Nearly 50,000 veterans appeals were received by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) in fiscal year 2012, with even more—54,033—expected by fiscal year-end 2013. However, veterans may find themselves waiting longer for a decision as the agency reports reduced decisions and a reduced workforce, according to Allsup, which provides veterans disability appeal services. The BVA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Although the BVA received 49,611 cases in FY 2012, it reached decisions on only 44,300 cases. This was a decline of about 9 percent from FY 2011, when the BVA reached 48,588 decisions. The BVA chairman reported a decrease in productivity in FY 2012 because of a reduced workforce, citing only 510 full-time equivalent employees that year, down from 535 in FY 2011.
“With these reductions, veterans can expect a longer and more difficult appeals path to being granted service-connected disability by the BVA,” said Brett Buchanan, an Army veteran and VA-accredited claims agent at the Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal ServiceSM. “These delays can have a huge impact on the lives of veterans and their families.”
In FY 2012, the BVA denied nearly one-fourth of claims for service-connected disabilities, with reasons including incomplete medical records. The denial rate was higher at 34.2 percent for unrepresented claims. It can take up to four or five years and even longer to resolve the issues that led to denial, Buchanan said.
There are a number of steps veterans can take to improve their VA disability appeal, including obtaining a doctor’s agreement and meeting VA disability appeal deadlines. Appealing a claim for VA disability benefits is a complicated process, so seeking help from a VA-accredited claims agent can help ensure accuracy, help document the claim and be approved for VA compensation.
“Our goal is to successfully help veterans receive the service-connected disability compensation benefits they deserve, as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Buchanan said. “We know how the claims process works and how to successfully manage VA disability appeals.”
According to a statement, “Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible.”