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Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017


The need for a modern appeals system

The current appeals process is a complex system. It splits jurisdiction between VA’s three administrations and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The process is confusing and contains many unnecessary steps. The volume of appeals has also increased over the years. This makes it difficult to resolve appeals in a timely manner under current law.

However, the current process is changing. On August 23, 2017, the President signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017. This is one of the most significant statutory changes for Veterans in decades.

We began the 18-month implementation process as soon as the bill became law. The law creates a new system with three review options:

  • A “higher-level review” by a more senior claims adjudicator
  • A “supplemental claim” option for new and relevant evidence
  • An “appeal” option for review by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals

Under the new framework, Veterans may choose the option that meets their needs. This new framework will reduce the time it takes to process, review, and make a final determination, all while ensuring Veterans receive a fair decision. Additionally, the new framework includes safeguards to ensure claimants receive the earliest effective dates possible for their claims.

Veterans can choose the option that best meets their needs. The new process reduces time to process. This ensures Veterans get a fair, fast decision. It also ensures claimants receive the earliest possible effective dates for claims.

We are committed to making bold, positive change for Veterans and their families. We will work closely with Congress, VSOs and stakeholders to fully implement the new system by February 2019.