New steps to an ap­peal

The Weekly Vista - - Fun & Games -

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.

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