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M21-1mr, Part I, “claimants’ Rights And Responsibilities,” Is Changed As Follows:

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allan

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Department of Veterans Affairs M21-1MR, Part I

Veterans Benefits Administration April 25, 2007

Washington, DC 20420

Transmittal Sheet

M21-1MR,

Part I

Veterans Benefits Manual M21-1MR, Part I, “Claimants’ Rights and Responsibilities,” is changed as follows:

The following pages are updated in this change:

• 1-A-5

• 1-B-1, 1-B-2, and 1-B-5 through 1-B-8

• 1-C-3, 1-C-6, and 1-C-13 through 1-C-15

• 3-A-8

• 3-B-18 and 3-B-20

• 5-B-4, 5-B-7, 5-B-9, and 5-B-11

• 5-F-28

Note: “TBD” (to be determined) after a reference indicates that the referenced material is located in a part of M21-1MR that has not yet been published.

Continued on next page

Transmittal Sheet, Continued

Changes Included in This Revision The table below describes the changes included in this revision to Part I

• Chapter 1, “Duty to Assist”

• Chapter 3, “Power of Attorney,” and

• Chapter 5, “Appeals.”

Note: In addition to the changes listed below, the revised documents reflect

• formatting changes made to conform to M21-1MR publication standards, and

• the removal of references to rescinded paragraphs in M21-1 and “TBD” after published M21-1MR chapters.

Location of the revision Reason(s) for the change

Part I, Chapter 1, Section A, Topic 2, Block e (I.1.A.2.e) • To furnish an example of a claim that clearly lacks merit, and

• To discuss VA’s authority to deny a claim without providing assistance.

I.1.B.3.c To add a new block to discuss the notification requirements imposed by Dingess/Hartman v. Nicholson (2006) in compensation claims for specific evaluations or effective dates. The subsequent blocks in this topic are renumbered.

I.3.A.4.a, Note 2 To reflect that a copy of a claimant’s correspondence should be sent to the claimant’s representative only when the correspondence relates to a pending claim or appeal, or is in response to an informal claim.

I.3.B.13.b and c • To remove the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Inc., (061) from the lists of nationally recognized veterans service organizations, and

• To add the National Association for Black Veterans, Inc., (084) to the numerical list of national POA organizations

Continued on next page

Transmittal Sheet, Continued

Changes Included in This Revision (continued)

Location of the revision Reason(s) for the change

I.5.B.4.a • To state that a notice of disagreement for an apportionment claim must be received within 60 days of the date VA mailed the notification of the decision, and

• To add a reference to the M21-1MR chapter that pertains to apportionment claims.

I.5.B.5.a To indicate that RO personnel should follow the procedures in I.5.B.6.b if an NOD issue is unclear.

I.5.B.6.b To update the procedures for clarifying NODs to conform to the revision of 38 CFR 19.26 and 19.27 effective October 30, 2006. Clarification of NODs may be requested by telephone or in writing. If the intent of the claimant remains unclear, VA personnel should follow the procedures for an administrative appeal.

I.5.F.32.a To provide the current name and telephone number for the Board of Veterans’ Appeals Team I (central region) point of contact.

Continued on next page

Transmittal Sheet, Continued

Rescissions None

Authority By Direction of the Under Secretary for Benefits

Signature

Bradley G. Mayes, Director

Compensation and Pension Service

Distribution RPC: 2068

FD: EX: ASO and AR (included in RPC 2068)

LOCAL REPRODUCTION AUTHORIZED

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Thanks Allan-

good info- I am waiting to see if they revise the response date to SSOCs down to 30 days from 60.

This is still at the Fed Reg but comment times might be over-

I fully argued that this revision would be unfair to claimants.

I made the point that many vets cannot even get an appt with their rep within 30 days- nor fully prepare an adequate response. If the SSOC reveals that only an IMO will help their claim succeed- it is doubtful that a vet can get a costly IMO in 30 days too.

The proposed reg states:

"The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) proposes to amend its

regulations regarding the time limit for filing a response to a

Supplemental Statement of the Case in appeals to the Board of Veterans'

Appeals (Board). We propose to change the response period

from 60 days to 30 days. The purpose of this change is to improve

efficiency in the appeals process and reduce the time that it takes to

resolve appeals while still providing appellants with a reasonable

period to respond to a Supplemental Statement of the Case."

I responded that in no way will this reg help- only when the ROs begin to fully comply with the VCAA for ALL claimants ---will 'efficiency' be improved and time "reduced".

This reg to me only means that a claim on appeal after receipt of an SSOC-gets into the "Transfer to BVA" stack 30 days sooner.

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