VA Developed Reporting Metrics for Appeals Modernization Act Decision Reviews but Could Be Clearer on Some Veterans’ Wait Times

Report Information

Issue Date
Report Number
VA Office
Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Report Author
Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type
Report Topic
Claims and Appeals
Appointment Scheduling and Wait Times
Major Management Challenges
Benefits for Veterans
Questioned Costs
Better Use of Funds
Congressionally Mandated


The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (the Appeals Modernization Act (AMA)), was designed to offer veterans faster resolution of disagreements with VA decisions. It established three review lanes: a direct appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (not covered in this report); a higher-level review by a senior technical expert in which no new evidence may be presented; and a supplemental claim. Higher-level reviews and supplemental claims each have a completion goal of an average of 125 days. VA must report its performance to Congress and on a public website. The OIG found that VA developed reporting metrics for AMA decision reviews but could be clearer on some veterans’ wait times. Specifically, veterans who submit a claim for a higher-level review of a benefits decision and where a processing error is identified will have a new supplemental claim established—each with a completion goal of 125 days. VBA reports these separately. However, when the veteran is notified that a new claim has been established, there is no mention that they may need to wait for its completion, with a stated goal of another 125 days for a final decision. The cumulative wait time for higher-level reviews finalized as supplemental claims is not fully transparent to veterans. The OIG interprets the AMA to mean that for decisions under VBA’s jurisdiction, VA also must report the average duration from when a veteran files an initial claim through one year after VBA’s closure of the last decision on the AMA claim. VA omits the initial claim and one year. The OIG recommended VA update the reporting methodology to reflect veterans’ total wait for a final claims decision on higher-level claims completed as supplemental claims and revise and clearly state how it calculates the average duration of these AMA claims.

Open Recommendation Image, SquareOpenClosed and Implemented Recommendation Image, CheckmarkClosed-ImplementedNot Implemented Recommendation Image, X character'Closed-Not Implemented
No. 1
Open Recommendation Image, Square
to Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Update the reporting methodology used in public reports to reflect the total time veterans wait for a final claims decision when their higher level reviews require a supplemental claim be established and completed due to an error.
No. 2
Open Recommendation Image, Square
to Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
Revise and clearly state the measures used for calculating and reporting the average duration, from the filing of an initial claim until the claim is resolved and claimants no longer take any action under the Appeals Modernization Act claim, and ensure consistency with subsection M of the act.