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Are More Changes Coming to the VA Disability Appeals Process?

The Veterans Administration (VA) appeals process has been described as painstakingly slow, as hundreds of thousands of veterans are waiting to hear if their appeal has been granted and if they will soon receive benefits.  The number of veterans in this legal limbo has varied over the years, from 400,000 or more prior to the introduction of the new appeals process in 2019 to 200,000 according to a recent news report.

In light of these backlogs, two congressmen are seeking ways to improve the efficiency of the appeals process and reduce the number of veterans waiting for an appellate decision. This may mean further changes to a process that some veterans already find confusing process.

A Problem That Defies an Easy Answer

This is not the first instance, nor will it be the last, that Congress attempts to solve a problem for which lasting solutions seem elusive. Even the new appeals process, which was implemented in February 2019, was created to address the backlogs created by the legacy appeals system. If Congress were to craft a new appeals process, history suggests that within a short period of time that backlogs would persist and an even newer system for handling appeals would need to be sought.

One reason for persistent backlogs in the VA appeals process is a lack of resources. There are simply too many appeals that are being submitted for review and adjudication for the VA to process efficiently.  Absent additional judges, reviewers, and others dedicated to processing VA disability appeals, one can expect delays to persist.

Ways to Speed Your VA Disability Appeal Along

Veterans who appeal a denial of their VA claim can expect to receive a decision after a year or more of waiting, according to VA estimates. This depends on the VA’s current backlog (as the VA usually addresses appeals in the order the agency receives them) as well as the type of review you request. For example, higher-level reviews with no supplemental evidence will generally proceed faster than will contested claims before an administrative law judge.

Here are three ways you can reduce the amount of time it takes for your appeal to process and you to receive the benefits to which you are entitled:

Avoid Having to File an Appeal in the First Place

It takes far less time to process and approve a claim than to appeal the denial of a claim. Do what you can to make your initial claim as thorough and well-documented as possible so as to have the greatest chance of success with your initial filing.

Choose Other Appeals Options Besides Board Hearings

Requesting the Board of Veterans Appeals to review your case is the appellate option that takes the longest amount of time. Working with your attorney, decide if perhaps filing a supplemental claim would achieve the same result you hope to get through a Board hearing.

Work with an Experienced Attorney to Navigate the Process

The appeals process cannot start until you submit the necessary paperwork, and paperwork that is incomplete cannot be submitted. Working with a veterans law attorney from Valor Firm can help you locate and complete the necessary forms to appeal a denial of benefits and get your appeal started swiftly.

Contact Valor Firm at (504) 218-2510, or visit us online, to obtain our assistance with your case.

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Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is committed to helping you rebuild your life after a hardship. We are not just your legal team—we are your allies, your partners, and your advocates. We will do everything we can to handle your case with compassion and care, and to get you the results you need!

“And for every fight we take on, know this…we are doing everything we can to make sure we win!”

— Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

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About the Author

Adam Werner is a partner and practicing attorney at WHG. He specializes in personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims, and veteran disability benefits. He routinely writes about personal injury and workers comp topics for the Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia blog

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