The Veteran Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 became law on August 23, 2017 (Pub L. 115-55). It is also known as the Appeals Modernization Act. You can read the law in full on Congress.gov.
The new law:
- Modernizes the current claims and appeals process
- Includes three review options for disagreements with decisions
- Requires improved notification of VA decisions
- Provides earlier claim resolution
- Ensures you receive the earliest effective date possible
What are the new options for review?
You have three options for review:
Option 1: Higher-level Review
Your claim is reviewed by a more senior claims adjudicator and involves:
- A higher-level de novo review (new look) of the decision
- No submission of new evidence allowed
- The possibility of overturning the decision based on:
- A difference of opinion
- A clear and unmistakable error
The reviewer, who identifies or learns of a duty to assist error, can return the claim to the regional office for correction. You or your representative can request an informal phone call to identify specific issues.
Option 2: A Supplemental Claim Lane
You can submit or identify new and relevant evidence to support your claim. VA will provide assistance in developing the evidence.
Option 3: Appeal Lane for Appeals to the Board
This option allows you to appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. You can choose between three options:
- Direct review: You have no new evidence and do not want a hearing.
- Evidence submission: You have new evidence, but do not want a hearing.
- Hearing: You have new evidence and want to testify before a Veterans Law Judge.