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Amc Rating Overflow Room?

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What in the #@%& is a rating overflow room!!? I just called the AMC for status of my TDIU claim and was told it was in the "Rating Overflow room where they can take up to 180 days to rate it". Is this something new they have come up with to delay claims ? I don't remember reading anywhere in the Adjucation process where this ROOM is mentioned. Need some advice before I really loose it this time.

Thanks in Advance

Wayne (TAZZ)

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GEEEEEZ that is a new one to me too-----

180 days?????? ridiculous-

What AMC is this?

A vet I helped last year almost went ballistic when his claim (after many many years) went to the AMC for this VISN area- but it wasn't there more than 3 weeks-as I recall.

I ask sometimes if my claim is with a PAF person yet.

(Paper airplane folder)

Wayne- is this what the COVERS screen says?

I always say if you dont like the 800 # response call back later and it will be different.

Yesterday twice the vet rep answered but the VA phone went dead before I could even give them my c file number- then I got two conflicting opinions on the status of my main claim-

I was pretty irritated and reminded the vet reps -in a nice way- that I keep a log and take names and it is grossly unfair for any claimant to get such a rigamorale for a simple question which I had to ask many times.

A vet rep called me back after the VA closed and gave me the status of my main claim.

Men and women I have picked up on a great deal of stress at my VARO-I do not even believe what some of the vet reps say anymore-I have kept a log since the 1990s and it sure ticks me off when they cannot answer a simple question.

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  • Elder

Waiting Overflow Room.....that is pure BS. I have never heard of such a thing. Do they think we are all idiots? That is just another way of saying it is in a pile some place. Is it any wonder claims get lost and misplaced. At the St. Petersburg RO it is just a complete crap shoot as to where your claim is in the process. They have lost every thing I ever sent them at least once.

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  • Elder

AMC started out as a good idea but it is in DC and as far as I know they are worthless.

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  • In Memoriam



Read down until you get to the red line.

Click here to go to the actual document...

Please consider:_____VBA (Veterans Benefits Administration)_____BVA (Board of Veterans Appeals)

Statement of Michael Walcoff

Associate Deputy Under Secretary for Field Operations

Veterans Benefits Administration

Before the Committee on Veterans? Affairs

Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs

United States House of Representatives

May 5, 2005

Chairman Miller and Members of the Subcommittee.

Thank you for providing me the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss

the Department of Veterans Affairs? (VA) Appeals Management Center (AMC)


My statement today is divided into two parts. I will begin, as you have requested,

by discussing VBA?s AMC operation. Then I will briefly discuss the Joint

BVA/VBA Remand Reduction Project.

Appeals Management Center

The Appeals Management Center (AMC) was created in July 2003 following a

Federal Circuit Court decision that invalidated part of VA?s process for handling

cases appealed to the Board of Veterans? Appeals (BVA). Prior to that court

decision and the establishment of the AMC, BVA had created a development unit

to itself develop cases on appeal that needed more development, instead of

remanding those cases to the regional offices of jurisdiction to conduct the

necessary development.

The BVA unit had, in effect, assumed partial

responsibility for case development previously assigned to VBA?s regional

offices. As a result of the Court?s decision, the BVA generally may not consider

in the first instance any evidence it develops, so the BVA resumed remanding

cases that needed more development, and that responsibility was returned to

VBA and assigned to the AMC.

VBA determined that the best way to manage

remand processing was to consolidate the responsibility to a single Appeals

Management Center where resources and expertise could be concentrated.

The mission of the AMC is to process remands timely and consistently.

The AMC has complete authority to develop remands, reach decisions based on

additional evidence gathered, and authorize the payment of benefits. If the AMC

is unable to grant an appeal in full, the appeal is re-certified to BVA for

continuation of the appellate process.

Beginning in July 2003, the AMC began receiving work from BVA. Though not

fully staffed until January 2004, the AMC began intake, organization, and limited

development on remands. In February 2004, the AMC was fully operational and

established a goal of completing initial development of all pending remands by

spring 2004. This goal was met in June 2004.

The initial work coming to the AMC consisted of two types of cases. The first

category of cases consisted of the remands generated by BVA after July 2003.

VBA had projected the volume of this workload to be 13,000 remands per year.

Based on this projection, the AMC was staffed with 87 employees.

In the second category of cases were those that had been pending development

actions at BVA at the time of the circuit court decision. There were 9,000 cases

in this category for which BVA no longer had legal authority to initially consider

any evidence it developed. These cases were converted by BVA to remands

between July 2003 and January 2004 and transferred to AMC jurisdiction.

