UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS
LARRY W. MATTOX, APPELLANT,
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
On Appeal from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals
(Decided April 26, 2021)
Kenneth M. Carpenter, of Topeka, Kansas, for the appellant.
James M. Byrne, General Counsel; Mary Ann Flynn, Chief Counsel; Kenneth A. Walsh,
Deputy Chief Counsel; and Brent A Bowker, Senior Appellate Attorney, all of Washington, D.C.,
were on the brief for the appellee.
Before PIETSCH, ALLEN, and JAQUITH, Judges.
ALLEN, Judge: In August 2017, Congress enacted the Veterans Appeals Improvement and
Modernization Act of 2017 (AMA).1 The AMA is a sweeping piece of legislation that extensively
overhauls the administrative appeals process concerning VA benefits decisions. Importantly,
however, Congress did not eliminate the administrative appeals structure existing at the time
Congress passed the AMA, leaving the earlier process in place as the “legacy” system. Rather,
Congress provided that certain administrative appeals would be processed under the legacy system
while others would proceed under the new AMA system. This appeal requires us to consider a
significant, albeit narrow, question: How does one determine whether a given administrative
appeal is subject to the AMA as opposed to the legacy system?
In this appeal, which is timely and over which the Court has jurisdiction,2 appellant
contests an April 5, 2019, Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision that denied entitlement to service
connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, including PTSD. This matter was submitted to a
panel of the Court specifically to address whether Congress’s AMA-amended notice requirements
1 115 P.L. 55, 131 Stat. 1105 (Aug. 23, 2017).
2 See 38 U.S.C. §§ 7252(a), 7266(a).
in 38 U.S.C. §