"Congress, through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), provides a variety of benefits and services to veterans and to certain members of their families. These benefits include disability compensation and pensions, education benefits, survivor benefits, medical treatment, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, and burial and memorial benefits. In order to receive these benefits, a veteran (or an eligible family member) must apply for them by submitting the necessary information to a local VA office. The local VA office will make an initial determination on the application for benefits. Any veteran who is not satisfied with the local VA's determination is permitted to appeal the decision. This report provides a step-by-step breakdown of the appeal process for veterans' claims. When making an appeal on an initial determination, the claimant may choose to proceed with the traditional review process or may choose to have a Decision Review Officer (DRO) at the local VA office review the case. [...] The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) has exclusive jurisdiction to hear appeals from a CAVC [Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims] decision. The Federal Circuit provides the last appeal of right during the appeal process. If either party is dissatisfied with the ruling from the Federal Circuit, an appeal may be made to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court does not have to hear the case and may deny certiorari. If the Supreme Court decides to hear the case, any decision reached by the Court is final."
CRS Report for Congress, R42609