The Expedited Claims Adjudication (ECA) Initiative was designed to allow voluntary participants to accelerate settling their disability claims and appeals process through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
For many veterans who have already invested serious amounts of time and energy attempting to navigate the VA’s disability claims processes, being offered a quick settlement could be an attractive offer.
One of the many down sides to electing to participate in the ECA is the amount of control veterans must relinquish to the ECA. While all ECA participants trade many established due process rights for the possibility of a quicker settlement, they also give the ECA complete control over their claim(s).
Veterans must remember the disability claim is theirs and they should be in charge of their claims, not the ECA. If a veteran chooses 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.
One thing to be understood in this process is the VA is still processing all disability claims, despite participation in the ECA. ECA Participants must acknowledge:
- Should they fail to comply with any ECA set time limit;
- Request an extension of any time limit and the request is not granted;
- Fail to waive initial consideration by the participating Regional Office not considered in the Statement of the Case; or
- Otherwise fail to substantially meet the terms of the ECA agreement and waiver of Rights as determined by the VA, the veteran’s participation in the ECA will be revoked.
At any time then, participants can be removed from the ECA Initiative for not substantially meeting the terms of the ECA agreement. By participating, veterans are placing themselves, and the future of their claim(s), into the hands of other people establishing rules for how they want veterans to handle their own claims.
To add insult to injury, at the same time, veterans are forced to abandon their due process rights in relation to their claim(s). Should the veteran be removed from the ECA, that claim(s) will then proceed through the regular VA claims processes.
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.