Because of the one-time nature of this influx of 9,000 additional remands, a

strategy was developed to increase resources on a temporary basis to assist the

AMC with claims decisions. As a result, 46 additional employees were

temporarily assigned to accomplish AMC work beginning in October 2004.

These employees are located at VBA?s resource centers in St. Petersburg,

Huntington, and Cleveland.

During its first year of operation, the AMC received approximately 18,000

remands in addition to the 9,000 converted cases. This exceeded the 13,000

remands that had been estimated. Because of this greater than expected

volume, VBA and BVA began aggressive joint initiatives to address the root

causes of remands. These initiatives focused on increased coordination of data

collection, identification of trends, and training.

These joint efforts are proving successful. The remand rate for FY 05 is 43% as

of the end of March. This compares with the FY 04 remand rate of 56.8%. For

the month of March 2005, the remand rate was 37%. Our goal is to reduce the

remand rate to 30% by the end of FY 06.

The AMC is organized much like the Veterans Service Centers in VA regional

offices. The AMC consists of one Triage Team, three Development Teams, one

Rating Team, and one Authorization Team. The AMC provides public contact

functions through a dedicated toll-free number unique to the AMC and has

normal office hours for walk-in traffic.

The AMC also provides full support for Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, and

congressional inquiries. Executive direction at the AMC is provided by a director and

two assistant directors. One assistant director is responsible for the development

of remands and the other is responsible for decisions made on the remands. The AMC?s

workforce is specifically trained and skilled in processing remanded claims.

Organizationally, the AMC reports to the Associate Deputy Under Secretary for

Field Operations.

The AMC receives all remanded claims directly from BVA. All new remands are

delivered to the AMC daily. A small number of remands are unable to be worked

in the AMC for various procedural reasons and are returned to the regional office

of jurisdiction. For example, if a remanded claim requires a local hearing, the

AMC would be unable to comply with the remand order; therefore, the remand

must be worked locally.

Additionally, if a remand involves an issue not related to compensation and

pension benefits, the remand is forwarded to the regional office of original


Development of remands is initiated within 15 days of receipt at the AMC. A

letter is sent to the appellant that explains how to contact the AMC, what the

appellant can expect during the processing of the remand, and what is required

of the appellant and the AMC.

Development is completed in strict compliance with the wording of the remand

order. This often requires that steps in the remand order be completed

sequentially and that a VA exam, including a medical opinion by a VA physician,

be conducted. Once all development steps are completed, the claims file is

forwarded to the Rating Team for a decision.

If any part of the remand is granted, a decision is prepared. If any part of the

remand continues to be denied, a supplemental statement of the case is prepared.

Often, both documents are required.

Once a decision is made, accredited representatives (i.e., veteran service

officers) are allowed the opportunity to review the unpromulgated decision.

Following review by the representative, the file is forwarded to the Authorization

Team, which processes the award and notifies the appellant. If a full grant of

benefits is possible, the award action is completed, payment authorized,

notification sent, and the completed file returned to the regional office of

jurisdiction. If the appeal is not granted in full, the appeal is re-certified to BVA.

No claims files reside permanently at the AMC.

The AMC is reducing the number of pending remands. Since October 2004, the

AMC inventory of pending remands has been reduced from 24,000 to 21,000.

The goal is to reduce the pending inventory to 18,000 by the end of FY 05. The

goal for FY 06 is to reduce the pending inventory to 12,000. Once these goals

are met, the additional resources assigned to the AMC will be redirected to

compensation claims at VBA?s regional offices.

The AMC has enabled VBA to significantly improve the time it takes to complete

a remand. During FY 03, regional offices took an average of 700 days to

complete a remand.

Currently, it takes the AMC an average of 400 days to complete a remand.

We continue to strive for further improvement. A strategic

goal of 230 days on average to complete a remand has been established. The

goal of 230 days represents the minimum time needed to complete a remand

given the notification, evidence collection, and follow-up requirements of the

Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000 (VCAA) and other legal requirements.

VBA does not require additional resources to reduce the number of remands

pending. The high number and average age of pending remands are more

closely related to procedures and due process requirements than to a lack of

available resources. Remands are unique in that they often require sequential

development steps, with requisite waiting periods between each step.

Often remand instructions require that VBA contact the claimant to request

identification of any outstanding evidence, obtain a medical release, or complete

other development requirements, and our procedures provide the claimant with a

60-day time frame to provide a response to such requests. Together with the

waiting time our procedures require for third-party evidence, the appeals

resolution process is necessarily prolonged to ensure that all necessary evidence

is obtained and considered.

