VA rolling out modernized appeals process for veterans
Cheryl Mason, chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, discusses updating how veterans can apply for appeals across the agency, and why the new version includes multiple “lanes.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs is overhauling how veterans can appeal the agency’s benefits decisions. The Board of Veterans Appeals is putting new claims into a different process. Cheryl Mason, chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, hopes the new appeal system will shorten wait times for responses.
“There is a series of wait times that the veterans have to go through, and a series of checks or gates they have to go through. Right now, If you stay through the claim agencies, the process takes about three years. If you go to the board and appeal it averages 7 years. It is too long, it’s complex and we are losing veterans while they are waiting… They don’t have a way out.”
Mason said that the new system has multiple “lanes” for veterans to file their appeals through, including an option that takes them straight to the board.
“Now they can come directly to the board and file a notice of disagreement… There’s three dockets. The direct docket, which we are trying to do in an average of 365 days, no additional evidence will be submitted and there will be no hearing,” Mason told Government Matters. “If this is not the option for them, because this is about their choice, they can choose the evidence lane. That allows them to submit additional evidence and that will be considered by the judge. Or they can still choose the hearing lane. We have many veterans waiting for hearings now.”