest of justice to do so. It is the responsibility of the applicant to show why the filing of the application was delayed and why it would be in the interest of justice for the board to consider the application despite the delay. To justify any correction, it is necessary to show to the satisfaction of the board that the alleged entry or omission in the records was in error or unjust. Applications should include all evidence which may be available, such as signed statements of witnesses or a brief of arguments supporting the requested correction. Application must be made on DD Form 149, which may be obtained at any VA office.

Armed Forces Retirement Homes

The following veterans may be eligible to live in two retirement homes run by the Armed Forces Retirement Home: veterans 60 years of age or older who have completed 20 years or more of active service; veterans incapable of earning a livelihood because of a service-connected disability incurred in the line of duty in the Armed Forces; veterans incapable of earning a livelihood because of injuries, disease, or disability who served in a war theater during a time of war declared by Congress or who were eligible for hostile fire special pay; veterans who served in the women's component of the Armed Forces before the enactment of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948. Veterans are not eligible if they have been convicted of a felony or are not free from alcohol, drug or psychiatric problems.

New residents must be capable of living independently in a dormitory. The Armed Forces Retirement Home is an independent federal agency. For information, write to the Admissions Office 1094, U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home, 3700 N. Capitol St. NW, Washington, DC 20317, or phone 1-800-422-9988; or write to U.S. Naval Home, 1800 Beach Drive., Gulfport, MS 39507, or phone 1-800-332-3527.

Commissary and Exchange Privileges

Unlimited exchange and commissary store privileges in the United States are available to honorably discharged veterans with a service-connected disability rated at 100 percent, unremarried surviving spouses of members or retired members of the Armed Forces, recipients of the Medal of Honor, and their dependents and orphans. Reservists and their dependents also may be eligible. Privileges overseas are governed by international law and are available only if agreed upon by the foreign government concerned. VA certifies total disability. VA provides assistance in completing DD Form 1172 (Application for Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card) .

Death Gratuity

Military services provide a death gratuity of $6,000 to a deceased servicemember's next of kin. The death gratuity is payable for death in active service or for retirees who died within 120 days of retirement as a result of service-connected injury or illness. Parents, brothers or sisters may be provided the gratuity, if designated as next of kin by the deceased. The gratuity is paid by the last military command of the deceased. If the beneficiary has not been paid within a reasonable time, application may be made to the military service concerned.


Veterans and other claimants for VA benefits have the right to appeal decisions made by a VA regional office or medical center. Typical issues appealed are disability compensation, pension, education benefits, recovery of overpayments, medication copayment debts and reimbursement for medical services that were not authorized.

A claimant has one year from the date of the notification of a VA decision to file an appeal. The first step in the appeal process is for a claimant to file a written notice of disagreement with the VA regional office or medical center that made the decision. This is a written statement that a claimant disagrees with VA's decision. Following receipt of the written notice, VA will furnish the claimant a "Statement of the Case" describing what facts, laws and regulations were used in deciding the case. To complete the request for appeal, the claimant must file a "Substantive Appeal" within 60 days of the mailing of the Statement of the Case, or within one year from the date VA mailed its decision, whichever period ends later.

Board of Veterans' Appeals

The Board of Veterans' Appeals makes final decisions on appeals on behalf of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. A claimant may be represented by a veterans service organization, an agent or an attorney. The board reviews fee agreements between appellants and attorneys or agents. The Board also determines whether attorneys or agents are eligible for payment of fees from a claimant's past-due benefits. Appellants have the right to present their case in person to a board member at a hearing in Washington, D.C., at a VA regional office or by videoconference.

The board annually produces a CD-ROM with the text of its decisions. Most VA regional offices have these CD-ROMs available for review. A CD-ROM also may be purchased from the Government Printing Office.

For further information, contact Department of Veterans Affairs, Board of Veterans' Appeals (01B), Washington, DC 20420.

U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals

A VA claim may be appealed from the Board of Veterans' Appeals to the Court of Veterans Appeals. This court is independent of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Only claimants may seek a review by the court; VA may not appeal BVA decisions.

To appeal to the court, the claimant must have filed a Notice of Disagreement on or after Nov. 18, 1988. The notice of appeal must be filed with the court with a postmark that is within 120 days after the Board of Veterans' Appeals mails its final decision.

The court does not hold trials or receive new evidence. The court reviews the record that was considered by the Board of Veterans' Appeals. Oral argument is held only at the direction of the court. Either party may appeal a decision of the court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and to the Supreme Court of the United States. Appellants may represent themselves before the court or have lawyers or approved agents as representatives.

The court's decisions are published in West's Veterans Appeals Reporter, in the WESTLAW and LEXIS on line services and on the court's electronic bulletin board. The bulletin board can be reached at 202-501-5836. For information about case status or the court's rules and procedures, contact the Clerk of the Court at 625 Indiana Ave. NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20004, or call 1-800-869-8654 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern time.

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