Four important things to know about Appeals Modernization


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The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (Appeals Modernization Act or AMA) improves the appeals process for Veterans and their families. AMA gives Veterans choice over how VA reviews their disagreement with a claim decision and ensures Veterans receive faster, clearer decisions.

Here are four important things Veterans need to know about AMA:

  1. AMA provides Veterans choice and control when they disagree with a VA claim decision.

Under AMA, Veterans can choose from one of three lanes to have their decision reviewed: (1) supplemental claim; (2) higher-level review; or (3) appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. If a Veteran chooses to appeal to the Board, he/she can choose from one of three dockets: (1) direct review; (2) evidence submission; or (3) hearing request.

  1. Veterans keep their effective date under the new appeals process.

Under AMA, Veterans keep their effective dates if they decide to appeal their original decision. The effective date is the date from which benefits begin accruing, which is often determined by the date of the initial filing of the claim.

For example, if a Veteran submits a claim for compensation on May 1, 2019, and receives a decision April 2020, the effective date for entitlement to benefits is May 1, 2019. If the Veteran is dissatisfied with his/her decision, he or she can file a supplemental claim, higher-level review, or Notice of Disagreement (NOD) within 1 year of the initial decision, and still keep the May 1 effective date.

  1. Veterans can check the status of their appeal with a VA appeals status tracker.

VA is committed to providing transparent information to Veterans on the status of their appeal. Veterans can use the appeals status tracker to:

  • View appeals status and next steps
  • Receive alerts for deadlines when action is required
  • Preview the next events in their appeals timeline

Veterans can access information on their appeal status by using the appeals status tracker located on VA.gov.

  1. Resources are available to inform Veterans about AMA

VA is committed to helping Veterans understand and navigate the appeals process. The following resources provide more information about AMA:


Elizabeth Murphy is a special advisor to the Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/

Comments

  1. Thomas Elliott    

    Its just a bunch of cheats VA, Navy, Congress, Senate, This President all play the same game. Don’t pay don’t pay even if you have proof they automatically turn everything down. even after granting pay DFAS messes everything up. DFAS is more powerful than CONGRESS they tell the congress to go to their website just for them and fill out the form. DFAS has had TDRL orders since March 2018. I’ve been eligible for retirement since Feb 2018, Yet DFAS has not paid me correctly yet after tons of phone calls writing email fax’s congress senate and the president. There’s no question its black and white but DFAS would rather lie and deceive than do the right thing and make the correction. The latest My VA appeal was to process the Grants from my appeal by June 2019, then July then Aug then Sept then all of a sudden I asked my lawyer they checked into it. OOPS it went to Aug 2020 then sept 2020 now past that. My TDRL still wrong they said there’s so many dates we are not sure and will be investigating> that’s what they do on and on and on till you die or QUIT! CHEATS ALL OF THEM! CHEATS my heart is broken I worked 21 years for my country to find out its infected with crap!

  2. Bill Bresnahan    

    First denied in 1993. Appealed decision, denied.
    Not enough information, board said deck logs dont show incident, I’m a bloody Engineer, try hecking Engineering logs. Filed again because I missed appeal deadline by 1 day. Flash forward to 2014, I have everything they have been asking for, have telemed appointment with shrink for PTSD.
    Interview took less than 15 min
    Dianosis sent to board, and of couse its denied, why, WRONG KIND OF PTSD. Yes I have PTSD, but its the wrong kind
    Appeal yet again, they want more proof. I get my files from my civilian drs
    Denied, I missed the cutoff of 60 days. Break out calendar, was in with 3 days to spare
    They said it was over 2 months, hey moron February only has 28 days.
    2 years laterI receice notice I’m eligable.for.ramp
    2 fays after that I get notification I have a date with Appeals judge
    Great right? Wrong
    See judge in July of 2018, he says he will remand it.
    Ok remands take 16-26 montha, My record finally got to the remand pile 31 Dec 18
    So my remand intead of being almost done has never been started
    So 2 more years, yeah the VA is wonderful
    They hope we die waiting for answers.

