August 23, 2020, will mark three year since the president signed one of the most significant legislative changes in decades. The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (Appeals Modernization Act) transformed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) appeals process from complex and frustrating to simple, timely, and transparent.
The road to reform began in March 2016 with a VA-sponsored Appeals Summit. Together, VA leaders, Veterans, Veterans Service Organizations, and members of Congress drafted a legislative proposal that outlined a more efficient process. Three processing lanes were created: higher-level review, a supplemental claim, and an appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).
Veterans are truly benefitting from this process. In November 2017, VA began the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP), allowing Veterans the opportunity to use the new review process in the Appeals Modernization Act. Both the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and BVA have been working together to recruit, hire and train new employees, as well as implement new processes and technology into the appeals system that will improve the lives of Veterans and their families.
VBA also began establishing two new Decision Review Operations Centers (DROCs) to process claims under the new appeals framework. Staffing of these new DROCs is supported through several existing hiring initiatives, including the Warrior Training Advancement Course (WARTAC). WARTAC is an education and employment opportunity for transitioning service members to complete a training program to become VBA claims processors.
VA remains deeply committed to improving the lives of Veterans through innovative and meaningful ways. To explore veteran benefits, browse our Military: Active Duty and Veterans category. As always, we encourage you to take our Benefit Finder questionnaire to find benefits you may be eligible to receive.