“Tired of waiting” is a phrase we often hear associated with appeals. But since the implementation of the Appeals Modernization Act, Veterans who disagree with VA’s decisions on their compensation claims have had a new and quicker way to receive a second look.

That benefit has now been extended to Veterans stuck in the legacy appeals process.

Dave McLenachan, director of VBA’s Appeals Management Office, unveiled the Decision Review Process last week in a VBA Facebook Live, noting that Veterans with appeals in the old process can—as soon as they receive a Statement of the Case (SOC) or Supplementary Statement of the Case (SSOC)—elect to transfer their appeals into the AMA process.

The opt-in notice will be included with SOCs and SSOCs, and must be returned to VA within 60 days.

The benefits of opting in are eye-popping: appeals in the legacy process average 3-7 years for a single decision; the current average for claims in the AMA is 36 days.

And lest you think the AMA “leads to quicker denials,” consider that since RAMP started, AMO has processed more than 75,000 claims and awarded more than $378 million in retroactive benefits.

That’s a lot of granting.

In the video, Mr. McLenachan also busts a few myths. My favorite is the “effective date protection”—your “backpay” date—which actually improves effective date provisions as long as a Veteran continually pursues the review of her claim.

That “continually pursues review” leads into the next busted myth: AMA is not a one-and-done; if the Veteran disagrees with the decision VA makes, she can move her claim into another lane, and there is no limit to how many times she can use the lanes, or in which order. None of the options go away!

That means a Veteran could potentially receive three or more decisions (if they continue to disagree) in AMA before ever receiving one in the legacy appeals process!

Want to learn more? Have questions about which of the AMA’s three lanes is right for you? Check out the video—and the Q&A at the end!

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Published on May. 29, 2019

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 893


  1. raymond fristrom June 24, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Did it post?

  2. raymond fristrom June 24, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Got 3 claims ok by the BVA 3 remanded and 5 denied. My question to you is the RO got the paperwork from BVA to do remand work #,but judge ok’d 3 and I got payment for only 1, the RO has not awarded the other 2. I understand it takes 7 months for the RO to complete remand. The other 2 the RO did not award % . 1 was Sleep ,the other was Ishemic heart. Why do they do this? The remand ed 3 were UI to 100%, Hep-C and increase for PTS. It’s now been 6 months and I cannot get any feed back to see what stage the RO is in to completing remand. Can you help w/this.

  3. Kenneth Worthy June 20, 2019 at 1:38 am

    VA and attorney’s are not your friend. VA look for every excuse to deny these claims. Attorney’s prey on veterans because they known that eventually the veteran is going to get granted his or her disability and it is just a waiting game until they get paid for doing nothing that the veteran could have done on their own. It doesn’t matter what track you decide to use, the outcome will be the same. I have been fighting with VA since 1999 about the injury. everytime I submitted a claim it is denied. Eventually they approve and increase my rating. I started out with 10% in 1999. As my injury worsen they would deny me and finally after years increase my rating by 10%. Too make a long story short. It has taken me almost twenty-years to get my rating up to 40%. You do the math, about 10% every five-years. So for twenty-years I have been fighting the VA for the same injury. Why is it that I have the same injury that I started back in 1999, not considered one claim? Everytime l get an increase it says almost the same thing just in different words. I have had lost claims, denied claims, service officers who sent paperwork in with no signatures or dates and said it was my fault. I had congressmen write letters on my behalf and the VA replied blaming me for the problem. I’ve had claims denied because my claim was sent out to other outside agencies who know nothing about my claim. I’ve waited on replies from VA for five or six-years to find out my claim has been closed due service officers not even submitting my claim and when I reopen the claim I hear nothing from the VA. I can go on and on about VA and the people who are suppose to be here assist you with your claim. No matter which track you use, the outcome will be the same. You either die a fast death or a slow death! The choice is yours. Again, VA and attorney’s are not your friends.

  4. Jerry Greelis June 16, 2019 at 9:24 am

    I wrote a comment, never got posted for some reason. I am 84-year-old USAF radar tech vet discharged 62 years ago.with Bilateral Hearing Loss claim, May 2011. My discharge exam shows a hearing problem, but within good hearing limits, however, 4-5 years later my hearing deteriorated and kept going down my entire adult life.

    The claim: RO requested a Nexus from the VA clinic; a total disaster! Doctor totally incompetent, did not even interview me and did not even submit a complete hearing test, but in capital letters, twice stating NOT IN MILITARY instead old-age. I had no idea what she wrote; thinking I just went for a hearing test. RO denied the claim. Appealed it and went to RO for a hearing May 2018 requested a 60-day delay to get another doctor’s Nexus. Provided it under 60-days but new information was hung up in the Intake system when the judge denied it again. Asked for a Reconsideration, got it April 2019, threw out the last denial and now sitting in a Remand state at the RO. The clam sits in conflict, the VA clinic incompetent Nexus and a private Doctor with a IEEE abstract stating Hearing Loss from radiation, and 51% chance it being military related and not old age. The RO is seeking now 4 Nexus, trying to resolve the conflict. Believe the doctor at the VA clinic lost her state certification and is no longer a registered doctor. My question, if a conflict exists doesn’t the veteran win? And should I jump into a different lane, I am being told because of my age I would get fast service???

    • Clovis JosephPitre June 19, 2019 at 6:21 pm

      All vets now get hiring aids and it does not have to be service injury related, I love mine no batteries, and blue tooth to phone and TV!!! go try yhrm

      • Jerry Greelis June 20, 2019 at 10:04 am

        Problem being hearing aide do not fix my hearing loss, can hear just not discern. Radiation destroyed the hearing hairs beyond the ear drum. Brain cancer patents under went radiation therapy duplicates my hearing disability; the total experience from leaving the military some 62 years ago til today. Glad to hear, sorry read, hearing aides worked for you, but definitely not for me. My disability is sensorineural hearing loss.

      • Jerry Greelis June 20, 2019 at 10:10 am

        I do have hearing aides, they do not fix my hearing disability. My problem is discernment, I watched the video with my hearing aides and got NOTHING from it. I could not understand what the guy was saying.

  5. Jerry Greelis June 16, 2019 at 7:09 am

    I wrote a comment, never got posted for some reason. I am 84-year-old USAF radar tech vet discharged 62 years ago.with Bilateral Hearing Loss claim, May 2011. My discharge exam shows a hearing problem, but within good hearing limits, however, 4-5 years later my hearing deteriorated and kept going down my entire adult life. Never contributed it to my military experience until reading how cancer patients receiving brain radiation therapy were experiencing the very same hearing phenomenon I experienced during my entire adult life. Researching this topic, many reports exists on how the military was well aware of the radiation hazards from radar, both non-ionization and ionization radiation; excellent U.S. Army report 5 years after I was discharged, many more Coast Guard, FAA, etc.
    The claim: RO requested a Nexus from the VA clinic; a total disaster! Doctor totally incompetent, did not even interview me and did not even submit a complete hearing test, but in capital letters, twice stating NOT IN MILITARY instead old-age. I had no idea what she wrote; thinking I just went for a hearing test. RO denied the claim. Appealed it and went to RO for a hearing May 2018 requested a 60-day delay to get another doctor’s Nexus. Provided it under 60-days but new information was hung up in the Intake system when the judge denied it again. Asked for a Reconsideration, got it April 2019, threw out the last denial and now sitting in a Remand state at the RO. The clam sits in conflict, the VA clinic incompetent Nexus and a private Doctor with a IEEE abstract stating Hearing Loss from radiation, and 51% chance it being military related and not old age. The RO is seeking now 4 Nexus, trying to resolve the conflict. Believe the doctor at the VA clinic lost her state certification and is no longer a registered doctor. My question, if a conflict exists doesn’t the veteran win? And should I jump into a different lane, I am being told because of my age I would get fast service???

  6. Thomas F Hilton, PhD June 15, 2019 at 11:17 am

    I was reactivated back in ’82 despite a MEPS NPQ decision (I still have the Xray and diagnosis) – BUMED ignored it because an earlier medboard decision (also not based on Xrays) found me qualified – of course, DOD ignored the Xray evidence of ankylosing spondylitis and put me back in uniform because they needed my expertise. They just waived all my fitness tests for the next 20 years.

    Last year, I appealed when my arthritis worsened, and sent along records from my board-certified rheumatologist. I was invited for a medical exam – but not by a radiologist; not by a rheumatologist; not even by an MD – just a nurse. When I challenged her credentials to examine me (in a calm but annoyed tone), she threatened to have security evict me. I let her examine me, and of course, my lumbo sacral strain diagnosis stuck. The medical evidence was never considered, nor were my Xrays examined or even requested. I felt like such a fish.

    I conclude from this experience that this fast process is indeed just a scam to provide the illusion of service denied.

  7. Frank Ruiz Jr June 14, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Filed USC 38 Article 1151 2004 finally in 2018 C&P exam in favor but sent back to remand.Knowing that 1151 is hard to win but May 30 2019 BVA grants error in 1151 case closed.Now at Regional Office for 20 days yet I am happy but C&P was in Veterans favor yet denied and BVA shockingly BVA goes back year 2004 when I filed 1151 due to Mesh infection and improperly being taken care by Tucson Arizona Veterans Hospital.

  8. Johnnie Martin June 13, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    For all of you vets that have spent years fighting the VA, on your claim/s-Why don’t you retain the services of a Veterans Attorney? I went through the same thing(Lost records/Never received records//unable to read and understand their own C&P examinations). This went on for close to 10 years. I finally retained a very good one. It still took two appeals to the Court of Veterans Appeals-but finally won my claims. I realize a 20% cut is bad to some. However, I would never have won my claims without my attorney…

  9. Jerry Scott June 13, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Good day and thanks soo very much for what you do for us vets. I have a question. I am an Iraqi war vet suffering with tbi and ptsd. My tbi rated at %100 and ptsd rated at %70. I have been dealing with my conditions since my discharge (2009). Anyway I just recently found out about smc T for those with tbi and also that it is a benefit that VA automatically grants if you meet the criteria which I do. I just recently got granted smc S for housebound and my attorney has my case on appeal for smc T benefits. I wish to know from your prospective if I am granted smc T, do my effective date start from my original effective date which was when I was discharged from service? Thanks for your assistance.

  10. Juance E. Wilson June 12, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Jason, you are right about the notices going forth I know in 2018; because I received one. But we were also being told {let me say I} that if anyone went into the new process; that they would not be able to return to a formal hearing status after opting in. Which brings me back to the question at hand: are we able to return to a formal hearing if need be after we select this new option; if we feel an unjust decision was rendered on our behalf?

