New Bill Signed to Speed Up VA Disability Appeals Process
Last Wednesday, August 23rd, President Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act into law. The Act aims to speed up the notoriously slow VA disability benefits appeals process. Currently, there are 470,000 pending appeals with Veterans waiting anywhere from two to six years for a decision to be made in their claims.
As it stands, Veteran’s must follow a singular appeals “track” to pursue their claims for disability benefits. However, the new law will allow for multiple appeal “tracks” that Veterans can utilize depending on the strength of their claim or their personal preference. Now, a Veteran who receives an initial rating decision will have the choice to file an appeal at the Regional Office level, or skip ahead to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals for either a hearing to be set or a decision to be made on the record of evidence.
The addition of multiple appeal tracks will allow the almost 500,000 pending appeals to be dispersed over a number of different “lanes” for appeals which should reduce the total number in each lane thus, reducing wait times.
The new law creates three specific “lanes” for Veterans and their appeals to follow. There will be a “Local Higher Level Review Lane” in which an adjudicator reviews the same evidence considered by the original claims processor; a “New Evidence Lane,” in which the veteran could submit new evidence for review and have a hearing; and a “Board Lane,” in which jurisdiction for the appeal would transfer immediately to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
If you have questions about the new VA appeals process or any question related to VA benefits, please contact the experienced Veterans’ disability attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. today for a free case evaluation. Gardberg & Kemmerly serves Veterans across the United States from their home office in Mobile, Alabama.