Washington Update for today, January 24th, 2019
Thursday, January 24, 2019
TREA Washington Update, January 24, 2019
VA to implement appeals modernization in February
Act will simplify process for how Veterans make appeals
The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2019, regulations accompanying the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (AMA), which will help Veterans experience a more transparent claims decision-review process. The new law is effective February 19, 2019, and will:
- Modernize the current claims and appeals process;
- Include three review options for disagreements with decisions;
- Require improved notification of VA decisions;
- Provide earlier claim resolution; and
- Ensure veterans receive the earliest effective date possible.
Veterans rejected for disability benefits will have a new slate of appeals options starting next month, when federal officials will put in place an overhaul of the review process with hopes of dramatically cutting down on wait times for the complicated cases.
Under the new rules, veterans will be given three options for their benefits appeals. All three are designed to streamline the complicated existing process for cases, which can languish for years as new evidence and arguments are introduced throughout the timeline.
VA leaders are hoping the most difficult reviews can still be completed in under a year in the majority of cases. The target for cases which do not go before the Board of Veterans Appeals is an average of about four months for a final decision. Decisions appealed to the Board under its direct docket will average 365 days. Prior to this new process, appeal resolutions averaged three to seven years.
A successful appeal can mean potentially thousands of dollars in monthly benefits payouts for veterans who have previously been turned down for what they believe are service-connected injuries and illnesses.
TREA worked with Congress and strongly supported these changes as a long-overdue fix.
Please advise if you found this information helpful or if you plan to use this new appeal
For more information about VA appeals modernization, visit https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals.asp and https://www.bva.va.gov/.