When VA receives a claim, it is initially reviewed by an agency of original jurisdiction (AOJ)--in most cases, one of VA's regional offices.
Agency of original jurisdiction (AOJ)--the VA regional office, medical center, medical clinic, or other VA office that made the initial decision on a claim for VA benefits or the VA office where a claimant's records are permanently transferred.
It begins when an appellant files an NOD with the agency of original jurisdiction that initially denied the benefit claim--usually the VA regional office (VARO) or VA medical center (VAMC).
Subsequent to the Court's decision, BVA's Litigation Support Division advised BVA to remand rather than refer an issue for an SOC if the agency of original jurisdiction had made a decision and the appellant subsequently filed a document that could constitute an NOD.
If it is not, BVA must remand the case to the agency of original jurisdiction
with instructions to assist the veteran in obtaining the missing evidence.