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RCP Congressional Bill Tracker - H.R. 800


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H.R. 800: Express Appeals Act

Title: Express Appeals Act

Introduced: Feb 5, 2015 (114th Congress)

Sponsor: Rep. Beto O’Rourke [D-TX16]

Status: Referred to Committee - Forwarded by Subcommittee to Full Committee in the Nature of a Substitute (Amended) by Voice Vote .

Summary: Express Appeals Act Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to: (1) carry out a five-year pilot program to provide the option of an alternative appeals process to determine appeals of claims for disability compensation more quickly, and (2) inform claimants about such program. Describes appeals filed under the pilot program as "fully developed appeals." Authorizes a claimant to elect to file a fully developed appeal by filing with the Secretary: (1) a notice of disagreement along with the claimant's written election to have the appeal determined under the pilot program, (2) all evidence that the claimant believes is needed for the appeal, and (3) a statement of the argument in support of the claim. Requires the Secretary to transfer jurisdiction over a fully developed appeal directly to the Board of Veterans' Appeals. Requires a claimant to make such election: (1) at any time during the traditional appeal process if the claimant has filed a traditional appeal before the pilot program commences, or (2) when the claimant files the notice of disagreement if the claimant has not filed a traditional appeal. Directs the Secretary to inform a claimant who seeks to change a traditional appeal to a fully developed appeal as to whether any time will be saved. Allows a claimant who elects to file a fully developed appeal to elect to revert to a traditional appeal at any time. Requires the Board of Veterans' Appeals to: (1) maintain fully developed appeals on a separate docket; (2) hear fully developed appeals in the order received; (3) decide not more than one fully developed appeal for each four traditional appeals decided, though this ratio may be adjusted for fairness purposes beginning one year after the pilot program begins; and (4) decide, to the extent practicable, each fully developed appeal within one year of a claimant's filing the notice of disagreement. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) the effects of new evidence submitted or additional information needed after a fully developed appeal is filed, and (2) a prohibition against the Board providing hearings for fully developed appeals. Directs the Board to establish an office to develop federal records, independent medical opinions, and new medical exams that the Board deems necessary to decide a fully developed appeal.


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