The Supplemental Claim Lane for Appealing VA Decisions

The Veteran Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (also known as the AMA), has changed the way Veterans are able to appeal VA decisions. The new process consists of multiple different avenues to appeal your claim. All decisions issued on or after February 19, 2019, must be appealed through the new AMA process. Veterans are no longer be able to participate in the traditional or legacy appeals process.

Understanding the AMA

The Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act was initially signed into law on August 23, 2017. The Act is geared towards restructuring the appeals process and its goal is to streamline decisions and simplify the process for Veterans. Fully implemented in February 2019, all Veterans with decisions after this date must appeal their decisions by utilizing one of three options: supplemental claim lane, higher level review, or a Notice of Disagreement to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. This article focuses on the first option: the supplemental claim lane.

When to Use the Supplemental Claim Lane

If you’ve received a rating decision that is not fully favorable to you, you may want to appeal the decision. One of the most common forms of appeal in the AMA is through the supplemental claim lane. The supplemental claim lane requires that you have new and relevant evidence to support the particular claim on appeal. Examples of new and relevant evidence used to appeal in the supplemental claim lane include:

  • A military award or newspaper article that supports your PTSD stressor if the VA has denied you on the basis of an unconfirmed in-service stressor.
  • Photographs that show you were at a particular location if the VA says there was no record of you being there.
  • Letters or buddy statements from friends and family members who knew you were injured in service.
  • Medical records to show a confirmed diagnosis, or more severe symptoms than what the VA is saying that you have.

How to Use the Supplemental Claim Lane

When using the supplemental claim lane, you will need to submit VA Form 20-0995 along with your new and relevant evidence. Make sure you gather the evidence first, then submit the evidence and the form together. Make sure you meet the VA appeals deadline for filing a supplemental claim lane appeal. You have a year from the date of the original decision to submit it in order to keep your original effective date. It is important to ensure you keep your effective date as that is the date to which the VA will recognize your disability benefits having started. Therefore, you will receive monthly compensation in the form of a backpay award for every month that has passed since the effective date to the date the claim was granted.

How Berry Law Can Help

At Berry Law, our team has appealed claims through every single lane in the Appeals Modernization Act. We have successfully helped thousands of Veterans from all branches of the service with disability appeals and have helped our clients receive over $100,000,000 in back pay awards. With attorneys hailing from all 4 branches of the military, we understand how important these benefits can be for Veterans. If you are planning on appealing your decision, please contact a VA appeals attorney on our team to schedule a free case evaluation and see if we can help you in your fight for disability compensation.