On its face, the Expedited Claims Adjudication (ECA) Initiative is a good idea. To veterans desperately awaiting for their disability claim approval, participating in the ECA is a bridge to an easier claims process.
There are however, significant differences ff you file a substantive appeal on your claim(s) through the standard VA process then through the ECA initiative. Processing your claim under the VA’s standard procedures gives veterans options when choosing the location of a hearing before the board:
- An in-person hearing at the Board’s offices in Washington D.C.;
- An in-person hearing before the Board at the local VA regional office; or
- A hearing before the Board through the use of videoconference technology.
Conversely, the ECA places many more limits on the Board hearing. Should a veteran participate in the ECA and file a substantive appeal on a claim(s) to the Board:
- That veteran will receive only one hearing before the Board;
- The Board, after consulting with the veteran and his or her representative, will determine the type of hearing the veteran will receive so as to make it as timely as possible; and
- An in-person hearing will be conducted in Washington, D.C. only if it is geographically convenient for the veteran and his or her representative, or if the veteran agrees to travel to Washington, D.C. at the veteran’s expense.
The ECA requires its participants to voluntarily and severely limit their own due process rights during their disability claim process. While quick money seems like a good idea, there is always the chance your claim will not be approved and you will have limited your due process rights by participating in the ECA. For this reason, please be aware that if you plan on signing the ECA agreement and waiver, you must be represented by an attorney or the Veteran’s Service Organization (VSO) in order to participate.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.