Veterans have long complained about the lengthy processing time of disability claims. In response to these complaints, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) introduced the Expedited Claims Adjudication (ECA) Initiative which was designed to speed up the processing of the claim(s) of anyone voluntarily participating in the program.
In order to participate in the ECA Initiative, however, participants must waive most of their due process rights related to the processing of their claim(s). Beyond that, participants must adhere to a slew of strict deadlines or face the ramifications of being forcibly removed from the ECA initiative. Should a veteran choose to participate in the ECA Initiative, they must be represented by either an attorney or the Veteran’s Service Organization (VSO) in order to participate.
The VA will continue to process the veteran’s disability claim(s) while the veteran is a participant in the ECA initiative. Choosing to participate in the ECA initiative means veterans agree to respond to any VA request for information and/or evidence necessary to authenticate their claim within 30 days of the date the request is mailed by doing one of the following:
- Identifying all evidence pertinent to supporting the claim;
- Providing the requested evidence; or
- Denying the existence of the evidence outright.
If a participant needs help from the VA in acquiring identified records, however, the deadlines for the VA’s response are much more lenient. While the participant must respond to all VA requests for information within 30 days of the date the request is mailed, the VA has one year in which to receive the information requested from the participant. Keep in mind, the purpose of the ECA Initiative is to speed up processing of disability claims.
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.