  3. Michael A. Trexler    

    I have been sending in an appeal for going on 6 years now and every time I do they send me another form to fill out. Why is that? I have also requested to speak to a board about the situation and it has fallen on deaf ears. There is no new information to send them. Ever time I get sent to the orthopedic doctor he asks me why I’m back. I say the doctor referred me, again. I guess the Brass doesn’t really care. I would love this explained.

    Mike Trexler

  4. John F Bjorge    

    What about a claim from 1993? I submitted a list of claims when I got out of the Navy and they were reviewed by the VA Seattle in November. All but one were denied, 0% disability and the one was 10%. Through the years I’ve resubmitted three more times and now my rating is at 50%. As of now I have 3 issues and my VA Provider told me we can only take care of them one at a time. I requested attention on my neck first and got an MRI right away through the Choice program. We moved on to the problem with my shoulders and very quickly got in to see an Orthopedic Doctor again through the Choice program. He took X-rays but needed an MRI. The request has been submitted for the third time and now we are in the waiting process. I was informed by TriWest that it took too long for the paperwork to get through the system so they were “unable to process”. This all took place during the change over to the new “MISSION ACT”. During this same time I tried to get a new pair of glasses and I have been told the request went to the VA in Seattle but was not sent on to the people to make the glasses. The system has dropped the ball on our care and mow we have to wait and suffer with our problems. I’m trying to be “PROACTIVE” with my problems but there have been some issues that it seem people are just covering up. I STILL HURT FROM ISSUES THAT ARE A RESULT OF MY TIME ON ACTIVE DUTY.

  5. Chad Childers    

    Well I think it’s all smoke and mirrors. I still have an appeal that right at 3 years. Been back and forth between th VA and Board.

  6. Kevin Lamar Carter    

    Been waiting on my appeal for migraines, its been a little over a year now, i was rated 0% even though i average 3 a month and been taking meds for it for 2 years, i should be rated 30%, va needs a COMPLETE overhaul, i see tears for illegals and they get free health care asap but us vets who proudly served gets the middle finger. Good job AMERICA.

  7. James Tobleck    

    Whats it going to take? all out war with the beauracrates of the VA? They only care about their bonuses, their plans, promotion. The Director of Battle Creek VA whoes in charge of 22 counties in Michigan outright lied to a room full of vets at a VFW including me. Ive written every one i can think of to so far mo avail. These people gave me blood poisoning a few months ago. I now have been diagnosed with a damaged heart. I fully intend to go out with my head held high getting retribution.

  8. James tyler    

    If I’m not mistaken Lise Brown, VA RAMP just began n February of this year.

  9. Lawrence Gamble    

    This is what the administrators at the VA does, they get low level personal make decisions as to whether you deserve any kind of legal help, any kind of medical help, and if you do need help you have to take time off work or stop working to go and get some service from them. They have all the information in the computers to tell you who you are and what you need. They give the brush off .

  10. Lawrence Gamble    

    I want them to upgrade my discharge because it has been over thirty years and according to the policy you have to be out of the service form fourteen years and twelve days in order to get your discharge upgrade from a dishonorable to an honorable. I got a General discharge and I think they don’t know how to deal with that type of discharge.

  11. Lawrence Gamble    

    The poor veterans is at the mercy of a bunch of doctors who, to me, rather treat the rich and not the ones who protect this country so they can keep there riches. I’m waiting on cataract surgery and it has been taking months for them to ok the surgery. They to help us get medical treatment through an easier and swift system. The system is clogged up because the doctors are calling the shots.

  12. Ross Allen    

    trunpinski is nothing but a total embarrassment to America and our Veterans!

  13. Jon turner    

    You are WRONG. They can and do adjust the effective date of your award. My effective date was in 2014. Upon award they changed my effective date to 12/17 costing me about 40 months of back pay. The date they used was the date of my C&P exam.

    1. David E Burleson    

      Good thing we have President Trump and not that idiot you posted.

