“Tired of waiting” is a phrase we often hear associated with appeals. But since the implementation of the Appeals Modernization Act, Veterans who disagree with VA’s decisions on their compensation claims have had a new and quicker way to receive a second look.
That benefit has now been extended to Veterans stuck in the legacy appeals process.
Dave McLenachan, director of VBA’s Appeals Management Office, unveiled the Decision Review Process last week in a VBA Facebook Live, noting that Veterans with appeals in the old process can—as soon as they receive a Statement of the Case (SOC) or Supplementary Statement of the Case (SSOC)—elect to transfer their appeals into the AMA process.
The opt-in notice will be included with SOCs and SSOCs, and must be returned to VA within 60 days.
The benefits of opting in are eye-popping: appeals in the legacy process average 3-7 years for a single decision; the current average for claims in the AMA is 36 days.
And lest you think the AMA “leads to quicker denials,” consider that since RAMP started, AMO has processed more than 75,000 claims and awarded more than $378 million in retroactive benefits.
That’s a lot of granting.
In the video, Mr. McLenachan also busts a few myths. My favorite is the “effective date protection”—your “backpay” date—which actually improves effective date provisions as long as a Veteran continually pursues the review of her claim.
That “continually pursues review” leads into the next busted myth: AMA is not a one-and-done; if the Veteran disagrees with the decision VA makes, she can move her claim into another lane, and there is no limit to how many times she can use the lanes, or in which order. None of the options go away!
That means a Veteran could potentially receive three or more decisions (if they continue to disagree) in AMA before ever receiving one in the legacy appeals process!
Want to learn more? Have questions about which of the AMA’s three lanes is right for you? Check out the video—and the Q&A at the end!