Last week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that President Donald J. Trump recently approved the appointment of four new Veterans Law Judges to VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
“Bringing on additional judges means the Board will be better staffed to conduct hearings and decide appeals properly in a timely manner,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Combined with procedural changes under the Appeals Modernization and Improvement Act of 2017 [AMA] and the hiring of more than 200 additional Board attorneys, this translates into better and faster service for Veterans.”
Veterans Law Judges are presidential appointees and go through a thorough vetting process. After an initial screening, the chairman of the Board recommends a list of candidates to the Secretary of the VA. If agreed to, the list of selectees is forwarded to the White House for final approval. Once approved, the selectees are notified by the chairman and officially sworn in.
The following Veterans Law Judges will assume their roles Oct. 14, and will begin holding hearings and signing decisions for Veterans and other appellants: Lauren Cryan, Evan Deichert, William Donnelly and Cynthia Skow.
In fiscal year 2018, the Board issued a historic 85,288 decisions to Veterans — 61.6 percent more than 2017. Expanding the roster of Veterans Law Judges will allow the Board to continue issuing more decisions for Veterans, as VA prepares for full implementation of the AMA. This law transforms a complex appeals process into one that is simplified, timely and transparent by providing Veterans with increased choice and control. The AMA will go into effect on Feb. 14.