February 2019 marked the successful implementation of the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (AMA), which resulted in faster and easier ways to appeal your compensation claim. AMA created a new decision review and appeals process that features three lanes for you to choose from. As always, we recommend that you work with your VSO or representative to assist in making the best decision for you.
Choice with AMA
If, after you receive your initial decision from VA, you disagree with this decision, you must choose one of three lanes: Supplemental Claim, Higher-Level Review, or an Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board).
The Supplemental Claim lane is an option if you have new and relevant evidence. The Higher-Level Review lane is beneficial for those who believe there was a mistake in the initial decision. These lanes will get you a second decision in the quickest amount of time.
The final lane is a direct appeal to the Board. If you choose a Board appeal, you must then choose one of three more paths:
- Direct Review
- Evidence Submission
- Hearing with a Veterans Law Judge (VLJ)
The Direct Review path is the fastest option at the Board, and it is for those who feel there has been a misinterpretation of the law or the facts of your case.
The Evidence Submission path allows you to submit additional evidence to the Board for consideration. This option will take longer than Direct Review.
The final option is the Hearing path. The Hearing path allows you to have a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge. This path will take the longest for you to receive a second decision.
Below is a flow chart that may help you decide which lane/path is best for you:
This graph shows the possible steps to take and follow if you disagree with the decision that VA made on your claim.
Additional information about Veterans choices under AMA are available here and here. With AMA, Veterans are experiencing more choice and control over their experience with VA and are getting their results faster.
Cheryl L. Mason is the Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board).