ECA Participants Punished For Filing Substantive Appeals

The promise of faster benefits and reduced wait times for claim adjudication is an attractive offer for those that require their benefit money to live. The Expedited Claims Adjudication Initiative (ECA), however, regularly requires participants to waive their due process rights in the hopes of a quick settlement.

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.

The current Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) claims process states that a claimant has the right to have the Regional Office (RO) consider evidence submitted after the Statement of the Case (SOC) has been issued. The claimant also has the right to have a Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC) issued if there have been any material changes in any of the information of the SOC or any previous SOCs.

As an ECA participant however, should you pursue your appeal by filing a substantive appeal, you agree to

  • Waive the initial RO review of additional evidence submitted subsequent to a SOC being issued;
  • Waive any re-adjudication of your claim and issuance of any SSOC; and
  • Agree to have the Board of Veteran’s Appeals (Board) review the evidence in the first instance.

The participant must also agree that his or her claim may be granted or denied based on the Board’s review. Essentially then, as an ECA participant, any evidence submitted following a SOC being issued will not be reviewed locally by the same RO that adjudicated the original claim. Seemingly then, veterans are being punished by filing a substantive appeal on their case.

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.