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Disability Claims Information

Why Do VA Appeals Take So Long?

By April 19, 2019October 18th, 2021No Comments

Why Do VA Appeals Take So Long?

Let’s start at the beginning.

A veteran or claimant begins the adjudication process by filing a claim(s) for entitlement to a service-connected disability at one of the many local VA regional offices.  A VA employee called a Rating Specialist develops the claim(s) by gathering evidence and then decides the claim and sends it to the veteran in a Rating Decision.  If the veteran/claimant disagrees with any determination made in the rating decision, he/she appeals by filing a Notice of Disagreement or NOD at the local regional office.

After the filing of an NOD, the claim moves to the regional office’s appeals section, and will now be handled by a Decision Review Officer or DRO.  The VA statistics say that the wait time from the filing of an NOD to receiving a DRO decision is 9 months.  This statistic understates the wait time for many claims.

If we are talking about poorly-represented claims, which DROs routinely deny, then yes, 9 months is a good estimate of the wait time.   But claims — which are properly developed and prosecuted and have a much better chance of success – may take much longer.   By properly developed and prosecuted, I mean:

An effective veteran’s representative will make sure that all of these procedures are completed.  In a word, the proper development and prosecution of a claim(s) takes time, more than a year and sometimes two or three years.   And, of course, it goes without saying, the VA’s growing backlog of cases adds to the delay.

 

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