Q&A with Nancy Mizerak: What is the new veterans disability law coming in February, and how might it affect me?

Stethoscope and dog tags on military camouflageIn 2017, Congress passed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act also known as the Appeals Modernization Act. In short, the reason behind the act is to process appeals more efficiently. The law takes effect in February 2019. Social security and veterans disability attorney Nancy Mizerak responds below to questions about the new law and how it might affect local veterans.

What is included in the Appeals Modernization Act?

The Appeals Modernization Act provides three options to help process veterans disability appeals more efficiently. These options include:

  • Higher level review
    • This is applicable to appeals that would demonstrate a difference of opinion or a clear and unmistakable error. It’s important to note no submission of new evidence is allowed in this review.
  • A supplemental claim lane
    • New and relevant evidence may be submitted to support your claim.
  • An appeal lane for appeals to the board
    • You may directly appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, choosing between three options:
      • Direct review: When you have no new evidence and do not want a hearing
      • Evidence submission: When you have new evidence and do not want a hearing
      • Hearing: When you have new evidence and want to testify before a Veterans Law Judge


How might the new law affect local veterans?

Previously, the appeals process was long and complicated. In 2015, we noted the average wait time for an appeal decision was three years, and almost 300,000 veterans were waiting for a decision. During the wait, veterans receive no benefits.

Unfortunately, what you sometimes see are veterans who pass away before they ever receive a benefit. That’s why an expedited process is so important.

The good news is that this process will help to provide quicker decisions. Additionally, if your claim is denied, you can authorize a representative, such as myself, to guide the appeal process. At KBG, we’re able to help you through the process to ensure that your claim is approved the first time, and you do not have to go through the appeals process a second or third time.

Contact us if you need help navigating a veterans disability appeal. At KBG, we will get you the Results You Deserve®.