The Veterans Appeals Improvement Act of 2011

This May 31st, 2011, The House of Representatives did something for veterans that should help those who file an appeal for a denied claim.  Often, when a claim is denied, the veteran recomposes the information they’re submitting, and presenting any new evidenced for the validity of their claim and the reasons why they deserve VA health care or compensation.  This new evidence was previously sent to a regional office for review.  Now, any new evidence presented will be sent directly to the Board of Veterans Appeals, and this Board is required to directly view the evidence and take it into consideration.  This means that they won’t be having some other disinterested person read your appeal evidence, and give a poor recommendation.

The bill still has to be voted on by Congress, but with a House passing vote of 419 yes, 1 no (Michigan Republican Representative Justin Amash), and 11 non voting, the future of this bill looks encouraging.


This is the actual text, amazingly short for Congressional legislation!

H.R. 1484


(a) Waiver- Section 7104 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

‘(f) If a claimant or the claimant’s representative submits new evidence in support of a case for which a substantive appeal has been filed, such evidence shall be submitted to the Board directly and not to the agency of jurisdiction, unless the claimant or the claimant’s representative requests that the evidence be reviewed by the agency of jurisdiction before being submitted to the Board.’.

(b) Effective Date- Subsection (f) of section 7104 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a) of this section, shall apply with respect to evidence submitted on or after the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

Passed the House of Representatives May 31, 2011.

Photo thanks to DonkeyHotey under creative common license on Flickr.


6 thoughts on “The Veterans Appeals Improvement Act of 2011”

  1. Cynthia Branch

    But the current situation is this: if you yourself are not a war-hardened veteran (as I am not…making the appeal for my mother, a widow of a WWII veteran), they are counting on the fact that you won’t have the stamina to see it through. We are 12 months and counting into an appeal, and JUST TODAY, I received a demand that I fill out the same forms for her – with information that has not changed – that I have filled out and submitted 4 times already THIS CALENDAR YEAR.


  2. Audrey,
    Thanks for this article, I have been disabled for 10 years and have had more stress and anxiety from dealing with the IDIOTS at the regional V A Office. I have 30 year tenured VA Doctors telling me that I am elidgable for at least 50% from 15 years of my VA medical center records they are looking at then I have to deal with a gs7 or gs9 with a high school diploma and an attitude like its coming out of thier pocket that overides the Medical Doctor’s Decision. The latest excuse is that they have “LOST” my active duty medical records. how convenient!
    Thank God for people like you taking their time putting out information to enlighten those of us in this struggle, you are a Godsend!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks and peace and blessings to you!

    P.S. if you ever want to open an interesting investigation check out the Mississippi state regional office, They could write a Saturday Night Live script in that place its a disgrace to the whole system.

  3. Wilton,

    The issue of “lost” records is being reported more and more. I am finding this a bit perplexing, as I simply don’t see how it is possible to lose a object for which I would imagine there has to be a chain of custody recorded somewhere. So I went looking into ways to get another copy of active duty medical records. Since this problem is so popular, I hope that today’s article will help out you, but also those many other veterans facing the same frustrating issue.

  4. Clay Townsend

    I share the frustrations of many brave veterans regarding lost or misplaced medical records. I served 24 years in the service and of all the medical facilities that maintained my records, they were never lost. I visited a VA hospital to process a claim, after a few visits the doctor insisted he needed to retain my records to update them base on his findings. The doctor told me I could pick them up on my follow-up visit since I lived over a 100 miles away, and it was time for him to get off work. This all took place in 1992, and to this date no one has been able to locate my records. Contacted VA Regional Office, Local VA Clinic and NPRC several times and got no results. Sometime I just give up and say “How could They:? Are our VA that un-organized. I was awarded 30%, pending upgrade on follow on exams, it all halted because they lost my records. Sent a letter to my congressman and was told to contact NPRC. Contact NPRC 4 times and they replied each time “unable to Locate”. We are at the mercy of a system gone bad.

  5. I was abmitted to the Veterans Administration hospital at least two times in the early 1970s very shortly after I was honorably discharged from the United States Army.

    I was also seen by a Psychyatirst/Pshycologist for about a solid year.
    I have a related claim in, and the VA sent the remand back to me, denyhing all of my claims. They are not able to find any records of my ever bine admitted to the VA hospital…gave little weight to my Physicians statements, and no wait to the comrades who served with me and gave statements. I have 30 days to respond.

    Does anyone have any advise, legal attorneys…which can assist?


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