    • Jason Davis June 13, 2019 at 7:33 am

      Juance, the formal BVA option is the third lane in the new AMA process. That lane has a goal of 365 days.

  11. Haze June 12, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    VA sent you a claim decision
    on May 16, 2014
    VA received your Notice of Disagreement
    on May 12, 2015
    VA sent you a Statement of the Case
    on July 11, 2016
    VA recieved your Form 9
    on August 18, 2016
    Your appeal was sent to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals
    on August 28, 2017
    You attended a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge
    on April 05, 2019

    6/12/2019 Called BVA 1 800 923 8387 bva inquiry
    Now waiting on email from BVA 5 day wait.

    • James Shaw June 27, 2019 at 8:08 pm

      Been fighting a claim since 2013 which was finally granted ( but remanded back to regional al for rating ) and was also awarded total unemployability at 100% . That was almost 3 months ago and still have not seen the increase in rating, increase in pay , or back pay award , have had even the Senator from my state who is head of the VA board and even he can’t get a answer out of regional. Just hang in there, they will eventually get around to catching us all up .

  12. Tony Torres June 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Have anyone out there try to call the Toll free number (800) 827-1000 and been told your wait time is 30 minutes or so. And you wait and wait and then a dis-connect and you call back and the same message. They have to be a better way…

  13. Mike Perez June 11, 2019 at 10:11 pm

    Thanks for the info Jason. There are a lot of harsh comments on this blog. We are all frustrated and pissed at the cards we have been dealt hand after hand, in many cases. Thank you for your patients. I am seriously considering, possibly loosing thousands of dollars in retroactive back pay, submitting a request to withdraw my claims and starting all over. If in fact the process is working the way upper management insist it is (I have not read or heard any positive comments from vets). Giving up the retro-pay, if the claim even get approved, is worth knowing that I won’t have long to wait.

  14. Filiberto Jimenez June 11, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    Since 2009 file Veteran Servicece connected Disabilities. The Claim is denied several time. Wonder why the Va has not givin the Benefit of the Doubt in this claim. Veterant is 73 years old with PTSD, Lag and Back pain with low memory. Wonder why this claim is not aproved.

    • Mike Perez June 13, 2019 at 12:41 am

      Hay Filiberto. If I may comment on your post. I have been working on my claims for so long I may be able to provide you a little guidence and insight. Based on your post, the veteran you are trying to help is in a bad situation. First and foremost questions; is he receiving health benefits from the V A ? If not, that would be the first thing to do. The health benefits are so much easier to deal with and much much faster to get. Not to mention bring him much relief. Provided he has all the proof of military service. There are also services to help homeless veterans.

      Compensation : it’s a long process and many time, even if you provide all the nesscessary documents; proof of service(DD214), medical records both military and civilian(pertaining to the disability you are claiming), doctors notes, nexus letters (connection to your service), buddy/spouse statements, sick call/injury slips . . . There is a good chance it will get denied. If he is missing any of those, it will get denied. If you submitted all of the above and got denied. All you can do is submit a notice of disagreement(NOD), if it’s within the 1 year time frame give to contest it. Provide a reasons why you disagree with new evidence if possible, and submit it to another lane in the system( as mentioned in the video above). You can also submit a letter to the BVA to give his claim a priority status based on his situation of being 73 yrs old and homeless (2 of 3 qualifying reasons I believe). It’s a trying process Fil. We are not one of the lucky one and just have to keep trying.

      Thank you for trying to help a brother in arms out. It is unfortunate that he is 1 of hundreds if not thousands in the same situation. I too tried to help a friend I came across. He got his rating but Unfortunately he passed shortly after.

      Good luck Filiberto. Hope this helped.

  15. Filiberto Jimenez June 11, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    2019 file for Service Connected Disabilities. The claim was denied several times. Jackson & MacNichol 238 Western Avenue South Portland, Main 04106. Attorney at law have send all the information needed for a positive approval. Don;t know why haven’t giving the benefits of the doubt. Wen we all sing to served our Country we all sing a blank check. The claim is a 73 years old with Back, leg pain with PTSD and low memory that is agravated by the time, also he is homeless living in and old car garage at his sister house. Hope the VA approve this needed benefits as soon it is possible.

  16. Todd Smith June 10, 2019 at 8:35 am

    I met with a veterans law judge March 15, 2019 at my regional office. Why am I still waiting for a decision? When I check va.gov it says:
    Your appeal is waiting to be sent to a judge

    Your appeal is at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, waiting to be sent to a Veterans Law Judge. Staff at the Board will make sure your case is complete, accurate, and ready to be decided by a judge.

    • Haze June 12, 2019 at 4:32 pm

      bva inquiry

  17. Major Joe June 9, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    VBA has a current target to reduce the legacy inventory to a steady state in FY 2020. VBA defines steady state as the elimination of all legacy inventory in the notice of disagreement (NOD) and substantive appeal (Form 9) ..

    So …your legacy appeal will only have about 16 months left at RO office. Then …,
    before or after FY 2020 all legacy appeals would be at the BVA

  18. William Moore June 9, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    After serving 22 years in the Navy, I applied for a disability rating for lower back pain. I had tis problem while on active duty but never was serious enough to see a doctor Now years later I have undergone two back surgeries at a civilian hospital and continue to have pain. My disability request has gone through the VA process and was refused thru the RAMP program. Do I qualify to apply thru this new program ?

  19. George Davis June 9, 2019 at 9:49 am

    It’s been 4 months with no letter from the VBA. What should I do?
    Disability Compensation Appeal Received January 16, 2017
    Status: The Veterans Benefits Administration granted your appeal
    Issue on appeal: 100% rating for individual unemployability
    See past events
    February 12, 2016 – February 08, 2019
    Current Status
    The Veterans Benefits Administration granted your appeal
    The Veterans Benefits Administration agreed with you and decided to overturn the original decision. If this decision changes your disability rating or eligibility for VA benefits, you should see this change made in 1 to 2 months.
    This appeal is now closed

  20. George Davis June 9, 2019 at 9:45 am

    When I logon to va.gov, it shows that my appeal was granted. When I call the 800 number they tell me there is no record of it being granted. I drove to the RO and spoke with a customer service rep and they say there is no record of it being granted.
    With all of this talk about transparency and how this new appeals and claims status tracking tool would provide that, how is it helpful if you cannot trust what it says?
    Who do I talk to if I want a straight answer about my appeal? This is what is listed on va.gov about my appeal:

    Appeal Received January 2017
    Up to date as of June 08, 2019, at 4:35 p.m. ET

    See past events
    February 12, 2016 – February 08, 2019

    Current Status
    The Veterans Benefits Administration granted your appeal.
    The Veterans Benefits Administration agreed with you and decided to overturn the original decision. If this decision changes your disability rating or eligibility for VA benefits, you should see this change made in 1 to 2 months.

    This appeal is now closed.

    Appeal Received January 2017
    Up to date as of June 08, 2019, at 4:35 p.m. ET

    100% rating for individual unemployability

  21. George Davis June 9, 2019 at 9:33 am

    How does it take for comments to show? I submitted one on June 6th and it has not posted.

  22. Alexander smith June 9, 2019 at 5:55 am

    The va is not for the people of the United states, risking your life to come home and have people tell you that there’s nothing wrong with you when you’ve been ducking and dodging bullets getting blown up and barely making it home, but o NO your ok there’s nothing wrong with you. Sleep apnea is another 1 how in the heck do I go into the army without sleep apnea but come out the army with it. Now I’m confused do the VA really jus say to HELL with vets or jus really not care? Its plain as day I got sleep apnea from my experiences at war but O NO IM A LIAR WHEN I SAY SOMETHING. Smh the VA is a joke and will always be a JOKE

  23. Alexander smith June 9, 2019 at 5:51 am

    The va is not for the people of the United states, risking your life to come home and have people tell you that there’s nothing wrong with you when you’ve been ducking and dodging bullets getting blown up and barely making it home, but o NO your ok there’s nothing wrong with you. Sleep apnea is another 1 how in the heck do I go into the army without sleep apnea but come out the army with it. Now I’m confused do the VA really jus say to HELL with vets or jus really not care? Its plain as day I got sleep apnea from my experiences at war but O NO IM A LIAR WHEN I SAY SOMETHING. Smh the VA is a joke and will always be a JOKE

  24. Mike Perez June 8, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    I submitted a statement/question couple days ago but don’t see it. Sorry if I duplicate.

    I inquired with our local V A office regarding the RAMP. I was advised that they haven’t seen or heard of any improvements to the process and because I was getting close to my claim being decided, they indirectly advise to stay where I’m at. Apparently a mistake. So if I understand correctly, I am stuck until I receive a SOC or a SSOC.

    Can I ,knowing that I will lose my effective date of years ago, withdraw my claim and start over ? It would be better to get a decision sooner than later and know where I stand, then to wait a few more years only to be denied again.

    • Jason Davis June 10, 2019 at 8:10 am

      Mike, the legacy appeals process is averaging 3-7 years. RAMP, and now AMA, have only been open to all Vets for 16 months. So, that RAMP averaged 136 days and now AMA is averaging 46 days–compared to YEARS–it’s already a success.

      Yes, if you are in the legacy process, you remain there until you receive an SOC/SSOC and opt into AMA.

      We can’t recommend what route you take, but technically, yes, you can withdraw an appeal and begin a new claim.

      • Mike Perez June 12, 2019 at 7:23 pm

        I also submitted a question which I do not see in your blog.

        My status tracking on ebenefits has displayed “Status unknown” for almost a year now. What’s up with that ?

      • Mike Perez June 12, 2019 at 7:45 pm




  25. Lynne Hojnacke June 8, 2019 at 10:23 am

    In other words it’s all laid out in a leaflet but does it work Ask the veterans how well this has helped them Ask the veterans that have been denied for similar complaints WHY they did not receive a rating In Management everything can look good on paper This is what gets them their bonuses but really does not do justice for veterans who are suffering, who can’t work, those that live with constant pain, What about veterans who have to lose their houses, cars and other property to hit rock bottom only to still be denied I wish for some of these folks that the issues which plague service members affected those in upper management in congress, and the house ,state governors state political personnel who put their opinions into decisions with biased information from years past

  26. Mike Perez June 8, 2019 at 1:21 am

    Hey Jason, thanks for the response. So for all of us who have been waiting years in the Legacy system. What should we expect if we didn’t take advantage of the RAMP, I WAS ADVISED NOT TO BECAUSE I WAS CLOSE TO A DECISION, I’m still waiting , ? Are we stuck till we get a decision and then and only then can we will be able to opt into the new system ? Can we withdraw our claim and start over again ? We may lose all the back pay if our claim is approved in the fast track system ,but at least some of us will get some much needed financial assistance in our old age.

