Grant and remand


Hi Jim, January 31, 2020 the BVA ordered a GRANT and a REMAND. The grant was clear: PTSD and TDIU with a effective date of 2009. The remand was for more testing on TBI and seizures. E-benefits says the grant case is closed and it takes 1-2 months. The remand takes 16-29 months. This is very confusing and misleading. Neither our 1800 line nor the White House VA line can help me. They answer by omitting the grant in every inquiry, citing only they they need more medical records for my remanded issues TBI and seizures. It seems the VA has buried my grant with my remand that may take up to 16-29 months. Do I have a coarse of action to demand the closed case grant be processed separately? Thank you!

Jim's Reply:

The process of adjudicating BVA decisions when they are remanded is one of the worst work flow processes at VA...or anywhere for that matter. While a remand from BVA back to the regional office is supposed to be a priority task, it rarely is. Often enough the orders are confusing enough that an appeal that should be completed has to be sent to the Appeals Management Center (AMC) for it all to be sorted out and even then cases seem to disappear at the AMC.

That there is a need for an entity like the AMC is a hint of just how bad it is. That and the fact that for years this has been known among advocates as The Hamster Wheel of the BVA. Once you're on the hamster wheel you play hell getting off.

Is there hope to get your case moved ahead and out of whatever hole it seems to have fallen into? Probably not. Unless you're on your deathbed AMC can't really prioritize you because then everyone would want to get to the front of the line. That and the fact the the pandemic that's happening today has upset work routines around the world, not only at VA. The backlog of claims is once again growing at a record pace and when that happens it's a sign that appeals are becoming more bogged down.

The best I can offer is to stay in touch with the AMC and be as patient as you're able. There seems little other choice.


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