Paralyzed Veterans of America recently issued a statement praising a new law that provides options for veterans to appeal disability rating decisions made by the Veterans Benefits Administration.
The new legislation, called the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, was signed into law by President Donald J. Trump on Aug. 23.
“The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Law represents a major step toward ensuring justice for the veterans, dependents and survivors who believe in their entitlement to a denied benefit,” Sherman Gillums Jr., executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), said in the statement. “These people aren’t asking for a handout; they simply want fairness and timely review when they file appeals.”
According to a press release from the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), the law creates a new process of appeals that includes three options for veterans who are dissatisfied with the initial claims rating decision. The new law states they can either seek a higher-level review by a regional office, based on the same evidence they presented to the original claims processors; file a supplemental claim, including additional evidence, with a regional office; or request an expedited decision directly from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
“Paralyzed Veterans of America fights on behalf of the most catastrophically disabled veterans with the most complex claims in the system,” Gillums said in the PVA statement. “Our unrivaled expertise is often challenged by a labyrinthine, protracted review process where a growing backlog, coupled with inconsistent and arbitrary decisions, hurt those who rate the benefits they’re pursuing. For those appellants who choose to file without an accredited representative, it’s nearly impossible to get a fair decision. We commend the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for hearing our concerns and working with us to preserve due process and develop new and improved standards.”