    Thanks for your patients. There are some heated words flying around in your blog. I’m sure you can understand the overwhelming frustration.

  27. Thomas Simpson June 7, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    I received a written supplemental notice today in the mail from the BVA that pertains to the status of my 7 year old case.
    The most recent VA status report informed me that there are 113,500 other cases in front of mine. Translation: I have another two years wait.

    Already I am into my 7th year of appeals. After being denied in 2014 and again in 2017, I appealed for the third time last January. I now await a decision by the board. But like I stated, it means another two years waiting for my case to be heard.

    Subsequent to my last appeal, I submitted new and substantial medical evidence in August. According to my Neurologist, results from extensive blood tests indicate that my neuropathy was most likely caused by exposure to herbicides while serving in Vietnam. Neuropathy that has spread to both feet and hands. I also suffer from migraine variant attacks which mimic stroke symptoms. My body is wracked with degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis. Two autoimmune conditions that have resulted in two major back surgeries and a total hip replacement.
    My question: Would transferring my legacy appeal under the AMA guidelines make a substantial difference in wait time without jeopardizing validity of my case? I’m sorry to have to put it that way, but my trust in the VA to do the right thing has worn extremely thin.

  28. Ruppert Glenn Baird June 7, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    My question is this:

    Just why is there an appeals process in the first place.

    Why does the VA seem to assume that all these GIs’ injuries are some sort of scam? Why are the very people that the VA is SUPPOSED to be caring for treated as though we are criminals, scammers and liars?

    For nearly 15 years I have been attempting to have verified by the VA a back injury I incurred during deployment for Operation Southern Watch. I was unaware of the necessity of applying for 5 years until a VA rep told me after a later deployment. .

    It makes me sick to realize any citizen can get treatment through Medicaid or Medicare without question, but the very people who have EARNED care through their service are treated like liars and cheats.

    It’s disgusting and vulgar.

  29. chris jacob June 7, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    If you lose your claim date, you also lose your back pay for that time period.
    As far as I am aware of the law, you lose your claim date when you withdraw your appeals.
    And you have to withdraw your appeals to Opt in.

    Where is the written law stating that you keep your effective date if you choose to opt in even after withdrawing your appealed issues to opt in?

    Right on the supplemental claim form 20-0995 in box 13 to Opt In, you have to withdraw (…) “all eligible appeal issues” (…).

    “Please note that by checking the “OPT-IN from SOC/SSOC” box in item 13 you are acknowledging the following: I elect to participate in the modernized review system. I am withdrawing all eligible appeal issues listed on this form in their entirety, and any associated hearing requests, from the legacy appeals system to seek review of those issues in VA’s modernized review system. I understand that I cannot return to the legacy appeals process for the issue(s) withdrawn.”

    Here is a riddle.
    My BVA appeal was decided on Aug 29, 2018.
    It went through the legacy system.
    The Summary of the case for the award was sent by the appeals management center on April 29, 2019.
    I wasn’t in RAMP.
    What system am I in to appeal those decisions?
    What system am I in with the one remanded condition?

    The summary of the case letter, my VSO, the VARO public contact office, and the Va benefits 1-800-827-1000.
    are all saying I am in the new system if I appeal, but the BVA decision was on Aug 29, 2018 while I was in the legacy system so it would seem that if I appeal under the new system I lose my effective claim date because I would have to opt in. Either I am missing something in the law here, or what is going on here is not right.

    How does a person file an appeal when they can’t even find out clearly what process to us or what process they are in?

    Also, none of them can tell me at what stage of a proceeding my award is at. A Summary of the case letter dated April 29, 2019 correction to the summary of the case letter says that the veteran is entitled to the full award amount, and we are not taking step to withhold any attorney fees. Then they released the award but withheld an agents fees that he wasn’t entitled to.

    The summary of the case letter says I have a year to appeal the decision. They are not telling me if this is a contested claim or not, or what the process is to resolve a contested claim.
    If it is a contested claim, there is only 60 days to appeal it, an it can only be appealed to the BVA. But they are not telling me this, and no one seems to know. Not my VSO, not the VARO public contact office, or the Va benefits 1-800-827-1000, or VA.gov, or ebenifits can tell me this.

    Again, how can a person appeal if they cant even find out what system or process to use, or what process they are in?
    Even supervisors at the public contact office cant figure it out. And they are trying to email with the people at the appeals management center but are not getting any clarity.

    There is a process taking place that I am not being properly informed about, and the VA actions being taken don’t match what is written in the paperwork, and there is no way to communicate.

    There does not seem to be a way to communicate with the Appeals Resource Center that I am aware of, and as far as I know they don’t have to respond or give accurate information even if you did figure out how to contact them.

  30. Robert Bohn June 7, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    Director McLenachan, VBA’s Appeals Management Office,

    I suggest you put some of your own blood into the VBA Appeals process. Make a claim for yourself or an AKA name as a QC process. I bet you will not receive an adequate answer within the time of your holding that position!

    If you’re open to suggestions, privatize the BVA with .gov oversight. Drop all those worthless .gov employees and let the open market compete for the better product. Please keep in mind, we’ve already paid our price for your services that take years to be resolved or denied again and again. :(

  31. Michael G Wilson June 7, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Jason, I really appreciate the way you try to answer all the questions on here.
    I have Agent Orange related Parkinson’s with a total rating of 70% for all the various symptoms plus tinnitus. Since I filed my claim back in December 2018 my insomnia/sleep disorder that I received a 30% rating has gotten much worse to the point that I am only getting 2 to 3 hours sleep a night. I have also developed sleep apnea and am going in for a sleep test at the end of this month. I may be asking this in the wrong place so forgive me if that is the case. I am curious if they find that I need a CPAP if the 50% will be combined with the insomnia or will it be considered a separate symptom?

    Thanks so much

  32. gregory a reuscher June 7, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    I still believe the VA has no intention of being upfront with veterans. they have lied to and deceived me on many occasions. I first filed for health care around 2010 and was continually advised I made too much money. not until 2013, did a friend send me a notice that agent orange had been used along and inside the DMZ in Korea. finally they manned up and allowed access to health care. as I researched this, I found the VA was aware of this as far back as the early 1990’s. how many veterans has died after being deceived by the VA. still to this day, we have never been notified of the possible exposure. shame on you. it’s been fifty years and you still try to cover it up. even after proving exposure, claims are still routinely being denied. In my case. I was contacted by the VA by phone and through the conversation, I was advised that I was exactly what was intended for unemployability claim. they even went so far as to file the claim for unemployability and increases in the peripheral neuropathy in arms and legs for me. after wanting several months and having decision dates moved back and forth, I received a flat denial never having a C&P or an opportunity to explain my circumstance. I truly believe they do a wholesale denial just to clear their books so they look as though they are doing their jobs. also please quit saying ” thanks for your service” it’s so disingenuous and patronizing. i’m sure I will receive no response to this post but hopefully someone will read it and not be fooled by your rhetoric..

  33. Chris Garrison June 7, 2019 at 9:24 am

    I’m in the same position as Sharon. Have a claim I submitted 7 years ago for secondary illness, denied, appealed, primary rating was changed and showed secondary, second appeal denied, third appeal I asked o go before the judge. Judge looked at it and remanded it back to the VA. Now I have 14 to 29 months before I have a C&P for it.
    I asked my state rep about the RAMP program and was told I WOULD lose any back pay from the original claim if I changed over.
    Sorry, I worked for the VA for six years and don’t trust what they say. Show it to me in writing.

    • Jason Davis June 7, 2019 at 9:46 am

      Hi Chris, your rep gave you false or misleading information. We’ve awarded $375 million to tens of thousands in retroactive payments in RAMP/AMA since late 2017. This “don’t get backpay myth” is busted by the Director of the Appeals Management Office in the video above.

      • Mike Perez June 13, 2019 at 1:04 am

        I must say Jason there is a major lack of communication regarding the new system. I corrected a V A representative (just yesterday) regarding losing time if you move to the improved system. He was sure I would lose it if I transferred. Hope he took the time to clairify.

    • Rickie Oneal June 7, 2019 at 7:56 pm

      Like Chris and Sharon, I appealed a decision in May of 2011. Went before a VA judge the September of 2017, who remanded it back to the VA. My case is now sitting dormant in RFD status since 1st of May 2018. My name is Rickie O’Neal, and I’d like to know what I can do to speed this process up, and a decision be rendered immediately if not sooner?

  34. Brian Madigan June 7, 2019 at 8:36 am

    I recently has a decision made in my favor (returning my daughter to “dependent” status after graduating high school and starting college), but despite providing documentation showing the effective date of her being added back onto my award, they messed it up and started the award a year late (they didn’t read past the first page of the documentation I provided). So, their mistake, and I’M the one who has to go through this kabuki dance of submitting an appeal to get it right. Hate to say it, but it’s typical. Now I check on the website and it say it could take 10-24 MONTHS to correct their administrative mistake and get me the compensation I’m due. Amazing.

    Now they’re touting this new, streamlined process, which takes what to utilize? MORE paperwork. Jeezus. Why the heck not just have an online application that people can use to utilize the program? What is the deal with the paperwork and the snail mail? Hello? 21st century calling. Anyone there?

    And why do we even have to “opt-in” to use what the VA is selling as a better option? Wouldn’t it have been better for veterans to be automatically “opted-in”, instead of having to ask to use this better option? Apparently, not a lot of thought went into this – either that, or they wanted to make it as user-unfriendly as possible, while appearing to be trying to do a good thing.

  35. Mike Perez June 7, 2019 at 2:19 am

    Ok, so u talk about things being broken, claims taking for ever, claims going back and forth and so on and so on with the legacy process. If it’s clearly not working. Why not just transfer claim to the new system. Claimant on the top of the legacy list have priority. If it’s in the best interest of the veteran, Just transfer us. Let us know this is how it’s going to be now. You are number . . . . And that’s it. If we wish to take another route, then so be it.

    Apparently that is not happening, so how do I get out of the legacy system and on the the “fast track” system ?

