The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is not known for its speedy adjudication of disability claims, especially once the claim is denied and appealed. Should a veteran proceed through the normal process of filing a claim, that veteran is almost unlimited in the amount of disability hearings that could be requested over the life of his or her claim.
Certainly then, The VA’s Expedited Claims Adjudication (ECA) initiative is an attractive offer to rush the settlement of a disability claim. By signing the ECA agreement and waiver, however, the veteran is limiting the possible number of disability hearings that can happen over the life of his or her claim.
Currently, veterans have the right to a hearing at any time on any issue involved a claim presently pending in front of a participating VA regional office (RO). Once that veteran becomes an ECA participant, those appellate rights are severely curtailed. Under the ECA initiative, if a veteran decides to request a hearing, that veteran will:
- Have only one hearing on his or her claim(s) before the participating RO;
- That hearing will be conducted by a VA Decision Review Officer (DRO); and
- That hearing will only happen once an RO makes a decision on the claim.
So, instead of having one hearing at every stage of a claim’s life, the ECA initiative allows for one hearing over the entire life of the claim prior to the decision being made. Because of these types of limitations that can potentially cripple a veteran’s right to a disability claim, you must be represented by an attorney or the Veterans Service Organization (VSO) in order to participate in the ECA.
If you are a veteran who has been denied disability compensation by the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. We can appeal your rating decision and fight for your rights. You are entitled to certain programs and benefits based upon your VA rating decision so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.