  14. Randall Johnson July 19, 2019 at 6:40pm    

    I served in Vietnam from August 1965 till July 1966 when I went home and was discharged from the army. Three years ago I put in a claim with the VA for PTSD. I was interviewed at a VA hospital by a young women physiologist who was about 25 years old. She was not that interested in my military service, but my life since then. How can someone that is not in the military or never has been in the military relate to 70+ year old veterans who were in life and death struggles? Of course her job was to say NO to me. I appealed her decision. about a year or so later same deal, this time the women was older maybe 35. Of course they were just going through the motions, and their mind was made up before I walked through the door. I appealed her NO decision also. For years I have been being treated by my private psychiatrist with therapy and medication. He wrote a letter on my behalf when my case went before The Board of Veterans Appeals in Washington DC. It didnt mean a thing to them, and of course they rejected my appeal. Thats their job, not help us in any little way, but to say NO, go away. Thats their hope that we just die and go away. These people have no conscience and are a disgrace….

  15. Randall Johnson July 19, 2019 at 6:40pm    

    I served in Vietnam from August 1965 till July 1966 And ETS out of the army. Two years ago I put in a claim for PTSD. I was interviewed at the VA hospital by a women physiologist who was about 25 years old. She was not that interested in my military service, but my life since I left the army. How can anyone her age, who is not in the military, and was never in the military, relate in anyway to a 72 year old man who was in combat and experienced what we did there 50 + years ago. Of course her job is to say NO to you.I appealed her decision. A year later, same deal , this time I got and older women . I think she might have been 35, of course the out come was the same NO. I appealed her decision of course. Over these years I have been seeing my own private psychiatrist, he has been treating me for my PTSD with therapy and medication. He wrote a wonderful letter on my behalf, to the Board of Veterans Appeals in D.C. They could care less and rejected me again. These peoples mission is to insult us and say NO to us. They just want us to go away and die. They are a disgrace.

  16. Jerry Shoemaker    

    I see I am not alone. 27 January 2007 is my appeal dated. I think I am in a coma and dreaming the Date is 20 July 2019. It really is time to wake up.

  17. David Harris    

    4 years here & have seen a Doctor, but the Nurse is more interested in helping me out to get all the paper work together. Guess by the time I’m 65 I will qualify or die trying. So if your in a Federal Job like USPS & apply for disability, you can’t get disability from the military? Then there is SSN Disability, are you disqualified from receiving Disablity from SSN?

  18. James O. Bradford    

    People who are COMM,UNIST and working at the VA, should be fired and in prison for what they are
    Continuing during to the VETERANS. VETERANS NEED TO MARCH ON WASHINGTON AND LET THIS
    GOVERNMENT KNOW THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
    SEND ALL THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, INCLUDING CHILDREN BACK TO THEIR COUNTRIES. THEY HAVE NO
    RESPECT FOR OUR COUNTRY OR LAWS. THEY ARE THE CRIMINALS, NOT THE VETERANS.
    GIVE VETERANS THE MONIES THESE CRIMINALS ARE GETTING.
    THE VETERANS AFFAIRS IS CORRUPT.

  19. Ken Keske    

    Their needs too be a quality assurance team that randomly checks on accuracy and if the claim/ was handled appropriately. It seems like mistakes are what causes the biggest problem for the veteran. In my case, my appeal shows closed because I did not respond to the SOC, but I never received a copy and when calling about it the customer service people don’t see where an SOC was ever generated. I’ve been trying too get this corrected for the last 8 months but finding it very difficult too even get an answer. So I began an appeal on 10/17 and should have been decided on 11/18, is now taking 8 months longer with no end in sight, because somebody made a mistake, which the appeal never should have been necessary has again a mistake was made by not reading the last page of the C&P. Imagine how much time could be saved by just having a quality assurance team making random checks and identifying individuals who may need more training. Individuals need too be held accountable. The new appeal process does nothing too prevent what appears to be the biggest problem, human error. If I have too wait on my appeal because of a legitimate issue I’m ok with that, but if I’m waiting on an appeal because someone made an obvious mistake that’s infuriating and unacceptable.

  20. willie wilson    

    been at this 10 years and still fighting

  21. Don Crauswell    

    Can anyone tell me they actually got help from the VA in filing a claim? I have trying to get claims thru since 2007, all i ever get from the VA is form letters and legal jargon. Never got a call never and have had a claim remanded twice.
    secondly VA and its 12 associated illness’s for Agent Orange exposure is very out date, Just survey the VETS records that arte exposed and look at the cancers. Nope the VA is not working for the VET.

