New Claims Appeal Process

VA Benefits Bulletin - 2/12/2019

The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 is effective February 19, 2019. Under the new law, any Veteran who receives an initial VA claim decision after February 2019 can choose from three, easy-to-understand review choices. All three choices provide Veterans with faster resolution of disagreements with VA decisions.

The new law will:

  • Modernize the current claims and appeals process
  • Include three review options for disagreements with decisions
  • Require improved notification of VA decisions
  • Provide earlier claim resolution
  • Ensure you receive the earliest effective date possible

 

What are the new options for review?

You have three options for review:

Option 1: Higher-level Review

Your claim is reviewed by a more senior claims adjudicator and involves:

  • A higher-level de novo review (new look) of the decision
    • No submission of new evidence allowed
  • The possibility of overturning the decision based on:
    • A difference of opinion
    • A clear and unmistakable error

The reviewer, who identifies or learns of a duty to assist error, can return the claim to the regional office for correction. You or your representative can request an informal phone call to identify specific issues.

Option 2: A Supplemental Claim Lane

You can submit or identify new and relevant evidence to support your claim. VA will provide assistance in developing the evidence.

Option 3: Appeal Lane for Appeals to the Board

This option allows you to appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. You can choose between three options:

  • Direct review: You have no new evidence and do not want a hearing.
  • Evidence submission: You have new evidence, but do not want a hearing.
  • Hearing: You have new evidence and want to testify before a Veterans Law Judge.