The goal of the Expedited Claims Adjudication (ECA) Initiative was to help veterans have their claim(s) processed quicker than through traditional Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) methods. It was reasoned that veterans in need of a settled claim in a shorter amount of time would then participate in the ECA.
Problems arose when it was discovered that in order to participate in the ECA initiative, veterans must relinquish or waive many of their claimant and due process rights. 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.
Participants in the ECA agree to waive identified procedural processing issues and actions whenever requested by the VA. The VA will notify the veteran ECA participant of in a clear, written explanation explaining exactly what rights the veteran is waiving. If the ECA participant does not respond to the VA’s waiver request in 30 days and agree to waive all the procedural processing issues and actions, the ECA participant is removed from the ECA Initiative.
From that point on, the veteran’s claim(s) is processed by the VA, through the VA’s normal procedures, as if the veteran had never participated in the ECA. If there is an appeal and a hearing, however, the procedural matters waiver may be entered on the record at the time of the hearing.
So, while it may very well be the case that participating in the ECA Initiative will settle a claim quicker than the VA, it is also the case that in order to do so, participants must waive their due process rights. With that being said, nowhere does the ECA guarantee a claim will be approved. Should a disability claim be denied, and all due process rights have been waiver, the claimant is at the mercy of the ECA and their policies.
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.