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VA Fast Letter 09-13.pdf

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Veterans Benefits Administration

Washington, D.C. 20420

February 20, 2009

Director (00/21)

All VA Regional Offices and Centers

In Reply Refer To: 212

Fast Letter 09-13

SUBJ: New and Revised Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000 (VCAA) Letter Templates and Enclosure in Modern Award Processing-Development (MAP-D)

Purpose

This letter provides information and guidance on four new VCAA letter templates, and new and revised VCAA notice paragraphs (formerly called attachments) that are now located in a single VCAA enclosure.

Background

As part of the Inventory Reduction Initiative, the Under Secretary for Benefits directed a workgroup to review VCAA letters and identify areas for improvement. The review revealed the following major areas needing improvement:

· General format (letters were difficult to follow and had unnecessary empty space)

· Content (redundant language and complex text)

· Excessive length of the letter

To resolve these problems, the workgroup created four new letter templates and reviewed nearly 500 development paragraphs in MAP-D. About one quarter of the development paragraphs were either rewritten or removed. In addition, the workgroup changed and created new VCAA notice paragraphs that MAP-D will generate as a single enclosure. The new templates and notice paragraphs will reduce the need for user input by regional office (RO) staff.

The Office of General Counsel (OGC), the Board of Veterans' Appeals, and the Compensation and Pension (C&P) Service have agreed that the new letter templates and notice paragraphs are legally sufficient. Therefore, local changes or modifications to the basic format of the VCAA templates and the text of the VCAA enclosure and the VCAA Notice Response are not permitted unless authorized by the C&P Service.Users may tailor the development paragraphs only when the appropriate selection or item needed is not available in MAP-D.

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