    • Jason Davis June 7, 2019 at 9:42 am

      Hi Mike, in November 2017, we sent invitations for RAMP to the 5000 Vets with the very oldest appeals. In December 2017, we extended to a larger number of the next oldest appeals. These invitations continued through March 2018. In April 2018, we opened RAMP to everyone with a pending appeal. RAMP was a temporary sneak peek at the AMA, and it closed in February 2019 when AMA opened. So, yes, every single one of the oldest appeals in the system had a personal invitation and priority to opt into the new system. :)

      The simple answer is that we cannot force Vets from the old pile into the new pile. The video above explains how, once you receive an SOC or SSOC, you will have 60 days to opt into AMA and out of the legacy process.

      • Will C. June 9, 2019 at 9:40 pm

        My RAMP case is still going on and it’s been over a year. My Ramp start date is May 21, 2018 and now they are saying that my completion date is May 19, 2021. How is this even possible?

    • Todd Smith June 10, 2019 at 8:11 am

      I saw a veterans law judge during a travel board hearing March 15, 2019 in regards to my appeal. Why am I still waiting for a decision?

  36. Peter M Claffey June 6, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    I have been working through San Joaquin Veterans Services since 2013. I was told the first pass would take 9 months and would be denied, which it was and and we submitted an appeal which I was told would take several years. Last year I went with RAMP and after 6 months I got a phone interview with someone who was definitely non-military. I was in the US Navy P3 Squadron VP 50 and orders read Sangley Point PI and such other places as necessary. After the phone interview I was again denied and again I appealed. Using the local office of my US House Representative I got my Squadrons History from the National Archives that stated that VP 50 was stationed in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. Now it took me two months to get these records.
    Where have the people who are reviewing my claim, and denying that I was in Vietnam been looking?
    I am appealing my claim using their own records
    This kinda proves the plan “deny,deny until they die”.

  37. Peter Van Dermark June 6, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Please explain to a Veteran who resides outside the States how do they reply under the 60 day rule when you send their mail via Sweden or Belgium or leave the Country code off of their address. That mail takes over 60 days from the date of the letter. I also have proof of letters being dated and mail not sent in a timely fashion and returned to the RO. In those cases something must be done including reissuing the letter when over a month has already pasted. Also why is my mail being sent via Other Countries.

  38. Jerry Pringle June 6, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    let’s see now, the mission statement of the administration was to render compensation for injuries, illnesses incurred during
    service in the military!! since that time the statement have been strained, sifted, twisted to not render the simple task of gratitude for serving in the military! this remind me of the BLUE BOOK incidents where they went around discouraging and changing the peoples mind of what they’ve witnessed or seen!! as I look at the attributes to WWII service men & women I think of my father he fought in Germany and in Korea was wounded in both had shrapnel in his belly till death, suffered PTSD, drank himself into the grave… was never compensated or recognized except given the Purple Heart double cluster!! I ended in his division 3ID in Germany and assigned to Headquarters Korea! he was a tank sergeant I was signal. if the medical record says that you had this symptom described by the doctor. why do he has to prove anything from that point. the administration should take the medical record screen it and determine what the veteran can or cannot claim! this time disbursement of years was to be cleared with the last three presidents. yet the admin just find ways to take avenues away from the veteran. can someone in charge do something!!!!!!!!!

  39. Felipe Padilla June 6, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    After thinking about it for months and waiting close to 7 years for a decision, I decided to use RAMP. My case was remand with a favorable decision from the board and still 3 years later no decision has been made at my local office. The decision took 6 months, if we count the waiting period before they knowledge receiving your file, and less than 90 days for a final decision.
    The RO who reviewed my file actually noticed and highlighted several points that I have explained several times at my local VA office in reference to previous claims without results but was unable to help me in those situations, but he did review my present claim carefully and agreed with the Board of Appeals decision. After that it was just waiting several months for DFAS and VA to process payment.
    I think that the RAMP program offers an alternative to us older retired soldiers that could even died waiting for a decision from our local VA office and seriously my mental health could not handle anymore of the excuses given to me.

  40. Joseph Meyers June 6, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    I have been in the legacy for 6 years they now say (VA) that I am on the docket for the hearing. I am 71 and the way this process is going i will probably not be around. I get so frustrated with all the stuff you have to come up with just to prove your case when it is all in plain site.

  41. Mike Perez June 6, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    My ebenefits tracker states “status unknown” for several months now. What does that mean ? What does

  42. Norman Stites June 6, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    I have been submitting documents, been treated at Tripler Army Medical facility, all the VA documents about my problems of cancer from Camp LeJeune drinking water and from Viet Nam. All of this was sent in when the first cancer was detected in 2007 from a life threatening blood clot in my mesentery vein . I submitted what I was told to be the claims form and told it would take years. But later, 2009 found out that what I had sent in was not what was needed for a claim. Between 2007 until current date and time, I have been operated on to remove cancer from my bladder, have currently blood clots behind my knees preventing me from walking well, a lot of pain, blood clots in my right lung, blood in urine, and other problems. My claim in 2017 was denied and I was told I had a year to appeal if there were any new or other changes to my health. It is unfortunate that our bodies and the diseases that we have received do not work on a daily time frame. in 2018 about 10 months after the denial I had severe pain behind my left knee, got to see my VA doctor, was scheduled to have the area x rayed, then scheduled to have it ultra sounded which the results of all showed a blood clot even though I had been therapeutic on Warfarin blood thinner for years. But these test took me past the 1 year and I was sent a letter that the claim was closed. So, I have resubmitted a claim and want my status to be from 2007 when the cancer was detected as a blood clot and the 2017 ruling to be overturned. What process would best suit my situation? Claim is under review currently with a 2020 estimated answer. And by the way, I was given a letter from my doctor in Oct 2018 that I was no longer employable, which took away the small amount of my customers I had left in my business. During the years from 2007 through 2018, my time I had to take off of work from the procedures done to me, the problems I was having, the pain and not able to perform my job caused me to loose a excellent customer base up to this date that I am now used all my savings, maxed out credit cards just to try and stay afloat, but now can not even work. So, correct path I need to take with the fastest results please. Thank You.

  43. Michael Lewis June 6, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    I would like to opt in the ramp decision board

  44. William waugh June 6, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    V.A. is waiting for everyone who has a legal claim to die. They don’t give a crap about the vet. The more money they save V.A.the more their bonus. I have been waiting 11 years and still have a open claim. They tell me when I call the 1800-827-1000 number that there is no time limit on appeals maybe president Trump could change the time limit

  45. Michael Presley June 6, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    As a Vietnam Veteran I have been a patient at the VA since 2002. I have filed claims and appeals since about 2003-04. I have found that every new and improved claim and appeal system that the VA institutes creates a new and faster way to denial. (remember the “Fast Track” system?) Although I have had claims go 5-8 years on appeal with an eventual ruling in my favor, I prefer to be patient than file under these newly created systems and be denied quicker. Although I am well aware that some day I won’t have 5-8 years to wait for an appeal runling, I prefer to stick to the traditional appeal process. So I say, be patient and eventually after 3,5,8 years you may get someone’s attention. My worry now is that the VA will someday convince themselves that these new dream systems are perfect and do away with the traditional appeal process.

    • Jason Davis June 7, 2019 at 9:13 am

      Hi Michael, the rating criteria hasn’t changed. All things being equal, you will receive the same decision in AMA than you would in legacy–just quicker.

      Something you wrote was interesting, though: “I have had claims go 5-8 years on appeal with an eventual ruling in my favor.” What many people don’t understand is that when VA denies a claim, it isn’t saying VA doesn’t believe you don’t have the thing you’re claiming, only that the presented evidence cannot grant a service connection. But as you found out, in time, with more and new evidence and understanding of the process, you were able to have the decision overturned, perhaps after several unfavorable decision points. In the AMA, the Supplemental Claim Lane brings all of that to the front end, allowing the Vet to work with VA toward a favorable outcome–in weeks, not years.

      As for the legacy process? It is now closed to new appeals. When those remaining are completed, it will go away.

  46. George Davis June 6, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Just let me say THANK YOU for you patience in assisting vets with what is a very difficult situation, emotionally and otherwise.

    In one of your posts you said that va.gov is the portal for getting a status of claims and appeals. Well, my status on va.gov is listed below and I have sent in an iris request, spoke with the 800-827-1000 call center and traveled to a RO and everyone of the tell me that the status on va.gov is a mistake because they see nothing that says that my appeal status changed from denied to granted. How do I find the true answer to this dilemma?

    Disability Compensation Appeal Received January 16, 2017
    Status: The Veterans Benefits Administration granted your appeal
    Issue on appeal: 100% rating for individual unemployability

    Appeal Received January 2017
    Up to date as of June 06, 2019, at 9:18 a.m. ET

    See past events
    February 12, 2016 – February 08, 2019
    Current Status

    The Veterans Benefits Administration granted your appeal

    The Veterans Benefits Administration agreed with you and decided to overturn the original decision. If this decision changes your disability rating or eligibility for VA benefits, you should see this change made in 1 to 2 months.

  47. kevin henson June 6, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    hello ron I have been in the ramp program since 2017 and have been in the appeals process since 2005. I was given 30 percent in 2014 but was denied on several medical facts from my military service which included severe burns and torn meniscus in my knee. I appealed in 2014 and was waiting when I received the opt in letter for RAMP. I opted in in 2017 and just recently my case was said to be in preparation for decision between june11 to june 29th of this year2019. I just went online and now they are saying my decision will not be made until january2020 to july 2020. What gives. Am I back in the legacy program? 126 days my alphabet!!!

  48. Jerome Washington June 6, 2019 at 4:09 pm

    Can someone give me advice on what to do. I filed a claim for Sleep Apnea. It was denied ; they stated non-Service related. I had it while in service, but was unaware. I didn’t have sleep study done until my doctor ordered it.

  49. Jerry Greelis June 6, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Wow this is neat, I applied for a bi-lateral hearing disability in May 2011 based on radar radiation affecting my hearing some 4 to 5 years after my discharge, at age 22. However, although a hearing impairment is shown on my discharge exam, my hearing was adequate to normal. I never connected this hearing loss to my military service until I started reading how cancer patients having radiation therapy experiencing the same hearing loss I have; not that I cannot hear, but instead cannot discern what I hear, called sensorineural loss. I have experienced this my whole adult life 4 to 5 years after the service, which this very same delay time happening with these cancer patients. Went to a VA clinic and the doctor reported my hearing loss was due to old age, and my claim denied. I was aware of her decision until I started to investigate the judge’s decision stating old age. Went to a real doctor and she not only denied the VA clinic, she provided a report proving her decision that radar radiation can cause hearing loss. Crazy, my appeal was denied again because of the same stupid reason, although the new medical information was stuck in a backlog of the VA’s Intake system. Did a Reconsideration, now they Vacated the appeal denial and I am in a Remand. My question being who is suppose to do this additional work the R.O. is now seeking? I have given them a strong proof; as a radar technician for 3.5 years it is almost certain I have been exposed to some radiation back in the mid-1950’s at least better than 51%. My discharge exam does shows a disability between my two ears. The Remand wants four Nexus: 1) more proof of the submitted report, 2) is the 4 to 5 year delay a valid occurrence, 3) could radiation provide the disparity between my two ears (as illustrated in discharge exam and still today), and finally 4) could this disability be service related. The unfortunate point in all of this, radar techs have lost their lives with this radiation hazard; I was super lucky to have just a hearing disability my whole adult life.

