Having face to face time with Decision Review Officers (DRO) around the country is one of the most valuable tools I have to keep my veterans law practice sharp. After a recent DRO hearing, I had the chance to sit down and chat with a DRO about recent and future changes to the VA compensation appeals process. One of the more intriguing changes on the horizon is that the VA wants to get rid of the traditional review process and review all cases de novo (DRO election). If you are not a veterans law attorney or service organization I probably lost you just now.
De novo review simply means that the DRO looks at your case with "fresh eyes" and can grant you a favorable decision without considering why Veterans Service Representative (VSR the first decision maker) denied you. In my view, you would always want to elect DRO for the de nova review, so if the VA makes the change, it will eliminate the need to file the additional paperwork to request it. According to my source, eliminating traditional review will also save the VA a lot of money in paperwork because it will not have to send out the DRO election letters.
If you are a veteran with a recent VA compensation denial or just received an election letter, feel free to call the Law Office of Sean Kendall so we can explain traditional review vs DRO review in more detail. Or better yet, call and let us evaluate your case - free of charge - maybe we can put some of that money the VA is saving in your pocket!
UPDATE 4/1/2014 - VA has proposed in its plan to reduce the time it takes to process appeals, to eliminate all DRO review. It is not clear if this means that all review will now be DRO sytle, that is a new decision is made by a new set of eyes, or whether only the current traditional review model will apply, which is the decision is reviewed only for newcompleteness and the VA will not change its decision based upon a difference of opinion.