VB 02504.030 The SVB AC Decision and Postreview
A. Policy - Regulatory Provisions
1. AC Decisions
After considering all the evidence in the ALJ hearing record, any new and material evidence that pertains to the period on or before the date of the ALJ's decision, and pertinent legal argument, the AC will decide whether to deny or dismiss the request for review, grant the request for review to issue a decision, remand the case to an ALJ for further proceedings, or dismiss the request for hearing (for any reason the ALJ could have dismissed). In granting review, the AC may affirm, modify, or reverse an ALJ's decision, or it may adopt, modify, or reject a recommended decision. A copy of the AC's decision will be mailed to the parties at their last known address.
2. Effect of AC Decision or Denial of Request for Review
The AC decision or the ALJ's decision if the AC denied the request for review is binding unless the individual files an action in a U.S. District Court or the decision is reopened and revised under the rules of administrative finality.
B. Policy - Operating Considerations
1. FO Role in Effectuating AC Favorable Decision - Initial Qualification/Entitlement
SVB has a two-pronged requirement for benefit payment: The veteran must meet the eligibility requirements and within four months must establish residency outside the U.S. (defined for purposes of SVB entitlement as the U.S., Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands). When the AC has issued a decision finding that the eligibility factors are met, it will return the file to the servicing field office for systems input (SSR and ensure AC staff updated the SVB Intranet site) and to await proof of foreign residence. (See VB 02507.040 for instructions for conducting redeterminations after reversals.)
2. Retention of SVB Claims Folders in ODAR After Unfavorable AC Action
In general, when the AC takes unfavorable action (i.e., denial or dismissal of a request for review or issuance of an unfavorable decision) on an SVB claim, the AC retains the claim file for a period of 120 days. This enables ODAR to take immediate action if civil action is filed.
However, if the claims file shows the need for current processing by the FO (unadjudicated application in file, postadjudicative action pending, etc.), the AC will return the file to the FO upon request. At the end of the 120-day retention period, ODAR will refer the folder in accordance with SM 01201.015.