  50. Dr. Thomas G. Brunswick June 6, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    I am a 100% disabled, retired Army veteran. Additionally, I am the “Sole Supporter” for my Grand Daughter and my three (3) Great Grand Children. Their biological Father provides absolutely NO Support. The children, ages; 3,4,and 5, have resided with my wife and I since their birth. I applied to the VA for additional benefits with the assistance of an accredited DAV representative, yet on Jan 2019, my application was Denied with the explanation that even though my Grand Daughter and Great Grand Children are my “Blood Relative Descendants” , and Dependents, additional compensation could not be authorized because they are not legally “Adopted” by me.
    This decision seems ludicrous, yet may be legal.
    My question is; Do I have grounds for Appeal?

  51. Clayton Phipps June 6, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    The VA legacy and modern appeal process is crap I’m in year 8 of an appeal, I think they are waiting for me to die at this point. Been before the judge that was supposed to take 30 days for a reply 180 days later still waiting for a reply within 30 days, it’s going to get remanded because the VA broke their own exam and rating rules, which means more waiting for a new rating after I wait for a new exam. At this point they will owe me over 100k just for the retroactive backpay. I’d raise a stink with my senators but every time you do it resets you to the bottom according to many I have talked to within the VA and VSOs

  52. Tyra Nicole June 6, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    The RAMP program is a load of crap! They entice you into switching your claim over that’s been pending in the board of appeals for years so you can get a fast response, then wait 125 days only to tell you that you have been denied. It’s not just me I have spoken to several vets who are experienced this. They can easily say on blogs that they are processing claims faster but in reality they are denying claims faster and making it look like they’re are doing a great job by reducing the number of people waiting on a decision. It’s such a disservice to the people who served this country.

    In my case they actually stated on one line that they found the evidence of my claims located in my medical record with page numbers and all but on the next line state that my issues did not occur during my military service. It is such a contradiction and I cannot believe they are getting away with this. I do not encourage the RAMP program and will continue to speak out against it. It’s always the same with us vets..they just simply do not care. I will not give up and I’m building up a strong team that all have been duped by this false advertising.

    Before you ask what I included, please don’t insult me or anyone else on here. Medical records from then and now to show how things started and progressed were provided, statements from friends, co-workers, spouse. You name it, I included it. It was like they looked in my military medical record, picked out a couple of things and decided to compensate me but the rest they deny by saying it didn’t occur at all during my military service. Every single claim came out of my medical record which they acknowledged on decision page after the RAMP program tossed it out. I had numerous people to view their decision to show that I was not making this up. Truly unbelievable..

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Tyra, the RAMP program was extremely successful, and it and AMA have led to $375 million in retroactive benefits payments to Vets who had opted in. That’s a lot of granting.

      As for the difference between legacy and RAMP (and the new AMA), the rating criteria hasn’t changed. If you were denied in RAMP, you would have been denied in legacy–just several years slower. But the benefit of RAMP and AMA is that you can, after getting a decision, move it into a new lane for another decision. In fact, as long as you keep providing new evidence, you can keep it active in any of the three lanes after each decision.

      If you need assistance, we recommend speaking to your regional office’s Public Contact, or working with a certified VSO.

      • SP4 Vance Greiner June 6, 2019 at 7:28 pm

        Hello Jason:
        Vance Greiner 96B10 Intel Analyst, 8 Yrs Service 4 Active 4 Active Reserves 3 Honorable Discharges!
        Injured multiple times on Active Duty. Medical record prove it after a nightmare of years to get service records.
        4 injuries denied all as not service connected. Back and forth with VA since 2003. Finally 1 approved in 2013 at 10% all others denied again even with proof!(VA Records and treatment)! 2nd approved in 2018 10% all others denied as not service Connected you see the game they play with us vets. VA sent my SOC 3 Years after my NOD I joined Ramp Oct 2018, Jan 31st 2019 my appeal was closed in error (according to VA)and it has not been reactivated, inquired twice to VA no answer as to who closed it in error and why and my lawyer can’t get an answer either This occurred during RAMP phase out and AMA phase in .I as a Veteran am tired of this treatment as are many Veterans Something needs to be done now. Veterans don’t feel the love when they are told it did not happen in service you are denied The way they rate you say that statement sucks and is calling a Veteran who served a liar! Many of our brothers and sisters are taking their own lives everyday! This can not go Come on VA wake the hell up answer your Vets like they answered the call too serve!

    • Jerome Washington June 6, 2019 at 4:01 pm

      Been through some of this same drama. Records disappearing and paperwork sent to me which is dated 90 days from when I received it. I guess this was a way to give me less time to appeal. They would not have sent it had I not called and complained. These actions are intentional. My Father -in-Law is going through the same thing.

  53. Shannon Stay June 6, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    My husband suffered a severe lower leg injury leaving his leg paralyzed from the knee down. While STILL on active duty, he went through 11 surgeries at an Army hospital leaving him with a permanent prosthesis. Fast forward to him getting medically retired from the Army, he applies for retirement and disability which we start receiving. He starts using his GI bill to go to school. The VA comes and takes the disability away saying he didn’t do 20 years. THEN they say we owe them thousands of dollars for the college courses because he doesn’t qualify for the GI bill because his time in the hospital didn’t count toward active duty..though he was still active duty getting pay and having to take daily orders and such. He is only 40% covered even though the VA has diagnosed and acknowledged that he has no use of his leg, he has hearing aids and Apnea all service related. Just this month the VA took our pay away saying we have an “education debt” from 2017. We’ve tried everything and all we get is put on hold or never receive any news back. They VA says they over paid us $22,000 that they are taking every month. Now they say we owe them this “education debt” of $1500. When does it stop? How do we get the ratings and benefits we deserve?! How do we get compensation and then years later turned around and say WE now owe

  54. Michael June 6, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Hi Dave, How can the VA deny a claim then an appeal (using RAMP) when they pay for everything (docs, meds, specialists, etc.) due to “environmental exposure in the desert” (their words)?

  55. Rayna Gangi June 6, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Female Viet Nam era Marine. In perfect health at enlistment, but hospitalized 6montgs later with massive edema, nodules and pain. Diagnosed first as a “female” disease, then redacted and changed to a “skin condition.” Placed on 16 aspirin per day for deteriorating knees and pain. Visited VA at home after discharge and was told they didn’t treat females. I used alternative medicine for years so I could work i.e chiropractor, massage, reflexology. In 2009 the condition returned with the same symptoms, but now exacerbated from age. I fell alot both in service and after and x-rays showed fractures of the sacrum. I applied in 2010, was denied in 2011, appealed but they lost the appeal papers. Appealed again and denied. Appealed again but was told I was no longer in the system and had to start from scratch. Denied in 2012, appealed, denied in 2014. Began again with no records found, was denied and appealed again in 2016. Now waiting for American Legion to review? Unable to walk, stage 4 spondiolythesis with multiple related problems. Yes, I do believe the VA waits until we quit or die.

  56. RONALD RAY RIESS June 6, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    What video above? When I click it your picture is only enlarged.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 2:32 pm

      Ronald, at the very top is a picture of Dave taken from the video. Then there are a few paragraphs of blog text below that. Beneath the text is a video. There is a big white play button in the middle of the video’s picture. Click on it to watch the video. :)

  57. Elpidio M Osteria June 6, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    The appeal process is still a joke. My case started in August 9, 2009 and I continued to pursue it until it reached the Veterans Court of Appeals. On January 31, 2017 the Court remand my case back to the Veterans Board of Appeals for correction. Instead of doing the correction they requested another C&P examination. Prior to this, I already had 2 previous C&P examination which all confirmed my current disabilities. Eventually the San Diego Regional office issued a Supplemental Statement of My Case which only stress all their negative findings in their decision of October 12, 2012. There were no mentioned of the current findings of their 3rd C&P examination. The Veterans Board of Appeals even labeled my case as a case to be expedited on account of my age passed 75 years old. On top of this I also mentioned to them that I am already in severe financial distress and my medical condition is getting a lot worse which are two other grounds to expedite my case.. In spite of this there are no response on their part. In their Supplemental Statement of my Claim they stated that they will come up with a decision within 90 days that was of January 2019 and claim not unless it is complicated it will take more time. I do not see my case to be complicated for even a grade school student can point the error in the adjudication. The error was excessive use of disabilities to award SMC “L” and not following the provisions of title 38 in the processing of my claim. The court even pointed out the errors wherein the disturbance in Activity of Daily living where all present except for one which is eating for patient can still eat with the use of plastic utensils. This is sufficient ground to award SMC “L” without including the loss of function of both lower extremities. This is also stated in the provisions of Title 38 so there should be no argument about this. Another error is their refusal to award payment for SMC “K” for loss of function of both lower extremities which they awarded in October 12, 2012. They claimed it is double compensation however if they follow the provisions of Title 38 under U.S.C.1114 “K”, it states that this compensation is to be added to the overall compensation of the veteran and the only exclusion is if the overall payment exceeded the payment to SMC “L when added to basic disability and not to exceed payment under SMC “O” when added to other SMC. Since the addition of this payment will not make my over all compensation reach the payment under SMC “O” I see no reason as to why they are holding it. They insisted on a 3rd C&P examination and yet when they found out that my condition is worse than before they forget to mentioned any positive results from the C&P examination like Atrial Fibrillation, Status Post bilateral lower lobe pneumonia and status post severe Asthma Attack.The state of the Veterans Board of Appeals are run by personnel who seems not to know the provisions of Title 38 which should be their bible.I believe our President should start draining the swamp here at the Veterans Board of Appeals since they can not even correct simple errors in their adjudication.