  22. erasmo sendejo de leon    

    six years and a heart surgery and still waiting, get in line only 98000 ahead, Ill be 75 years old by then, thanks uncle Sam.

  23. Calvin Winchell    

    One step forward three steps back… same garbage new name

  24. ROGER REINER    

    I agree — Vietnam Vets seem to get the shaft. Mine has also been going on for 47 years. They need to go to some kind of FIFO program (first in, first out) rather than current LIFO process. Now I have started over with what will probably be a CUE (clear and unmistakable error) but even that may require legal team to sort out, so more and more years.

  25. Harvey J. Crawford    

    The ’30 day Decision Ready Claim’ is such a joke!! To speed up the denial process they subcontracted to a brother-in-law group called QTC. Their whole process seems to be a quick hatchet job on your claim. If it is not blatantly obvious from your 50 year old service record (most of which is erroneous during the fog of war) you have a rubber stamp waiting >DENIED<. The only way to save any hope for your claim is called a 'NEXUS LETTER' from a reliable (civilian) medical source. Your testimony is supposed to be believed "in absence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary"; but good luck with that!!

  26. Arnold H Fuller    

    I learned last week that I have a total of 4 appeals that have not been answered. They date from 2016 clear back to 1996. How about those that made the appeals not get paid until all appeals are handled. With this incentive program, I bet it would not take long. Also, only those with Military disabilities need to be on the boards making these decisions.

  27. Vick K Smith    

    I received an oth discharge because the XO on my ship did not like me and he black balled me so i can’t get VA benefits i can’t even get my discharge upgraded. What can I do??

  28. George Wayne Robinson    

    Smoking guns. Trumps way of telling they owe him their vote. Bravo Sierra

    1. CHARLES S COLEMAN    

      Can you prove your remark or are you just blowing smoke?

    2. Ron Miller    

      Yea, or it could be that he really cares about veterans.

  29. Harry Kirk    

    I have done just about everything I know how to do by myself and very little help with my long standing disability but I fight on because to quit is to lose and I support my family just like I would hope my service to this country would support and defend me.

  30. Bruce E. Hatch    

    I’m a 100% s/c. P&T DAV. I was burned 76% including half way down my lungs. There is a treatment now that is 91% effective in treating C. O. P. D.
    It costs about $11k Why won’t the VA pay????

    1. Pamela Porter    

      Mr. Hatch:
      Thank you for your service to our great country. I’m sorry you’re ill & wish you good health (or as good as can be obtained under the circumstances).

      I’m interested in obtaining the name of the treatment you referenced for the COPD. Please email me directly or respond here.

      Again God’s blessing for your health!!
      Pamela, a Ranger’s wife

  31. PHILLIP D. MERCER    

    NOT ALL VETS HAVE THE SAME CLAIMS I FEEL LIKE THE VETS FROM VIETNAM FELT WHEN THEY STARTED HAVING PROBLEMS THE GOV. PAID 2.5 BILLION TO HIRE DOCTORS TO EVAL. AND DENIE CLAIMS THEN THE GOV. PAID ANOTHER 2.5 BILLION TO HELP VETS BUT IF YOU ARE NOT A VET FROM TODAY CONFLICTS YOU ARE NOT IMPORTANT IF THE DOCTORS WERE VETS THEY WOULD KNOW THAT WHEN OVERSEA OPPS. ARE ASSIGNED THEY DO NOT TELL ALL DETAILS OF THE OPPS. TO THE PUBLIC I HAVE BEEN FILING MY APPEALS FOR 5 YEARS AND I KNOW THERE ARE MORE VETS LIKE ME OUT THERE. AFTER MY APPEAL SET IN WASHINGTON FOR 12 MONTHS IT SET ON A JUDGES DESK FOR 3 MONTHS NOW IT IS AT THE BOTTOM OF A STACK OF 99000 APPEALS IS THAT WONDERFUL

