New VA appeals process promises to be quicker

This week the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officially switched their benefits appeals process to a new system that promises more clarity and quicker decisions for the 1-million-plus cases handled annually.

VA leaders are describing the move to the new process as another expansion of “choice” for veterans. At a launch event on Tuesday, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie stated that the move was “the greatest transformation event in the history of the department”.

The new changes will essentially shorten wait times for appeals decisions and simplify the process, eventually removing the backlog of over 400,000 cases in the system.

According to an article published by Military Times, “Veterans can choose one of three options for their appeals — a supplemental claim (introducing evidence left out of the initial decision), a review by a senior official (“calling the manager to complain,” as one advocate called it), and a direct line to the Board of Veterans Appeals, where a panel of judges will rule on the case.”

The first two options have a goal of 125 days in total and the third has a target goal of one year. VA officials are promising that all three will be significantly faster than the old system, where veterans face typical wait times of three to seven years.

To learn more about the new VA process, click here.