By: Leo Shane III
WASHINGTON — A friend called Army veteran Ryan Gallucci last year, worried just before a scheduled court date to appeal a Department of Veterans Affairs decision to deny him part of his disability payouts.
“He told me he couldn’t remember what he had appealed, because the process had taken so long,” said Gallucci, deputy director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ benefits programs. “In a lot of these cases, we’re seeing cases returned because they need updated medical exams, because the process has taken so long those records are outdated. “At least now, things should move quicker.” As of today, VA officials have officially switched their benefits appeals process to a new system that promises more clarity and quicker decisions for the 1-million-plus cases handled by the department annually.