  58. Robert l. Robinson June 6, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Hey folks listen to this , I had a local hearing at the regional office the judge told me to supply proof of location and the claim would be a FAVORABLE CLAIM so two weeks later I did just that. and the time of the hearing I was represented by the legion agent and I sent him the information ( the judge said that I had 30 days before she would close the file ) so I waited and in 45 days or so I received a denial letter because I didn’t supply the required information that was asked for, but wait I did sent that proof to my rep. so what going on , well MY REP,from the legion had left the service and my info went missing in action and I got dropped between the cracks and there was no way to fix it . My case would had been settled and I would not be telling this sad but familiar story and would you believe it that there is no one to hold accountable.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      Robert, I’m sorry to hear that. But keep in mind that an appeal is never closed and completed until 365 days pass after the decision. So, if that denial letter was within 365 days, you can keep the appeal alive by including that information. In fact, if that decision was an SOC or SSOC, you can opt into the new AMA process, too.

    • Robert l. Robinson June 6, 2019 at 3:18 pm

      WOW, with that comment you fit “right -in “the VA’s broken system.

    • Jerome Washington June 6, 2019 at 4:03 pm

      Once again they all are working together. The poor have always fought and sacrificed for the rich. To later be treated like dirt.

    • Jerome Washington June 6, 2019 at 4:06 pm

      I truly wonder how those who leave service, file a claim for headaches and receive $2500 per month.
      My Father-in-Law was in Vietnam, sprayed with Napom, and now has to many injuries to list in this blog, and has been denied for Many, Many, Many, Many years !!!!!

  59. Sharon Davis June 6, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    My husband’s has been waiting 7 years in the “legacy appeals process”. His case was remanded back to the RO. We checked on ebenefits and was told it could take up to 29 months from the date of the letter, September 2018 before his case is even reviewed. He is in 126000’s in the line for his appeal to be completed(we guess). Seeing the horror stories about switching his case to the new AMA is scary. At this point what should we do?

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      Sharon, I’m not aware of any AMA horror stories. The AMA has been active since February and it’s averaging 36 days. I read thousands of comments on social media each week, many just like yours. Seven years in the legacy process is unacceptable. That’s why it’s closed to new appeals, and why we have a modern process. We can’t actually tell you what to do, but we can say that you lose absolutely nothing by opting into the new process. Since none of the actual rating criteria has changed, you will get the same decision–just years sooner.

  60. paul feldman June 6, 2019 at 1:49 pm





    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Paul, thank you for your service!

      If you received a claim decision within the past 365 days, you can appeal that decision with the Notice of Disagreement included with the decision. If your claim decision is older than 365 days, it cannot be appealed. If this is the case, then you can file a new claim. With that claim, you can submit the Kaiser treatment records as evidence. However, you will need to include evidence from your military records of an event or injury or treatment. If you need assistance with gather records or assembling and submitting a claim, we recommend using a certified VSO–such as VFW, American Legion, DAV, etc.

  61. David R klear June 6, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    I’m a 72 year old vet Been getting these EMails on how great the new things are going to be. I have been fighting since VA since 2007. I was initially told I wasn’t qualified for benefits since I hadn’t used the system. Which no one ever told us Nam vets about. We only knew you went there to die.
    Fast forward, I was turned down in 2018 for a claim on my knees. After spending 4 years on carrier flight decks carrying 100 lbs of chains on my back, There was no medical examination even though my knees were documented as being bad on my enlistment record.

    Basically told i didn’t whine enough as there were no medical records of me seeking treatment. even though I explained in my claim that I was told by doctors not to have my knees operated on till the technology was good enough. To basically “tough it out as long as you can! (The reason why is well explained by the one of the comments above Donna Forsse who lost her knee) and to quote you
    “Hi James, the simple answer is that it’s in the Code of Federal Regulations. Any injury or medical condition incurred or aggravated by active military service can be claimed for compensation.”

    A few weeks later I get a call from some shell company Tri Cities or something contending they represented the VA and they would help me get new knees.. I made the appointment, saw the doctor, did all the pre- qualification to get it done and now I have set here for 10 months now waiting for final authorization
    Its my contention that the VA is split into two systems. If your in a metropolitan area you can get decent care. if you live out her in the sticks, with a 106 mile round trip, you dont get paid for despite submitting vouchers, and your old they basically ignore you. and despite the fact we have full medical facilitates only 9 miles from here but am told they dont “qualify” Yet i continue to pay for Part A&B SS so when I have a kidney stone I don’t have to wait ten months for treatment

    Never mind the fact that are “local rep” does little if anything to help, to really spend the time and fight for you and wade through the maize of paper work

  62. Melanie June 6, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Interesting- my LT knee disability compensation has been discontinued . All of my appeals have been denied. I have permanent knee damage from my time in the Navy and will need a total knee replacement, I’ve had multiple Acl reconstruction revisions .. I could go on and on.. I keep getting appeals denied and even better each time I call I am told that I did not submit requests for appeals , when I’m fact I have. I’m told that the va doesn’t have access to records of my most recent surgery in 2013 , which is ridiculous because the VA docs referred me to a civilian ortho doc AND paid for my surgery to be done . Now here’s the Best part , I am actually a Nurse Practitioner and work in Orthopedic trauma , I know when the attempts that are being made to dismiss the validity of my claim are frivolous.
    It’s a frustrating and grueling process. I truly do hope the system improves for our Veterans. I’m sorry for all of the trouble my fellow brothers and sisters have endured by trying to get the compensation they were promised for legitimate service connected medical diagnoses.
    Thank you all for your service .

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Melanie, sorry to hear about what’s going on. Since we can’t get into PII, I want to throw a few general questions out there to see if one or a few stick.

      -Have you updated your contact information in eBenefits or VA.gov? This is different than changing your contact info at your local VAMC, and it’s how VBA will know how to contact you (again, different than how VHA will contact you). Oftentimes, VA will send letters to Vets, and they won’t get returned or replied to.

      -Which leads me to, Are your SC conditions T&P? If not, does your original claim decision letter mention a “Routine Future Examination?” or RFE? Generally speaking, the body heals. Some medical conditions have built-in checkups, called RFEs. If VA believes that your condition has improved, or could have improved, then the RFE is the exam to find out. Again, this will be sent by mail from VBA, which is why I asked if your contact info is up to date in eBen/VA.gov.

      -Did your private provider sign and submit a release of information to VA, so that VA could have those private records?

      -What does your eBenefits historical claims and appeals tab show? Are those claims and appeals listed in there?

      -Lastly, do you have a pending claim or appeal for one of the claims you say has been closed? VA will merge or close new claims with medical conditions that are the same as those in a pending claim or appeal.

      • Kim C June 13, 2019 at 3:28 pm

        My husband has PTSD and Non Hodgkin Lymphoma twice now. We filed on both in 10/2008. We have been in appeals since 4/2017. HOw long before we get to a board hearing???? THis has been 10 years!!! My husband has not worked in those 10 years due to the PTSD and cancer. We have lost everything as well.

  63. Sergio Hernandez June 6, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    After my claim was denied, I submitted again thru DAV.
    That was a year ago, all my claim papers are all in order I went to Specialist that knows my condition, still VA Doctors denied it. After serving my 22 1/2 tears in the navy devoted my life to the military, and those VA Doctors that give decision never been in the military don’t know the hardship we encounter especially on the ship. All my entire life I dedicated to military and now just for these compensation that we deserved that they denied.

  64. Daniel J. Brown June 6, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    What if your claim is in “remand” status, still do not know what that means but could be another 18 to 24 months for a decision?
    Had my hearing with DAV and the judge, I filed in 2013, and already submitted a letter from a private physician that my agent orange exposure for my COPD and asthma was a result of exposure to Agent Orange.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 1:17 pm

      Hi Daniel, a remand usually means that BVA couldn’t overturn a lower decision, meaning they couldn’t grant, so they send it back to the RO for more work. Basically, back to the end of the line. Yes, this is one of the reasons why the new appeals process is so great–you’re not locked to one lane and a slow and endless loop. If you receive a SOC or SSOC, then you will be able to opt into the new process.

  65. Ruth Rinne June 6, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    My husband has been denied increase in his benefits following 3 heart stents after the original one. The original one was done 7 years ago. At that time he was awarded 30% disability for a presumptive diagnosis of CAD due to Agent Orange Exposure in Nam. He also has high blood pressure. Generally you do not have the CAD without the high blood pressure or the high blood pressure without the CAD. If these additional heart stents were not done he could of needed further surgery or it could have resulted in his death. Can you please explain to why he can not get an increase in his disability with the additional heart stents or the high blood pressure? After all he is receiving all his heart meds which include for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even his aspirin free from the VA.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 1:31 pm

      Hi Ruth, I’m editing my original comment due to addition information I just received:

      “Hypertension (HTN) is not one of the presumptive disabilities for herbicide exposure, however the Veteran could in fact file a new claim for the HTN. Normally, the evaluation of CAD is based on diagnostic testing (i.e. EKG, stress test, Echocardiogram, etc). If the Veteran disagrees with the evaluation assigned and the denial was mailed within the last year, he may file a request for review under the Higher Level lane, the Supplemental Claim lane, or an appeal” to BVA in the new AMA process.

      More info on filing, here: https://www.va.gov/disability/how-to-file-claim/

      Or, if he’d prefer, he can file through a certified VSO.

  66. Rodney Hill June 6, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    Well after my appeal dated August 2010, countless denials, and never quitting because my conditions continues to get worst, finally a partial grant for PTSD and Depression, with a remand for TDIU. My only questions is after 9 years of waiting, how much longer must I wait for a rating. I guess the new process has opened up a QUE management process, where rating decisions go into a que and can now be worked in different Regional Office’s. I guess living in Missouri, it is being worked in San Diego.
    Although the 800# gives a standard response, can anyone tell me how long it takes to get a rating decission? I have read a few Vet’s post, they say several weeks, some say 125 days. I guess I’d like to hear some good news for a change.

    • Rodney Hill June 6, 2019 at 12:34 pm

      Just to clarify, it has been a long battle, but now that I am close to the end. There is something good to say about the new process. I received a SOC which was a deny, I was able to submit new medical evidence and in less than 30 days I was granted. So with the help of a good attorney who navigated the appeals process and my calls on a weekly bases bugging the He– out of them we prevailed. (I know I had very little to do with it, just saying).
      Depression, PTSD, and chronic pain is no joking matter it has made me a unpleasant person mostly everyday. Keep up the faith and get some help with your claims. You can not do it on your own and I recommend a good attorney.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Rodney, we unveiled the National Work Queue in 2016. This automatically routes claims to the first available station. I’m not certain, but I don’t think this affects appeals.