  32. Reinaldo Pina    

    The system is broken for vets. I been trying to get my knees fix for over 19 years and it’s always the same thing. Let’s control your weight and blood pressure first. We can send millions of dollars to other countries but can’t take care of a Vet. Hopefully we will get someone in the VA who truly cares one day. My claims have been going on for ever. It’s a shame. I know they are over worked doing there best, but that’s not my fault I was injured. God Bless America

  33. Barbara Darby    

    Denie denie, then you die. I been back and forth with VA for three decades, still fighting, appeals back and forth, original claims back and forth. Know good guidance or answers from those representative. Just down right DEPRESSING. I pray it get resolved. My mother know longer here too know if it did. A NIGHTMARE.

  34. erasmo sendejo de leon    

    Six years and still waiting, so get in line, thanks uncle Sam !!!!!!!

  35. Michael Meisberger    

    EDITED: I have been awaiting a claim placed over ten years ago for a condition the VA doctors diagnosed me with. We have to remember, with every passing administration and every new Director, there is a massive shake-up of how things are going to be done. With each VA Director and Executive administration, regretfully, the VA practices, policy, and regulations get an over hall which stops the entire machine, sometimes for months. Just know that the Veterans Administration is just that, an administration that is subject to the winds that blow from Capital Hill. Resilience is the watchword, stand fast and be patient, just like you did in the service.

    1. Ronald L Peters    

      You are corret that their polices change and proceedures but they take their slow ass time doing anything. You say stand patient . Our Brothers and Sisters are not all able to stand. Many stood tall when their Country Called and now lay silenty horizontal before the VA helped them they did Fall.

  36. Michael O'Neill    

    Don’t expect tracking for appeals to Board of Veterans’ Appeals. My packet was received over 5 months ago (according to Fedex), but nothing shows when I go to VA.gov tracking; nothing. A phone call to the VA resulted in a verbal confirmation that the packet is at the board, but they haven’t even bothered to start the tracking process. How about simply showing that the action has been received? I would recommend that the VA use the resources spent on telling us how amazing the system is (like these emails) for actually making the system amazing; or, at least, responsive.

  37. Joseph Kuhlman    

    The appeals status tracker data does not give information specific to your claim instead answers are generic and essentially useless. Adding VA.gov did nothing to improve access to your personal appeals information access onther than making you los into two sites to not get any information.

  38. Anabelis Tirado    

    It’s unfair, my husband’s appeal is on the table since 2014, I had to find a representative to take the case because they did not look at the appeal. Right now. The appeal is on the table of an Appeals Judge evaluating since November 2018, and on the ebenefits page it indicates that a Court of Appeals takes 1 to 2 months to make a decision, and the case still has not taken any action at this point. decision when it is presented the evidence and arguments, is unfair and unsustainable. no program serves or RAMP.

  39. Aiyana Mojica    

    They sent me a letter in November 2018 stating that they received my request in August 2018 to moved my Appeal to the RAMP process. I talked to a VA representative on the phone and he informed me that nothing was done to my case since November 2018. The sent me the letter but did nothing. Now an status inquiry was put in. We’ll see where this goes. Total disappointment. VA has too many untrained people working for them.

    1. R A Arnett    

      I had to get an outside lawyer. It was worth it. I used Bender and Bender.

  40. KEN EARL JOHNSTON    

    Have been trying to get my disability for a number of years.

  41. Cornelius Thomas    

    I think it’s a bunch of bull .They get you in speed the process up true enough but deny you even if the proof is in plan writing .That’s how I was done and a couple of my friends that was waiting on the bva to make a decision .We lost all back pay and now it’s back at the normal stage to be viewed by a dro .So with that being said guys keep your regular process I had a 60percent rating and it caused a secondary condition and was proven but just because it wasn’t in my medical file I was denied .That’s why it’s called a secondary injury because it happen later on from the main injury but if that’s what you want to do take your chance but I wouldnt recommend to no

    1. Lawrence Gamble    

      You should feel lucky, I don’t get anything for my injures. I have a long scar and I have PTSD from a Grenade training exercise and the VA will not recognize the fact that I gotten hurt and hospitalize for my injures. I gets nothing for my service .I’ve been battling for my benefits for over thirty years and still no success. They won’t recognize me and they won’t talk to me about it and what I need. I can’t work and draw no benefits too.

