Department of Veterans Affairs.
This document adopts as a final rule proposed amendments to the Appeals Regulations and Rules of Practice of the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board). These amendments clarify that the Board may address questions related to its jurisdiction in the first instance. They also provide for notice and an opportunity to comment when the Board raises jurisdictional questions on its own initiative.
Effective Date: November 21, 2001.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Steven L. Keller, Senior Deputy Vice Chairman, Board of Veterans' Appeals, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 565-5978.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Initial decisions on claims for veterans' benefits are made at VA field offices throughout the nation. Claimants may appeal those decisions to the Board. This final rule amends Department of Veterans Affairs' regulations pertaining to such appeals.
These amendments were previously published in the Federal Register as a proposed rule on April 4, 2001, at 66 FR 17840. We received no comments. Based on the rationale set forth in the proposed rule, we are adopting its provisions as a final rule, with a nonsubstantive editorial change to the first sentence of § 20.101(e).
Paperwork Reduction Act
This document contains no provisions constituting a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).
The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act requires (in section 202) that agencies prepare an assessment of anticipated costs and benefits before developing any rule that may result in an expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100 million or more in any given year. This rule would have no consequential effect on State, local, or tribal governments.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Secretary hereby certifies that this final rule does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601-612. This rule would affect only the processing of claims by VA and would not affect small businesses.
Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this final rule is exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analyses requirements of sections 603 and 604.
There is no Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for this final rule.Start List of Subjects
List of SubjectsEnd List of Subjects Start Signature
Approved: September 27, 2001.
Anthony J. Principi,
Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
For the reasons set out in the preamble,End Amendment Part Start Part
PART 19—BOARD OF VETERANS' APPEALS: APPEALS REGULATIONSEnd Part Start Amendment Part
1. The authority citation for part 19 continues to read as follows:End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part
2. Section 19.35 is amended by revising the first sentence to read as follows:End Amendment Part
Following receipt of a timely Substantive Appeal, the agency of original jurisdiction will certify the case to the Board of Veterans' Appeals. * * *
PART 20—BOARD OF VETERANS' APPEALS: RULES OF PRACTICEEnd Part Start Amendment Part
3. The authority citation for part 20 continues to read as follows:End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part
4. Section 20.101 amended by revising paragraph (c), and adding paragraphs (d) and (e), to read as follows:End Amendment Part
(c) Appeals as to jurisdiction. All claimants 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.
(d) Authority to determine jurisdiction. The Board may address questions pertaining to its jurisdictional authority to review a particular case, including, but not limited to, determining whether Notices of Disagreement and Substantive Appeals are adequate and timely, at any stage in a proceeding before it, regardless of whether the agency of original jurisdiction addressed such question(s). 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 Start Printed Page 53340argument 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.
(e) Application of 38 CFR 19.9 and 20.1304. Section 19.9 of this chapter 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 § 20.1304 of this part do not apply to a hearing requested, or evidence submitted, under paragraph (d) of this section.
5. Section 20.203 is removed and reserved.End Amendment Part End Supplemental Information
[FR Doc. 01-26557 Filed 10-19-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8320-01-P