Although the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has been eagerly patting itself on the back in recent weeks because of a decrease in the claims backlog, that decrease is only related to original disability claims. The backlog of pending appeals of unfavorable rating decisions is disturbingly large, and in some cases veterans who served our country and deserve compensation for their service-connected disabilities are waiting 4 or 5 years before the Regional Office even looks at their appeals, let alone makes a new decision.

At the office of Attorney Sean Kendall, we work closely with veterans to see whether they qualify to have their VA cases expedited. Once you file a Notice of Disagreement, you might expect your case to be worked expeditiously, but it is usually about a year before VA will look at your file and start the process of scheduling a hearing before a Decision Review Officer. If you have already filed an NOD and received an unfavorable new decision, in the form of a Statement of the Case, it could be three years after your new appeal (a Form 9 appeal) is looked at and processed for a hearing before a member of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. However, if you qualify for expedited processing your case should be worked immediately.


#1 If you are 75 or old, you qualify under VA law for expedited service and need only to send a copy of your driver’s license, birth certificate or other identification to VA along with a motion to advance your case on the Regional Office’s docket. You should not be waiting in line with everyone else if you are a claimant 75 years or older, and if a VA official tells you they cannot expedite your case, that person is wrong.

Recently, a high-ranking VA official at the New York City VA Regional Office responded to my request for expedited service for a veteran who is over 80 years old by emailing me, “A lot of veterans across the country are in their 80’s and have appeals.” This is in adequate treatment of an elderly veteran and unacceptable.” Officials at the St. Petersburg VA Regional Office have also recently told myself and Attorney Timothy Franklin that they consider veterans over 85 to be worthy of expedited service, not 75. That is unacceptable as well, unless those officials can succeed in proving VA regulations have changed.

#2 If you are suffering from a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, you need only submit a letter from a doctor and a request for expedited service, and your VA case will be moved to the front of the queue. If VA does not immediately work your case in this situation it is unacceptable, and an experienced veterans’ law attorney or accredited representative will make sure to follow up repeatedly with VA until your case is adjudicated properly.

#3 If you are experiencing severe financial hardship and are waiting on a decision from VA, it must work your case immediately. In this situation it is necessary to thoroughly complete VA’s Financial Status Report form 5655 and submit corresponding evidence, such as print-outs of bills and bank statements. By completing this form, you will be able to show VA that your monthly expenses far exceed your income, if you are working at all.

If your case is lingering at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, these same regulations apply, and if you have an experienced representative he or she will make sure to file for expedited service of your appeal. Keep in mind, additionally, that cases remanded to the VA Regional Office from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals are automatically granted expedited service. If you have a remanded case and a VA official denies you expedited service because you are, for instance, 74 years old or not experiencing severe physical or financial hardship, it is your representative’s duty to make sure that VA official does not get away with ignoring the VA regulations that ensure expedited service of remanded claims.

If you need help with your VA case, do not hesitate to call the office of Attorney Sean Kendall today at 877-629-1712.

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Steven W Giles 09/19/2015 12:39 AM
This article has been posted of The Vietnam Veteran at
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Bill McLemore 09/26/2016 11:52 AM
Adam: Just wanted to compliment you on your article outlining how to expedite your VA case. Very well written and an important topic especially for elderly Veterans. Bill McLemore Assistant Executive Secretary Texas Veterans Land Board
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Corey K 12/15/2016 03:16 PM
I have a BVA appeal that was advanced on the docket for medical reasons. My issues were remanded. What is a reasonable period on an expeditious remand before seeking a writ?
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Donald 06/28/2017 04:27 PM
My appeal is at the BVA now but it doesn't appear it has been expedited. I have repeatedly requested that my legal representative makes sure my appeal is expedited due to financial hardship and homelessness. However, as I write this my appeal is "Awaiting Place on the Docket". It appears to me that my law firm doesn't want to have my claim expedited and the only reason I can see for that is they get more the longer it takes. Would this be considered a 'breach of fiduciary duty'?
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Corey K 06/28/2017 06:58 PM
Didn't get a reply from these guys, but I filed a Writ of Mandamus AFTER writing the RO and asking for a time frame for reviewing my remanded appeal. The Writ stirs the pot at the top of the RO basically forcing them to give you an answer. I filed the Writ on a Monday. One week later the RO had my appointments scheduled. I've seen the docs and all my issues got approved. The RO then asks the CAVC to dismiss the Writ to make it moot because they eventually did what I asked. We all win because I got my appointment and they got the bad paper dismissed. The Writ is your friend when you can't get an answer from the VA. Good luck folks.
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Carl Adkins 08/17/2017 07:29 PM
I have an appeal that was approved for bilateral hearing loss my rating was supposed to be 50% local office Gave me 0% VA doctors sdaid That I am almost deaf. I also have a arthritis claim my medical records show I had reactive Arthritis. Been waiting since 2010 I am 76 years old and they keep telling me I have to wait case waiting to go to bva now at regional St Petersburg fl. law
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Chris 10/20/2017 11:01 AM
Once the case is approved for expedited processing, what is the time frame from there to hear from the VA?. Thank you
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Rufus J. Houston 02/02/2018 03:55 PM
Veteran was granted motion to advance on 8-24-2017 had hearing on 11-8-2017 judge granted 60 day extention for additional evidence which expired on 1-7-2018.Veteran was informed that his case was finished what happens next.
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Ann L Bracey 04/20/2018 07:53 PM
My VA Appeal for DIC hearing was 12/04/2017 in regional office by video conference. I have Multiple Sclerosis and now son has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes insulin dependent. He is not working at this time, has been very ill with ketoacidosis and nearly died. Out of work again due to these episodes I will do everything in my power to help him. Very familiar with the VA I am worried about time. I do not know the final outcome but I do know that if granted it will help financial problems that failure of VA to assist during my husband's condition created! How do I expedite it? Thank you!
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