This month has been a turbulent time for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Although small measures of progress can be seen with respect to appeals reform, set back and uncertainly appear to remain constant shadows over the beleagured agency.
There is no denying that the VA appeals process is in need of reform. As of 2016, veterans wait, on average, four and a half years for their first decision from the Board of Veteran Appeals.
In an attempt to mitigate these wait times Congress recently passed the Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 (AMA). VA is currently working on the regulatory framework, and the full implementation of the law will not happen until 2019 at the earliest, though certain appellants are already being allowed to opt in to this system through the Rapid Appeals Modernization Process or RAMP.
Earlier today outgoing-US Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald published his Cabinet Exit Memo. The memorandum is available at the following link: McDonald Cabinet Exit Memo.