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VA To Implement Appeals Modernization in February
Act will simplify process for how Veterans make appeals 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) announced that the Federal Register will publish on Jan. 18 regulations accompanying the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (AMA), which will help Veterans experience a more transparent claims decision-review process.

After publication of the regulations, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie will certify the department’s readiness to implement appeals modernization, which will transform a complex appeals process into one that is simple, timely and provides greater choice to Veterans who disagree with a VA decision. 

Implementation will occur 30 days after the Secretary certifies, as required by law.  Accordingly, the AMA will become effective Feb 19. 

“VA has been preparing for full implementation of the Appeals Modernization Act over the past 18 months,” Wilkie said. “Our staff has worked diligently, particularly in the last few weeks, to ensure the new, streamlined process is available to Veterans in February. 

The AMA was signed into law Aug. 23, 2017. Under the act, Veterans will now have three options for claims and appeals: (1) supplemental claim; (2) higher-level review; or (3) direct appeals to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. All decision reviews submitted after February 2019 will fall under the new system.

Once the Appeals Modernization Act is fully implemented, VA’s goal is to complete supplemental claims and higher-level reviews averaging 125 days. Decisions appealed to the Board under its direct docket will average 365 days. Under the legacy process, appeal resolutions averaged three to seven years. 

For more information about VA appeals modernization,visit https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals.asp and https://www.bva.va.gov/.


Get an Answer Within 30 Days of VA Receiving Your Claim

Considering submitting a claim for an increase in your disability compensation? VA’s new Decision Ready Claims (DRC) program delivers decisions within 30 days.

Eric, a Marine Corps Veteran, was urged to apply for VA disability compensation because of an injury to his upper back that occurred during boot camp.

“The only thing that helps are massages, so I use the money for that. It goes towards normal living expenses too, because it is more than I expected,” he says. “It has made my life a lot easier to have that extra income.”

In addition to claims for increases, DRC covers certain claims related to direct service, presumptive service and secondary service connections. Surviving spouses can file certain claims under DRC, and transitioning service members can use DRC to file pre-discharge claims less than 90 days from leaving the military.

To file a DRC, Veterans must work on the submission with an accredited Veteran Service Organization (VSO). This preparation allows claims processors to make a decision within 30 days. The VSO representative will work with you to ensure you have the required supporting evidence, such as military service records and medical exams.

“Whatever small thing you have right now that you did get from the military can snowball into something greater down the line,” Eric says. “The compensation can provide security.”

Visit Explore.VA.gov to learn more about all VA benefits and apply, or click the button below to get started on your DRC. 

“The only thing that helps are massages, so I use the money for that. It goes towards normal living expenses too, because it is more than I expected,” he says. “It has made my life a lot easier to have that extra income.”

In addition to claims for increases, DRC covers certain claims related to direct service, presumptive service and secondary service connections. Surviving spouses can file certain claims under DRC, and transitioning service members can use DRC to file pre-discharge claims less than 90 days from leaving the military.

To file a DRC, Veterans must work on the submission with an accredited Veteran Service Organization (VSO). This preparation allows claims processors to make a decision within 30 days. The VSO representative will work with you to ensure you have the required supporting evidence, such as military service records and medical exams.

“Whatever small thing you have right now that you did get from the military can snowball into something greater down the line,” Eric says. “The compensation can provide security.”

Visit Explore.VA.gov to learn more about all VA benefits and apply, or click the button below to get started on your DRC.


 VA Announces Rollout and Application Process for New Veterans ID Card 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the application process for the national Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is now available for Veterans — yet another action honoring their service.

This has been mandated through legislation since 2015 to honor Veterans, and today’s rollout of the ID card fulfills that overdue promise.

Only those Veterans with honorable service will be able to apply for the ID card, which will provide proof of military service, and may be accepted by retailers in lieu of the standard DD-214 form to obtain promotional discounts and other services where offered to Veterans.

“The new Veterans Identification Card provides a safer and more convenient and efficient way for most Veterans to show proof of service,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “With the card, Veterans with honorable service to our nation will no longer need to carry around their paper DD-214s to obtain Veteran discounts and other services.”  

The VIC provides a more portable and secure alternative for those who served the minimum obligated time in service, but did not meet the retirement or medical discharge threshold. Veterans who served in the armed forces, including the reserve components, and who have a discharge of honorable or general (under honorable conditions) can request a VIC.

To request a VIC, Veterans must visit vets.gov, click on “Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card” on the bottom left of the page and sign in or create an account.

Veterans who apply for a card should receive it within 60 days and can check delivery status of their cards at vets.gov. A digital version of the VIC will be available online by mid-December.

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