  42. James R. Mahan    

    I am retired from VAHS SAN DIEGO CA. I am ashamed that I was affiliated with them. 2017 I retired VAHCS.IN March. I since move to Tucson. SAZVAHCS. I am now convinced that the Medical side of all of VA is Broken! Inadequate Staffing! From medical technicians, to nursing. And phycians! It’s embarrassing! I have left a couple complaints on President Trumps VA complaint line. Very quick response to them, but nothing is fast wher the Government is concerned. President Lincoln is turning over in hi grave! Very sad!!!

  43. Ignacio Mojica Jr.    

    A federal judge approved 3 of my appeals on mar.12, 2019 on issues I’ve been waiting for 49yrs. The board sent the order back down to regional ofc. in Waco for disbursement. Now they’re making me wait and wait some more. The old washington 2 step all over again..

    1. Barbara Medlin-Givens    

      I am sorry to hear this. I was offered a new knee in Basic Training and then would be sent home on a Medical Discharge. I didn’t join to go home! They told me I’d need a new knee by the time I was 40 and 40 years later I need it. I am probably a youngster, didn’t serve during War time like so many of you; however, I’m still a Veteran. I still stand true to the Oath I took. I defend and honor Veterans. Thank you for your service. God bless you and your family

  44. Thomas G. Estes    

    I was a 80% Vietnam (Agent Orange) Disability.
    Type2 Diabetes nerve Neuropathy. Diagnosed
    With 50% Disability. My rating now is 90%. My Hodgekin Lymphnoma is in remission. The way the
    VA calculates ratings is really confusing.

    1. Thomas G. Estes    

      I forgot the 50% was sleep apnea

    2. Curtis Wilson    

      The rule of thumb on calculating VA compensation is this: a whole person is considered 0% disabled, 100% whole. I have muliple disabling factors, the largest of which is 70%. This makes me 70% disabled, 30% whole. My next highest disablement is 30%. This percentage is deducted from my “whole” number: 30% of 30% = 9%. My ratings are 79% disabled, 21% whole. The next highest disability is also 30%. 30%of 21% = 6.3%, but fractions are not normally calculated in. So, 85% disclosed, 15% whole. And so forth, largest percentage rating to lowest.
      I have 200% disability in rated issues, but am 100% compensible with no permanent and total yet on my records. Took 32 years to get that.

  45. KEN EARL JOHNSTON    

    How do I file my claim with veterans appeal moderation act?

  46. William Wise    

    I agree, why the hassles? I can’t breathe worse plus there are more issues so why don’t I get the increase? All these “acts” prolong in hope of death of the veteran!

  47. Jorge L. Del valle    

    You are not alone mine has been 4.5 years and they keep asking for my dates of service and federal rule states that for pension benefits it applies but for claim dIssability you qualified if honorable discharged.Even if you were active duty for training and became injured the same week you joined you must qualified .

    1. Tony Acosta    

      Yes. The VA reps are not full trained therefore, our rules get convoluted because of the bad advise. I do not see a change in the competency of the VA. The VA does is tell congress something different than the true reality of it all.

      I recommend the we (Veterans) use our Congress person to report such untrue and incomprehensible assistance by the VA.

  48. Ted Simmerman    

    I’m 100% permanent and totally disabled Vietnam Veteran wh has been attempting to have my local VA dental Services to refer me to a local dental implant Center. This has been going on for 5+ years!! THEY do not even return my calls or faxes. The Vietnam War is the war everyone loves to hate. This includes the VAs Medical Center in Boise

  49. Lise Brown    

    Just another bad program. My RAMP has been going on for 3 years with no answer. They keep asking for the same information from the doctors over and over. My hearing in front of the appeals judge was more than 3 years ago, he sent it back to the original deciding entity, it went to RAMP in October 2016 and they apparently can’t get it done. I get no answers. This has been going on for 7 years now. The VA needs to get it together!

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