In addition, to ensure that VA has exhausted its efforts to obtain all federal

records and made all reasonable efforts to obtain non-federal records, remand

instructions sometimes require VBA to repeat prior efforts to assist the veteran

obtain medical treatment records or other evidence that was generated many

years ago. The custodians of these records are often very difficult to locate.

In the case of federal records, the law requires that VA?s efforts to secure these

records, such as Social Security Administration records, continue until VA is

reasonably certain that the records do not exist, or that further attempts to obtain

these records would be futile.

Finally, remand orders often require VBA to obtain complex medical opinions

from medical specialists that may not be readily available at all VA medical

centers or in smaller cities, further increasing processing time.

Joint BVA/VBA Remand Reduction Project

In July 2004, the Deputy Secretary requested that VBA and the Board of

Veterans? Appeals (BVA) accomplish three tasks:

? Agree upon a reliable process for capturing information prospectively on

reasons for remands,

? Conduct a retrospective analysis of a representative sample of remands to

validate the agreed-upon tool, and

? Develop a plan for remedying the problem of avoidable remands.

A VBA/BVA team developed a new protocol to record reasons for remands. The

protocol, in use since November 2004, distinguishes between remands due to

VBA error, remands based on BVA?s authority to develop evidence in the

absence of a VBA error, and unavoidable remands, such as those resulting from

changes in law.

On November 8, VBA/BVA submitted a report to the Deputy Secretary containing

its planned remedial measures. VBA agreed to change claims procedures to

more thoroughly document the record when attempts to secure federal records

(e.g., Social Security records) failed, or attempts to verify PTSD stressors failed.

VBA also agreed to conduct additional field training.

A broadcast on the importance of reducing remands was held in February 2005

with participation from the Deputy Secretary and BVA and VBA leadership.

Additional broadcasts were held on other subjects that would result in reduced

remands, including preparation of medical examination requests.

A computer-based training module on certifying a case to BVA was developed

and sent to all VBA regional offices.

Completion of the training module is mandatory for all Rating Veterans Service

Representatives and Decision Review Officers on the Appeals Team.

Lastly, VBA has established a mailbox for questions on remands from the field.

An intranet site was also created with a management reports function allowing a

regional office to review its remand errors. The review and monitoring of remand data are on-going efforts. Analysis of the

remand data allows VBA to determine the impact of current improvement efforts,

as well as to identify future trends and develop and implement countermeasures

to ensure avoidable remands are eliminated to the greatest extent possible. We

anticipate that future efforts will include additional training, quality reviews, and

regulatory changes, as appropriate.


In summary, VBA has increased its focus on the appellate workload over

the past several years. Through our actions and actions taken in collaboration

with BVA, we have implemented measures to reduce the number of remands

and improve the timeliness of appeals processing. We believe we are moving in

the right direction, and continuing efforts will allow us to significantly improve the

appeals process for veterans.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I will be happy to respond to any

questions that you or other members of the Subcommittee might have.

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Guest allanopie

.....[Through our actions and actions taken in collaboration

with BVA, we have implemented measures to reduce the number of remands

and improve the timeliness of appeals processing. We believe we are moving in

the right direction, and continuing efforts will allow us to significantly improve the

appeals process for veterans.]

They would have to allow the use of attorneys from day one & dispose of every RO across the country if they were even serious of cleaning up the number of remands.

Last yr, after having an IMO completely ignored by St Pete's incompetence, I requested my claim go straight to the BVA for a decision. On June 16, 06, after several additional IMO's & treatises submitted by Dr Bash, it was again "REMANDED" by the BVA back to the same appeals center in DC, where it collected dust for 2 yrs, before it was remanded to St Pete's by the Appeals Center, from the BVA.

Maybe it's just easier to patty cake it, back & forth between the DC Appeals center & St. Pete's until it falls off the pile in to a shredder.

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The Remand portion of my remand has been completed. It had been on the raters desk since 12 Jun. At least thats where I was told it was every week I called. The C&P was completed in May and all files were returned to the AMC. All that supposely had to be done was to rate the other findings, nerve impengment right and left sides due to Spinal Stenosis and rate me for TDIU. The examiner stated due to current problems and flareups I could not maintain employment. I'm already at 70%.

I guess their waiting to see what Buyer is cooking up to throw another wrench in the system.

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  • Elder


The St. Petersburg RO is incompetent. You have to have a face to face with a human to get a decent result. They can do the BVA remand thing for years. I got the best result from DRO Hearings.

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