New steps to an appeal
The Department of Veterans Affairs reached a big goal two weeks early in September: It delivered 81,000 appeals decisions for fiscal 2018. That’s 28,000 more decisions on services and disability benefits than it cleared last year. The VA already has hired nearly 200 attorneys and plans to hire 30 more as it implements the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017.
There’s a lot to know.
If you disagreed with your original claim decision, you have three choices, per the Act: A higher-level review, where you jump up to another decision-making body; a supplemental claim, where new evidence is submitted; or an appeal (Notice of Disagreement) to the board.
If you appeal directly to the board, there are three directions to take: direct review docket, evidence docket and hearing docket. Do you know the difference?
This is when having an attorney can help. In the direct review, no new evidence is submitted. In the evidence docket, new evidence is sent. In the hearing docket, new evidence also is introduced.
On the VA.gov blog website there is a chart with the above information, cleverly identified as Simplified Process Gives Veterans Clear Choices. Clear as mud, no?
If you want to learn more about what the Board of Veterans’ Appeals does, go online to www.bva.va.gov. Click the tiny images for expanded information. You’ll find sections on what the Board does, what the appeals modernization actually is and how to monitor the status of your appeal.
To check your status, you’ll need to sign in using the DS Logon (ID issued by the DOD),
your HealtheVet account or your ID.me account. You can create an ID.me account using your HealtheVet account, or Facebook or Google, or even an AARP account. Think carefully
before you use any of these last three.