When a veteran appeals a rating decision he or she can opt to have a Decision Review Officer (DRO) review the appeal prior to the Board of Veterans Appeals reviews the claim. Sometimes, the DRO will schedule an informal hearing with the veteran to hear the veteran’s side.
What happens at a DRO hearing? A DRO hearing is very informal. The DRO usually introduces herself, swears in the veteran, then talks to the veteran about the issues appealed. This conversation is recorded. The rules of evidence do not apply. In my experience, the DRO will let the veteran tell his side of the story and will ask questions only when clarification is needed. Sometimes the DRO will tell the veteran at the end of the hearing what the DRO plans to do, or what is needed to help the veteran’s claim.
After the hearing, the veteran will either receive a new Rating Decision or a Statement of the Case. Both have specific instructions on what to do next.