Belleville, Illinois — Aug. 29, 2019 — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has begun the rollout of its new VA disability appeals modernization process, providing more choices for veterans and highlighting the importance of guidance with their decisions, according to Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Services.
The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (AMA) was signed into law Aug. 23, 2017, and took effect in February this year—significantly reshaping the appeals process for veterans seeking service-connected disability benefits. Veterans can apply for and receive tax-free disability compensation for disabilities that are a result of, or aggravated, during active military service. The income may range from several hundred dollars to $3,000 or more, based on severity and dependents.
“VA Appeals Modernization is long overdue and a landmark change for our country’s veterans. It creates new options for VA, former service members and their accredited representatives to identity the most effective path for appeal and experience a clearer, faster decision-making process,” said Brett Buchanan, VA-Accredited Claims Agent for Allsup.
The most visible change is that veterans may now choose from three decision review pathways: Higher-Level Review, Supplemental Claim, or Notice of Disagreement to the Board of Veterans Appeals, where they have three additional alternatives.
“Having multiple choices with their VA disability appeal may seem to add to the complexity, not simplify the process, but this is where a VA-accredited claims agent can make a difference,” Buchanan explained. “With proper guidance, newly defined VA appeals options and specific timelines outlined, veterans will have more confidence in the outcome of their claim for benefits.”
The VA has stated its goal is to complete Higher-Level Reviews and Supplemental Claims in an average of 125 days, and decisions appealed to the Board in an average of 365 days. This is significantly shorter when compared to the legacy VA appeals system’s timeline of three to seven years.
“VA Appeals Modernization gives veterans some important protections, including having one year to file an appeal, rather than just 60 days under the old system. Plus, there is more flexibility when it comes to identifying and submitting new evidence,” Buchanan said.
For veterans now in the process of studying their appeals options, Buchanan said, Allsup experts work closely with them to evaluate whether they want to opt-in to the new AMA process.
“If your appeals are a part of the legacy appeals process, the VA has made it possible at certain stages to move into the new appeals process, with the goal of speeding decisions for as many veterans as possible,” Buchanan said.
Need help choosing your VA appeals path? Click here to be contacted by an Allsup specialist about your veterans disability appeal. Find more information about filing a VA disability appeal by visiting Veterans.TrueHelp.com.
Allsup and its subsidiaries provide nationwide Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, return to work, exchange plan and Medicare services for individuals, their employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Illinois, near St. Louis. Learn more at TrueHelp.com and @Allsup or download a free PDF of Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance: Getting It Right The First Time.