President Donald Trump signed Rep. Joe Cunningham’s (SC-01) bill, the VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act, into law over the weekend. The bipartisan legislation requires the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to allow veterans with pending appeals to appear before the Board remotely from their personal computers. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals determines whether veterans are entitled to VA disability benefits and other services.
Currently, the Board of Veterans Appeals, which is based in Washington, D.C., only conducts tele-hearings from certain VA locations, meaning veterans have to travel to testify in support of their claims. In many cases, this forces Lowcountry veterans to drive to Columbia or Savannah. Now, veterans will have the ability to teleconference in to these hearings from the comfort of their own homes using their personal computers. The legislation also includes safeguards to ensure that veterans’ personal information is protected and that their case is not negatively impacted by taking advantage of this new option.
“Now more than ever, it is critically important that veterans are able to appeal adverse decisions by the VA from their own homes,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham. “The VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act is exemplary of the sorts of commonsense advances we can make when both parties come together for the sake of our veterans. I will continue to work with President Trump and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to deliver results for Lowcountry veterans.”