In February 2019 the VA officially switched to the Appeals Modernization Act (AMA). The act first passed in August 2017. So if you receive a decision after February 2019 you will automatically be placed into the new appeals process. The new appeals process is completely different from the old appeals process and has totally new and unique options for you to appeal your unfavorable VA decision.
There are three new lanes to have your disagreement reviewed: as a supplemental claim, a higher-level review, or by appealing directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
You can submit or identify new and relevant evidence to support your claim. VA will provide assistance in developing the evidence. The supplemental review officer will then consider the new evidence submitted along with all of the previously submitted evidence and make a new decision on your case. A supplemental appeal on average takes 125 days.
A higher-level review option is the best choice of appeal when there was a clear and unmistakable error on the initial decision. On average decisionon this appeal will be made in 125 days. New review of your claim by a different and more experienced claims adjudicator. You are not allowed to submit any new additional evidence. It can be decided by you or your representative to request an optional, one-time, informal telephone conference with the higher- level reviewer to identify specific errors in the case. This may affect the decision time.
Board of Veterans Appeals
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.A Veterans Law Judge will be making the decision. Up to 1 year for a decision.
- Evidence submission: You have new evidence, but do not want a hearing.You can request 90 days to submit new evidence and then have the Board of Veterans Appeals make a determination on your claim. Up to 1 year for a decision.
- Hearing: You have new evidence and want to testify before a Veterans Law Judge. After your hearing you can request 90 days to submit additional evidence before a decision is made on the claim.
Although the new AMA system is supposed to be quicker and more transparent the process is still long and confusing. Please let the attorneys at Karl Kazmierczak, LLC, help you navigate through your VA claim and prevent unnecessary delays. Our knowledgeable staff can assist you in choosing the best appeals option for your claim. If you have any questions regarding any step in the disability process, including appeals, you can always call out office and get a free consultation.