      It’s impossible for me to know which process you are in. Claims average about 109 days. Appeals in the legacy process average 3-7 years. The new process is currently averaging 36 days–but our goal is 125 days.

      Your comment is indicative of what we’re seeing everyday–that the old process was laborious, complex, didn’t help Veterans, and that immediately, as soon as you stepped into the new process, you were able to work with VA for a timely and favorable result. While retaining an attorney’s resources is your legal right, it’s not necessary. Rather, it’s just one of the available resources, to include self filing, and using a free, trained, and certified VSO.

  67. Joseph Szafranski June 6, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Got a decision from AMC back in September 2018 granting two issues on legacy appeal with effective dates of October 2012. Those grants changed my overall rating from 70 to 80%. That should have generated a retropay but here we are in May 2019 with no payment. Will AMA move me any closer to payment issued?

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Joseph, your decision letter should note your effective dates and whether or not you are due retroactive benefit payments. If, in fact, you are due, I suggest calling us 800-827-1000, or submitting an IRIS message, here: https://iris.custhelp.va.gov/app/ask

  68. BJ John June 6, 2019 at 11:56 am

    I am currently in the Legacy program and recently filed for hardship. How long will it take to receive a my SOC or SSOC to opt into the new program.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 1:05 pm

      Hi BJ, an SOC and SSOC are considered decision points. If your appeal is granted, you won’t get one. If your appeal is denied, you will get one. It really isn’t possible for me to give an answer on when. Best I can do is point you to the status tracker on VA.gov, which provides an estimate.

  69. Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve June 6, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Again, VETS, Immediately upon receiving denial of your claim, DEMAND a HEARING ON THE RECORD WITHIN 30 DAYS, (where you will appear with your lawyer, EXPERTS, and records. You must get these people in the open on the record, or you will be paddling upstream forever

  70. Robert William Baker June 6, 2019 at 11:41 am

    Submitted claim for severe stage COPD. Denied. Response says Service not responsible for nicotine/cigarette related. Basic training 1975, received ALL C-rations with cigarettes, Ft. Polk. DI’s said everyone does same or no one does, non smokers do work detail! 17, not the smartest tool in the shed! Complied. Currently on SSDI last 2 years from COPD exasperation episode forced me to quit working, on Oxygen and 3 inhalers. All and complete medical ,and veteran coworker and family testify to nonsmoking prior to “service” testimony’s provided. Does this “New” process help anywhere here? Currently 70%.
    with other service related.

  71. Denis June 6, 2019 at 11:36 am

    This is the first I’ve read of the new process. I left the USAF in 1973 and was sent to the VA to examine an injury to my wrist I received while in the service. The VA told me to go home, don’t come back, we can’t do anything for you and you have disability rating of less than 10%. I did what they said. I lived my life and worked around the pain in the wrist. When I reached 65 I was advised by friends to go back to the VA and I did. I was examined and didn’t exhibit severe pain when the wrist was bent in some, not all directions, and sent home,. I then got a letter saying I hadn’t complained for 43 years, so I didn’t have ANY disability. I quit bothering with reading anything from the VA at that point. I see people all the time that brag about getting a huge disability check and treatment for all kinds of medical conditions and they aren’t any worse off than I. Disgusting

  72. Ron Berry June 6, 2019 at 11:29 am

    My claim has been on appeal since 2012 ! Currently working with D.A.V. . Good organization. I had a C and P exam, July 2018. I STILL have not received a letter from that ! Had another on the first of May, still haven’t heard from that either ! I have had 4 back procedures in the last 14 months.
    I DO realize part of My problem was from working with The PVA. That is definitely a do nothing organization. But the VA takes entirely too long to settle claims and appeals. And absolutely WILL NOT communicate with the Veteran. There have been several directors over the past few years. Lots of talk. Big fancy billboards. But internally, nothing changes.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 11:40 am

      Hi Ron, the C&P exam report goes to VBA, not the Veteran. Based on the dates you listed, it sounds like you are in the legacy appeals process. The video above explains the benefits of the new process, as well as two new ways to opt into it. :)

  73. Raymond Cook June 6, 2019 at 11:25 am

    It is very sad to me to read all of these horrible stories. I though the system was supposed to get better. Where is the improvement? I have been waiting 12 months and when I go on va.gov it just gives me a status of “Decision Review Officer is reviewing your appeal” which is the same status it has always been in. I have provided my military medical records as well as my current medical records and I was examined by a VA doctor. Just trying to appeal my effective date, I don’t understand what takes so long.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 11:37 am

      Hi Raymond, when did you appeal? Before February 2019? If so, it’s probable that you’re in the old, broken process. The video above explains the benefits of the new process, as well as two new ways to get into it. As of February 19, 2019, all new appeals go into the new process. The legacy process is closed to new appeals and, eventually, will close for good.

  74. Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve June 6, 2019 at 11:09 am


    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 11:32 am

      We remove spam and other malicious content before it gets published. Your comments have been published. :)

  75. Cecil Hersey June 6, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Just a note to say if it took them almost 2 years to actually implement the act, they are definitely in no hurry to actually take actions on appeals submitted. I have been processing my heart condition since Feb 2017, with a disapproval and appeal received by the VA on 25 May 2018. Enrolled in RAMP, but my status of my appeal being reviewed has not changed in over 8 months.

    “Today (19 Feb 2019) the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it has implemented the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, which was signed into law Aug. 23, 2017, and represents one of the most significant statutory changes to benefit Veterans in decades.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 11:31 am

      Hi Cecil, the law was passed in August 2017, and two months later we were processing these under RAMP. We continued to process tens of thousands of RAMP cases until the act was implemented in February. So, not “almost two years.” :)

      Currently, there are a handful of RAMP cases pending, and we hope to complete those soon.

      • Cecil Hersey June 6, 2019 at 4:14 pm

        Thank you for the quick response. I look forward to hearing an answer on my appeal.

    • Steveo June 6, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Thanksgiving l

  76. Robert Logan June 6, 2019 at 10:55 am

    done with speed and efficiency.
    “an expeditious manner”
    synonyms: speedy, swift, quick, rapid, fast; prompt, punctual, immediate, instant, sudden; high-speed, fast-track, whistle-stop, lightning, meteoric, whirlwind; brisk, nimble; efficient, diligent; hasty, summary, abrupt;
    “the expeditious processing of his VBA remand”
    Q? VBA remanded due to 3 out of 4 IMO’s missing from file, when all 4 were sent together. HOW can the VBA loose DIGITAL paperwork?
    Q? How come a veteran is given days to respond, when the VBA takes YEARS to “Not respond”?
    Q? Why does the VBA/RO manuals say “expeditious manner” on remands and when required remanded paperwork is received as requested, a decision is to be made in 30 days?
    Q? So being told I’m 41,000 in line with average wait time over 3 years is expeditious? Please read the dictionary meaning posted above and get back with me. Oh, and the VBA manual on the 30 day issue.
    Q? How can the VBA tout the “The New Modernization Act” so vigorously, yet leave behind 200,000 veterans? Oh, that’s right, sit on those claims til 2020 and MAKE them join “the modernization act”, since they didn’t volunteer for RAMP.
    Q? How can the VBA tout to congress “Appeals are a second chance” “most are already rated” when the initial rating isn’t even close to the veterans disabilities?
    Q? Why is it, at the VA veterans hear ” your not rated high enough” even come into play ( with other benefits) when veterans are waiting 7+ years for an “expeditious” claim .
    SO many questions…
    I’m not asking for favoritism, I’m not trying to jump a line, or lane, just asking for a decision. I’ve waited my turn.

  77. George Matousek June 6, 2019 at 10:36 am

    I applied in Aug. 2015. I have been denied repeatedly. They wanted me to see their doctor in 2015, I went , wasn’t a doctor, she was someone who worked for the doctor ( don’t know if she was even a nurse) . Now I was to be on the agenda for the National Board last Feb. 19,2019, still not on the agenda, I was told they don’t know when it will be set up to begin. The denials were because my skin caner did not show up within a year of my service with the Marines in 1969. The National Caner Society told me cancer cells can stay dormat for years and years before becoming active. The VA dosen’t follow their own rules about settling claims. I think they are waiting for us to die (since there are thousands of guys complaining about Agent Orange) which means lots and lots of money. They agree I was exposed and in Nam, but it doesn’t cover my cancer. I can even remember two instances where I was sprayed, once in my face, where the cancer is located. This is all very sad that we are treated like this. Semper Fi

  78. randall jaques June 6, 2019 at 10:34 am

    First off thank you for what you all are doing, my concerns are the following: 3/25/2019 my appeal was awarded and my percentage was raised from 10% to 60%. This was not BVA this was Dept of VA. The va.gov system and the ebenifits system knows nothing off this. You call the VA and they no nothing and just basically say no you are on appeals status. My VSO and Am Legion reps tell me Do not send any updated claim info or contact the VA it will just confuse them.The VSO office also claims there will be a domino effect and the 60% will come then the dependents then 100% for unemployability and then the rest of the appeals due to my cardiac condition not being properly diagnosed.
    I thought all this out and as a good NCO at age 60 decided communication is the best road to follow. I faxed 5 pages of VA awards to 60% and a cover page saying in bold PLEASE HELP. Three days later I get a call verifying my wife and children and told a letter is being sent out. In my mind I feel the process is now going forward only because I faxed in the VA award letters. That being said it appears the two computer systems are no processing or updating the information.
    Two last things, I will not be afraid to send in additional claim evidence when my appeals are not finalized. Fear is not an option.
    Finally please if anyone reads this Do not hire a law firm please take it from me my daughters lost 8,000 in the blink of an eye because I did this and they got the money before I was able to fire them. Getting rid of a law firm is very difficult once you retain them and they are directly related to the appeal process or the initial claim. Stay together we are a team we do not need money seeking law firms to take what belongs to your children. I say his again to our children.

  79. Tom Nocton June 6, 2019 at 10:32 am

    I have been considering an appeal process to try and get some medical help on old injuries from active duty days. However, I now see that VA is still doing what it was originally chartered to do. That is to insure the retied Soldier get’s as little as possible for what is due. After reading the above comments, I can truly say that life is short and the unnecessary time requirements in the VA appeals process will definitely make it shorter.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 11:28 am

      Hi Tom, if you would like medical help, please click here: https://www.va.gov/health-care/

      The appeals process is a system for Vets to formally file a disagreement with a decision VBA made on a Vet’s disability compensation claim. This is administered by VBA, and the laws governing it are more than 80 years old. That system was broken, and often took several years to render a single second decision. This blog discusses a new way for Vets locked in that broken system a way to opt into the new, modern appeals process.

