The VA’s New Appeal System: AMA
The Appeals Modernization Act (AMA) was launched in February 2019 as the VA’s new appeal system. AMA now controls how appeals are filed for all decisions issued on or after February 19th, 2019. Veterans now have three AMA appeals to choose from: Higher Level Review, Supplemental Claim, and Board of Veterans Appeals.
Higher Level Review Lane
During this stage, veterans can have their claims evaluated by more experienced VA personnel at the Regional Office. The previous findings of the last VA Rating Decision are not taken into consideration, which is known as “de novo” review. While new evidence cannot be submitted, an informal conference can be requested between the VA and the veteran’s chosen representative.
Supplemental Claim Lane
What makes this appeal different from Higher Level Review is that new and relevant evidence can be submitted. Currently, this is the only stage where the VA Regional Office has the duty to assist the veteran in strengthening their claim. To properly file a supplemental claim, the veteran must submit or identify new and relevant evidence at the time of filing.
Appeal to the Board Of Veterans’ Appeals
An appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals involves a selection of one of three dockets. The direct review docket, the fastest of the three, involves a Veterans’ Law Judge making a decision based on evidence already in the record – all without a hearing.. Like the Higher Level Review lane at the Regional Office, new evidence will not be taken into consideration. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals has estimated that a veteran could receive a decision within a year on this docket.
The evidence docket, in contrast, is a type of appeal where the veteran can submit new and relevant evidence for the judge’s consideration. This generally must be done within 90 days. Lastly, the hearing docket provides the veteran the opportunity to submit new and relevant evidence as well as attend a hearing before a Veterans’ Law Judge. This can happen either by videoconference or directly before the judge in Washington, DC.
Call Rob Levine & Associates if you are a veteran in need of assistance with a VA disability claim or appeal. We have a team of experienced Veteran Disability attorneys helping hundreds of veterans every day. You fought for our country. Now let us help you get the benefits that you deserve.