On February 19, 2019, VA’s new regulations went into effect. The regulations changed many things, but perhaps the biggest change affects what veterans can do when they disagree with VA’s initial decision.
The Three Lanes
For any initial decision that VA makes on or after February 19, 2019, veterans have one year to choose one of three “lanes” to appeal the initial decision. There is a lot more information to consider before choosing a lane, but these are the basics:
- Supplemental Claim Lane: Veterans choose this lane if they need to submit new and material evidence to support their claim. Veterans must file VA Form 20-0995 and identify or submit new and material evidence to join this lane.
- Higher-Level Review Lane (HLR): Veterans choose this lane if they want a more experienced adjudicator to take another look at their case and don’t have any new evidence to submit. You can also request an informal telephone conference with the new adjudicator. Veterans must file VA Form 20-0996 to join this lane.
- Notice of Disagreement (NOD): Veterans choose this lane if they want the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to review their claim. In this lane, veterans have three different options: they can request the Board to review their case as it is, they can submit new evidence within 90 days of filing the NOD, or they can submit new evidence and have a formal hearing with a Veterans Law Judge. Veterans must file VA Form 10182 to join this lane.
Veterans who received an initial decision from VA before February 18, 2019, can opt-in to this new process if they receive a Statement of the Case or Supplemental Statement of the Case that is dated after February 19, 2019.
While the three new lanes give veterans more options to keep their claim alive, they also add complexity that simply can’t be explained here. The lane you should choose depends on the specific facts of your claim, the legal complexity of your claim, how long you want to wait for a decision, whether you need to have a formal hearing, and more.
We’re helping veterans like you adjust to this new process. Contact us at 303-449-4773 for a free case consultation.