Evidence Requirements - Transcript
This short video will discuss evidence requirements for applications to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board.
When you apply to the Board, what is the starting point for evidence?
First, the Board begins by assembling an evidence package called the Statement of Case.
This package includes documents from your service and medical records, as well as previous decisions on your application.
The Board then shares this evidence package with your representative, who, in turn, will share it with you.
Reviewing the evidence package will allow you and your representative to know what information is already on record, and whether any important information is missing.
Your representative will advise you on any additional evidence you will need to support your case.
The evidence you need will vary, since every case is different and decided on its own merit.
A good place to start is the most recent decision in your case, as it should clearly state why the decision-maker was unable to rule favourably.
For example, your decision might state that there was a lack of evidence documenting the events surrounding your injury or illness. Or, perhaps there was a lack of medical evidence to establish a link between your disability and service.
Evidence usually falls into one of four categories: medical, documentary, your testimony, and witness statements.
Medical evidence could include medical exams, surgery reports, or a doctor's expert opinion.
Documentary evidence is usually found in service records. It can establish your work history, including events that may have contributed to your disability.
Your testimony at the hearing describes the details of your disability and how it occurred. It is important evidence that often contributes to a favourable ruling.
And finally, witness statements are accounts taken from colleagues or others who have first-hand knowledge of an event or situation, and may be useful for confirming details and circumstances.
Ultimately, you are responsible for providing enough credible evidence to establish your case for new or increased benefits.
So what does "credible evidence" look like?
For medical evidence, in plain terms, the Federal Court has established that a credible medical opinion must: be provided by a qualified person; be based on a reasonably complete and accurate medical history; and have a logical conclusion based on the relevant medical-scientific information from recognized texts or studies.
An example of a medical opinion that may be assessed as not credible is one where a general practitioner has given an opinion on a highly specialized area of medicine which they are not qualified to speak on.
At the end of the day, Board Members must explain how they considered and weighed all the evidence to come to a fair and informed decision.
If you want to read some of our decisions to see how the Board deals with evidence, find our page on the Canadian Legal Information Institute's website. Or, for more detailed information on evidence requirements, go to the Board's website.
We hope this video has been helpful. If you have any questions or would like more information about the Board, please visit our website or give us a call.