HomeVeterans Guide to VA BenefitsFiling Claim-Evidentiary IssuesNew & Material Evidence

12.2. New & Material Evidence

When a claim is pending and "[n]ew and material evidence [is] received prior to the expiration of the [appeals period]," such evidence "will be considered as having been filed in connection with the [pending] claim."  38 C.F.R. § 3.156(b).  New and material evidence "can be neither cumulative nor redundant of the evidence of record at the time of the last prior final denial."  38 C.F.R. § 3.156(a).  "VA must assess any evidence submitted during the relevant period and make a determination as to whether it constitutes new and material evidence relating to the old claim."  Bond v. Shinseki, 659 F.3d 1362, 1367 (2011) (emphasis added).  This determination must be explicit.  Id. at 1368.  "This obligation persists even where . . .  the RO has concluded that the submission in question also supports a new claim for an increased rating, for neither law—nor logic—dictates that evidence supporting a new claim cannot also constitute new and material evidence relating to a pending claim."  Bond, 659 F.3d 1367-68.  The Board's determination of whether a claimant has submitted new and material evidence is generally reviewed under the "clearly erroneous" standard of review set forth in 38 U.S.C. § 7261(a)(4).  Suaviso v. Nicholson, 19 Vet. App. 532, 533-34 (2006); Elkins v. West, 12 Vet. App. 209, 217 (1999) (en banc). 

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