MAJOR CHANGES TO VA APPEALS UNDER VAIMA
The appeals systems designed under the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (“VAIMA”) will go into effect on 14 Feb 19 with respect to all cases in which a Regional Office has (“VARO”) issued a decision before that date. The good news is that his act will require RO adjudicators to issue more detailed decisions that will better enable veterans and their advocates to decide whether to challenge a decision and, if so, whether to do it as an appeal or a supplemental claim. Other good news-if the VA makes a favorable finding in a decision, that finding is binding on the agency in all subsequent proceedings. Now, the bad news- there will be no right to a DRO review or a VARO hearing, a statement of the case or to file new evidence on the VARO level to get a new decision on the claim. In short, its’s a brave new world but the benefits of VAIMA may just well outweigh the costs. Stay tuned for further updates.