VA to prioritize appeals claim for vets recovering from hurricanes

Matt Saintsing
October 30, 2018 - 2:10 pm

Photo by Maureen Kenyon and Ricardo Rolon-USA TODAY NETWORK

Veterans recovering from the effects of hurricanes Florence and Michael will have their pending appeals claims for VA benefits prioritized, the VA announced on Tuesday. 

VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals says the recent hurricanes to hit the Carolinas and other parts of the Southeast “were sufficient cause” for the Board to prioritize appeals for vets living in select counties in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia deemed to be disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie praised the move as "the right thing to do.” 

Hurricane Michael, a Category 4 storm, pummeled the Florida Panhandle this month, a few weeks after Hurricane Florence ravaged the Carolinas. 

Michael continued to power through the Southeast with winds of over 70 mph hitting parts of Georgia, Alabama, and North and South Carolina bringing destruction along the way. 

Veterans with an appeal pending with the Board whose addresses match one of the affected counties will have their case automatically advanced; no further action is needed on their end.  In all, 22 counties in the Carolinas, 12 in Florida and 13 in Georgia are included. A full list can be found here

The advancement of appeals is expected to last for six months from the date each hurricane landed. That means for those impacted by Florence, the timeline will be from Oct. 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019. Counties damaged by Michael will be advanced from Nov. 1, 2018, to April 30, 2019. 

The Board will reassess the prioritization following the six-month span. 

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