VA Resolves Majority of Legacy Appeals

Law Firm Newswire



Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 19, 2020 – The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it had reached a significant milestone in its Legacy Appeals Resolution Plan (LARP). The LARP addressed appeals that the VA received before implementing the Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 (AMA). In early 2019, VA instituted a new claims process under the AMA. The process provided veterans with multiple avenues to address their appeals. However, issues arose because VA had a backlog of claims that they received before the implementation of AMA.

VA provided Veterans with the ability to opt into the AMA process. However, the process is complicated, and many Veterans were unclear about how the change would impact their claims. Veterans advocates specifically noted concerns with appealing a decision in the legacy process as opposed to appealing a decision with AMA. The Legacy process allowed veterans to specifically choose what they wanted to appeal, such as the decision or the low service connection rating. Whereas, the AMA provides Veterans with one of three options; the supplemental claim lane, higher-level review or Board of Veterans Appeals.

LARP provided VA with a strategic plan to modernize its IT systems, resolve pending appeals and provide Veterans with the benefits they deserve. Their initial goal was to address all legacy appeals by the end of 2022. The VA continues to meet its target goals, and it has resolved the majority of non-remand cases ahead of its goal. Before implementing the AMA, there were over 400,000 legacy appeals; however, there has been a 50 percent reduction in pending appeals.

Further, VA announced that the VBA’s Management Office changed its name to the Office of Administrative Review (OAR). OAR’s goal is to reduce the pending legacy remand claims, administer the higher-level review program, and oversee Decision Review Operations Centers. VA asserts that they are on the path to meet the goals of their LARP.

Despite VA’s new system, Veterans continue to face difficulties navigating the complicated system to obtaining benefits. Tampa Bay Veterans disability benefits attorney, David W. Magann, advises Veterans that attorney representation during this process is critical to a quick and successful resolution of their claims. Attorney Magann reminds Veterans that VA requires Veterans to follow all procedural and substantive requirements, otherwise appeals are summarily dismissed without review.

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