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Is the New VA Appeals Process Faster?

Published on June 25th, 2020

In 2017, Congress passed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, which provided for reforms to the VA disability claims process. Any claim for disability compensation that was filed after February 19, 2019, will go through the new process. By most indicators, the new system is a definite improvement over the old system, with case decisions getting handed down at a faster rate.

Regardless of whether your appeal will go through the new appeals process or the older legacy process, a veterans benefits lawyer can improve your chances of success. By helping you gather convincing evidence and finding legal precedent that supports your case, your lawyer can give your appeal the best chances of success. If you want to improve your disability rating, call Jackson & MacNichol today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation.

The New Process Has Reduced Average Waiting Times

In November 2017, the VA launched an interim appeals process called the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP). RAMP was discontinued in favor of the new system in February 2019. But to this day, the VA still faces a significant backlog of cases brought under the legacy appeals process. This means that the Appeals Modernization Act will not have a significant effect on the processing time of older cases.

According to the VA, the new process is a significant improvement. As of April 2020, the average waiting times for different disability claim appeal procedures are as follows:

  • Initial Disability Claim–The time between when you file your disability claim and receive a decision letter is generally 80 days.
  • Higher Level Review–If you appeal your ratings decision by requesting a case review from a Decision Review Officer, or DRO, the process takes on average 125 days.
  • Supplemental Claim–If you chose to supply additional evidence in support of your claim, it will take on average 125 days for the regional office to review it.
  • Board of Veterans Appeals–It generally takes a year for the BVA to review cases, but it could take longer if you request an in-person hearing, or if you submit new evidence.

These averages don’t tell the whole story. Although many veterans will receive their benefits within these average times, some cases may take much longer to resolve, especially if they involve complex factual or legal issues. In these cases, the assistance of an experienced veterans benefits lawyer can not only improve your chances of getting a good outcome, it can also help you avoid common problems that can add to your case processing time.

A Lawyer Can Help You With the Appeals Process

When you file for veterans disability benefits, there is always a risk that your case may drag on for years. At Jackson & MacNichol, our goal is to lessen the strain of the compensation process while improving our clients’ case results. If you have received a decision letter that you disagree with, we can help you plan and execute an appeal strategy that gives you the best chance of getting the justice you deserve on your compensation claim. For a free consultation, call us today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation.

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