      As the video above shows, we’ve granted more than $375 million in retroactive benefits. That’s a lot of granting of benefits.

  80. Don W. Kemp June 6, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Multiple diagnosis between 1988 & 1992 of which none are Diabetes or Cancer other than skin cancer, VA says I was not exposed to Agent Orange. Even a confirmed location of Agent orange at Utapao AB, Thailand & my workstation was the 11th USAF Hospital which backed up to the Klung which was infested requiring the burning with Agent Orange.
    Now nearing age of 83, with even more medical problems, but still no Diabetes or Cancer, all of my Doctors have been convinced since 1990 that I had to be exposed to Agent Orange.
    Obviously, VA is not as sympathetic as Doctors, but who should be the correct Judge? Apparently, VA is waiting until almost the end of our lives before they finally realize that maybe the Doctors were right.
    Still, Vietnam era veterans are not very important, and never have been from the day we returned home.

    • John Thompson June 6, 2019 at 2:01 pm

      Hello Don,
      Years ago I suffered with swelling of joints and giant hives whenever I did manual work at home and on the job. Many visits to the allergist with no conclusion or diagnosis. This was right after Nurse Maude DeVictor brought to attention of physical problems Vietnam vets were experiencing. I had joined the class action lawsuit concerning Agent Orange exposure.
      Finally I was directed to an internist. I was prescribed a steroid (Prednisone 5mg X2 daily) before I new it my symptoms were worse. I was taking 60mg a day for control.
      Next came a Rheumatologist, he thought it might be Lupus. That didn’t check out. His last resort was a Kidney Biopsy.
      The results, Traces of scar tissue identified as the so called Agent Orange. The actual procedure took only a few minutes. The site of injection of the needle was numbed, I was able to watch the needle puncture through my back and into my kidney. Tissue was extracted and the results were positive. Agent Orange poisoning. I came in contact by pumping the solution into containers from 55 gallon drums. Nobody knew what the hell it was.
      Good Luck Don.

  81. Kenneth June 6, 2019 at 9:59 am

    I kept reading where “she” could do this and that. Female claims are probably a lot fewer than for all us guys that have claims in. My case was screwed up so badly I had to hire a lawyer to take over. Lawyers aren’t free. There are a far greater number of “He’s” out there getting screwed over by the VA, I talk with them all the time, than what there are females. I talk with them all the time too. Maybe the VA needs to concentrate on getting the decisions correct the first time, one of mine was nothing more than a dumb employee couldn’t speak English and put my job title as a “Radarman” instead of a “Radioman” which should have been fixed with a phone call. Instead it’s just one of the appeals I have in process. Maybe being politically correct on gender is minor compared to the actual claims collecting dust.

  82. Lorin Berry June 6, 2019 at 9:58 am

    I appealed a claim in 2017. Last year I was asked by VA, via e-mails, to switch to the new RAMP System. This was over a year after I appealed. So I did and they say back then that average claim time is 120 days. This article says 36 days, Since mine started in Oct 2018 it has been 8 months, over 240 days. So they must approve some in a few days to have an average of 36 days.
    A few years back, the initial claim wait time was over a year-2 years. Congress complained and VA hired a bunch of new claims people. But they had zero experience, and they are not Medical folks reviewing the claims, but admin folks. So they got the initial claim wait time down, but at same time, these new, unqualified folks made some dumb mistakes. So guess what, they Appeal waiting time skyrockets from less than a year to as much as 7 years. So now we have a new improved RAMP system and they aren’t doing what they said they would do.
    After I filed the RAMP, I was not seen or did I hear from VA until after the 120 day point. So I was seen by an Indian female doctor who spent 40 minutes inputting data into the computer prior to starting physical exam. She spent less than 5 minutes doing exam of Total knee replacement, and severe back structure issues.
    I told her during exam that I disagreed with one of her statements. So about three months later I received another e-mail/letter and phone call. I had to have an additional exam. This time by the same Doctor who did initial claim exam back in 2017. I told him about previous exam and he said I was the forth person he had seen in last 30 days with same problem with Indian Doctor. He made a comment in notes about her not doing physical exam, and she actually used measurement form his 2017 exam to fill in data. But he also showed me differences in exam, it is now much worse than 2017 and she could not have gotten the data she inputted.
    So now I am back in same waiting period. It has been over 30 days since the second exam and still no updates.
    I also got a letter from VA asking if I have any medical records from 1986-1997 as they could not find them. But they had also looked within VA back in 2017 for same records. So they repeated the same request, just 19 months later.
    o much for a new improved system to process claims.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 11:17 am

      Hi Lorin, RAMP closed in February 2019. As Dave mentions in the video, RAMP averaged about 130 days, which is slightly higher than our 125-day goal.

      RAMP was a temporary sneak peek at the new AMA, and it was an opportunity for those–like you–to move out of the old, broken, legacy appeals process. Currently, there is a small group of RAMP claims pending, and are being completed everyday. Those are not part of the AMA’s current 36-day average.

      Based on the limited information provided (thank you for not posting PII), whether you have a medical condition is not in question, but rather that your medical condition was caused by active military service is? That’s why VA would want your military records. If you didn’t include your military records as evidence with your claim, then VA will have a hard time connecting the injury to your service.

      The new and improved appeals process allows us to do all of this with less red tape (antiquated laws), and to actually work with Vets in some instances in getting them to a favorable decision.

    • Robert Leinberger June 6, 2019 at 11:34 am

      I have multiple disabilities and am at 90%. I filed had filed an appeal to upgrade to 100%. Then in June of 2018 I got the RAMP request and sent it in. I hadn’t heard anything as of of May 31,2019. So I called VA and when I talked to a representative I was told it had been received but not forwarded to the right agency. I ask him why and he couldn’t give me a reason. He said there must have been a mistake so he said he would forward it. This isn’t the first time I have had problems with the VA. I have also had problems at the VA hospital that I go to. No wonder so many Veterans commit suicide.

    • Vincent F. Mazzei June 6, 2019 at 4:21 pm

      Your letter sounded VERY familiar! Was that female Indian Doctor at the Syracuse VA by chance? I had a similar experience with a female Indian Doctor. She was the same one who did my last C&P that got my claim denied the last time. Oddly enough, she even went as far as telling me straight out that I should NOT expect any increase in my claim/disability! I thought they were only supposed to do an exam, ask a few pertinent questions and send you on your way. Since when are they the decision makers on how the claim will shake out? Surely there input DOES have significant impact on ones claims. I have been waiting for NINE YEARS for my appeal to make it through the process. Mine is in remand at the RO. It was kicked back from the Veterans Appeal Judge to the RO to do some more work. I was told it should not stay at the RO for more than 30 days and it has been several MONTHS! There was new evidence that was submitted before that was NOT considered, and I again submitted even more NEW and supporting evidence this time. My claim should be a clear cut approval but still they wait. I too, believe they wait us out to see if we die first. “Delay, Deny, and Hope You Die” is the VA way of thinking. I did a lot of research and was under the impression that if the evidence was SO compelling and it was at a 50/50 status… WE the veteran were supposed to be granted the benefit of the doubt and GRANTED OUR APPEAL and given the benefits we have earned. A huge thank you to all my brothers and sisters out there for their service and sacrifice! God bless you all!

  83. JSprague June 6, 2019 at 9:22 am

    The only thing this provided was that the original award date could be maintained forever, as long as you keep chasing the bone down the road and renewing an appeal option.

    I really dont think that the process is the problem in the VBA system. You folks are chasing ghosts and never catch any. The real problem is the people and how they do their jobs within the system. I would say that the majority of claims that are processed are short sheeted (the reviewer only looks at specific things like the DBQ or a IMO) and they never really check the claimants history. So many times the facts already sitting in the medical records are ignored and the claim denied. This includes the examinations a veteran submits to as well. I would estimate that tens of thousands (if not hundreds) of veterans have had claims delayed and/or denied because of these two basic issues.

    No matter how you shuffle the deck of cards, if these basic issues are not addressed and resolved then the same problem is going to resurface every time. If the VBA/VHA put the veteran in the same room with the examiner and the rating official, most of the problem would go away. Record the examination with the consent of all individuals and there is an indisputable record on hand if any dispute arises. Problem solved. The medical exam is viewable so that everything is documented, If the veteran meets all required elements for claim approval, the rating official can make that determination on the spot or shortly thereafter, and then forward the claim for higher level review and approval.

    The whole it in the nut shell puts boots on the ground where the veteran and examinations are taking place, reducing the error rates caused by failure to be familiar with claim history, and the failure to account for facts presented in the claim or medical records, and expedite collection of information, review of the facts leading to an initial decision, which should cut weeks or more from the time it takes to complete. Redirect millions to prevent the errors that cause the expenses generated in repetitive processing and appeals and this should pay for itself.

  84. Frank F Miles June 6, 2019 at 9:10 am

    I have a PTSD case that was originally appealed in March 2012 and was remanded over a year ago. All updated paperwork has been submitted as per VA remand /appeal request. I am presently # 19,564 on the list and based on the timeliness of completing these remands it appears I am going to have to wait for a final decision another 2-3 years. This will total 9-10 years before a final decision is made. How does any new system help me? or how can my case be expedited?

    • Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve June 6, 2019 at 10:48 am

      There is NO WAY to overcome the I don’t give a sht attitude by the VA except that you be prepared with an ATTORNEY TO GO INTO A HEARING ON THE RECORD WITHIN 30 DAYS OF THE DECISION TO DENY YOUR CLAIM. You must have your experts and facts ready, to roll over these slobs.
      After many years of the VA playing games with my claim, and pretending that my records did not exist, I caught them in a bald faced lie’
      They still denied my claim.
      I immediately filed a motion to have a hearing ON THE RECORD WITH THE EVIDENCE.
      Two weeks later they approved my claim.
      The whole system is corrupt.
      Yes, it will cost you a portion of your claim, but 100% of nothing is ZERO, ..NOTHING.
      The aim of Congress is to deter you from receiving your benefits, while they bask in the bales of money from private interests.
      The new claims process is just a smoke screen, just more bullsht from the biggest bullshtters in the world, the VA.

    • Jason Davis June 6, 2019 at 11:06 am

      Hi Frank, a remand means that BVA couldn’t overturn a lower decision. But having been to BVA means that you first received a Statement of the Case, which is also a decision, before moving up to BVA. So, in all, you&#