What are Legacy Claims and Legacy Appeals?

All claims and appeals in the system prior to February 19, 2019 that have not received a decision are called legacy claims. These claims and appeals are subject to the rules in force prior to February 19, 2019.

There could be hundreds of thousands of legacy claims still being processed. VA has not yet identified how many there are or how long it will take to clear them out of the system.

Any decisions on legacy claims after February 19, 2019 will be subject to the new rules under what VA calls the "modernized review system." Likewise the new notices and any other changes pertaining to decisions from The Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 will apply.

There could be anywhere from 400,000 to 600,000 legacy appeals in the system that are stuck somewhere in the black hole of appeals. They could with the appeals teams in the regional offices who are preparing claims for certification or preparing finalization of awards after a board of appeals decision. Or they are in the appeals resource center at Washington DC where appeals that have been remanded from the board for further development are being handled. These appeals are called legacy appeals.

Fiscal Year

Legacy Appeals Backlog

2017

470,478

2018

362,024

2019

268,458

2020

193,599

2021

155,769

2022

117,939

2023

80,109

2024

42,278


We provide here a chart from a VA report to Congress concerning the appeals modernization act and how VA was meeting its goals. This is in November 2018. Since the Inspector General's report in that same year accused VA of losing track of the number of appeals in the system, these numbers might not be accurate. In fact, they are too accurate. How can VA know that by 2022 there will be exactly 117,939 legacy appeals that need to be decided. That's almost humorous when you consider the super accurate precision of that assertion.

For legacy appeals, here is a chart of how those appeals are handled under the old rules. However, if the appeal has already been certified to the board as a substantive appeal these old rules apply in the claimant must wait until the board makes a decision.

Legacy Appeals Chart

Any decisions on legacy claims after February 19, 2019 are automatically processed under the new modernized review system.

Claimants with legacy appeals that have not been certified and sent to the board of veterans appeals can opt into the new system or remain in the old system as soon as a statement of the case or supplemental statement of the case has been issued by the regional office of original jurisdiction. This is done by filing the new notice of disagreement – VA form 10182 and checking the box that you see we have circled on the form which is entitled "opt in from SOC/SSOC."

Decision Review Request

 


Please refer to the table of contents in the top right column of this page for more topics on Unfavorable Decisions.