HomeVeterans Guide to VA Claim FilingChoosing an Appeal PathWhat Now?

7.1. What Now?

A claimant who has filed an NOD "has right to a review of that decision" by a Decision Review Officer [DRO]."  38 C.F.R. § 3.2600(a).  The reviewer will be an individual "who did not participate in the decision being reviewed" and "will give no deference to the decision being reviewed."  Id.  The "reviewer may reverse or revise (even if disadvantageous to the claimant) prior decisions."  Id. § 3.2600(e).  A DRO review does not limit the appeal rights of a claimant.  Id. § 3.2600(f).

This Court has held that, "where a decision on one issue would have a 'significant impact' upon another, and that impact in turn 'could render any review by this Court of the decision [on the claim] meaningless and a waste of judicial resources,' the two claims are inextricably intertwined."  Henderson v. West, 12 Vet. App. 11, 20 (1998) (quoting Harris v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 180, 183 (1991), overruled on other grounds by Tyrues v. Shinseki, 23 Vet. App. 166 (2009)); see also Smith v. Gober, 236 F.3d 1370, 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (holding that, where the facts underlying two claims are "intimately connected," the interests of judicial economy and of avoiding piecemeal litigation require the claims to be appealed together).

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