Final Rule Department of Veterans Affairs 38 CFR Parts 3, 19, and 20
Federal Register Vol. 79, No. 186 Sep 24, 2014
Purpose of the Final Rule
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amends its adjudication regulations and its appeals regulations and rules of practice of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) for the purpose of improving the quality and timeliness of the processing of veterans’ claims for benefits and appeals. Under 38 U.S.C. 501(a), VA is authorized to make these regulatory changes as it is granted broad authority to ‘‘prescribe all rules and regulations which are necessary or appropriate to carry out the laws administered by [VA] and are consistent with those laws,’’ including specifically authority to prescribe ‘‘the forms of application by claimants under such laws.’’ Congress has characterized a request for Board review as an ‘‘[a]pplication for review on appeal.’’ 38 U.S.C. 7106, 7107, 7108. Additionally, 38 U.S.C. 5101 explicitly provides that claimants must file ‘‘a specific claim in the form prescribed by the Secretary’’ in order for VA to pay benefits.
Summary of Major Provisions
The Final Rule includes momentous changes in how VA will conduct business. First, VA has abolished the Informal Claim. Old rule 3.157 no longer exists and …Source: NOVA National Organization of Veterans Advocates
Eliminates the Informal Claim
This rulemaking also eliminates the constructive receipt of VA reports of hospitalization or examination and other medical records as informal claims for increase or to reopen while retaining the retroactive effective date assignment for awards for claims for increase which are filed on a standard form within 1 year of such hospitalization, examination, or treatment.
Intent To File A Claim Factsheet – The intent to file process allows you additional time to collect all of the information needed to support your claim while protecting the earliest possible effective date for any award of benefits or increased benefits resulting from your claim. The date VA receives your intent to file will be protected as your effective date as long as the correct application form is completed and submitted within 1 year.
Claim means a written communication requesting a determination of entitlement or evidencing a belief in entitlement, to a specific benefit under the laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs submitted on an application form prescribed by the Secretary. [This does away with informal claims, all claim applications must be made using a VA form for that purpose. There now is something called Intent To File A Claim, more on that later.]
38 U.S.C. References
38 CFR References