What are the Current Wait Times at the BVA – Board of Veterans’ Appeals?
In 2020, has there been any improvement to the current wait times at the BVA? The much ballyhooed Appeals Modernization Act promised to return the Veterans Administration disability system to Abraham Lincoln’s vision. A vision of a way “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.” After just two years under the new system, however, the backlog already includes more than 45,000 cases. This is the state of the wait times at the BVA.
Structural issues might be to blame. Bureaucratic and insurance company interests currently dominate the VA disability system. As a result, it is difficult to obtain fair compensation for your disability. More on that below.
Because these interests are so powerful and so set against individual claimants, it is important to have a tough VA disability lawyer in your corner. Substantial benefits are still available, but they are difficult to obtain. These benefits typically include a generous cash allowance and free VA medical care.
The Appeals Modernization Act might not speed cases through the system at warp speed, but it does have some positive aspects. For example, in most cases, the VA assigns a non-lawyer assistant to each claimant. Their skill and experience varies significantly, but at the least, they are usually better than nothing.
Typically, a Claims Examiner reviews the medical records a few weeks after Veterans file their claims. This part of the process can be rather speedy. Unfortunately, that speed is not always a good thing. Veterans have limited time to determine what type of evidence they need and to collect that evidence.
As a result, Claims Examiners might rely almost exclusively on the results of the C&P exam (compensation and pension medical examination). Generally, Veterans cannot view these reports beforehand. Thus, they have little or no idea what to expect. Furthermore, many Veterans are not familiar with the intricate VA disability rating system.
Additionally, many C&P doctors are not fully qualified to assess given disabilities. For example, physicians who focus on head injuries might not be comfortable with knee injuries. They often do little more than look at the disability ratings chart.
At this point, other than the officer advocate, the system is not on your side. Experienced Claims Examiners know how to take advantage of the aforementioned weaknesses. As a result, they usually deny claims, at least in part.
After the initial review, Veterans can accept the decision or appeal it. If you act promptly, this stage should leave you with enough time for a consultation with an attorney. After a lawyer reviews your case, you can make the best possible decision.
Several appeal options are available under the AMA. The right one generally depends on the issues with the Claims Examiner’s decision. Sometimes, the Claims Examiner made a clear legal error. That is especially common if the Claims Examiner was relatively new. Other Claims Examiners fail to properly consider all evidence. Additionally, an attorney could develop new evidence, such as an independent medical examination or “buddy statements” from fellow Veterans.
Taking your claim to the Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA) is one appeal option available to you. The BVA is essentially a court. Therefore, at BVA hearings, attorneys can introduce evidence and make legal arguments. Since a lawyer has free reign, successful outcomes are common.
Contact Dedicated Attorneys
The VA disability system has improved, but it is not light years better than it was before. For a free consultation with an experienced Veterans disability lawyer, contact Cameron Firm, PC at 800-861-7262 or fill out the contact box to your right. We are here to represent Veterans nationwide.
This article is for educational and marketing purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship.