Decision Review Operations Centers (DROCs) are VA decision making centers designed to centralize the processing of all:
- Higher Level Review appeals (HLRs)
- HLRs returns due to duty-to-assist (DTA) errors
- Appeals Modernization Act (AMA) full grants by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board)
- AMA Board remands
The responsibilities and organization of DROCs are laid out under M21-5, Ch. 1, § A. According to the VA, DROCs were also formed in order to achieve a more efficient use of the VA’s limited resources and improve technical accuracy based on skills specialization in the DROCs.
The three DROCs are located in:
- Seattle, WA
- St. Petersburg, Florida
- Washington, District of Columbia
When a veteran files a request for higher level review, that appeal will often be sent to a different office than the one that originally evaluated his or her claim, unless his or her initial claim was adjudicated in Seattle or St. Petersburg. When a HLR reaches the DROC, it is first processed at the intake processing center (IPC), where it is assigned a claim label and updated in the VA electronic claims monitoring system. Then, if not retained by the IPC for further processing, the claim is sent to an adjudication team. After initial processing, the claim is then forwarded to the decision review officer (DRO) who decides whether to grant the issues on appeal.
If you would like more information on filing requests for higher level review, please see this post. If you would like additional help with your own HLR or your claim in general, please contact us at 800-448-5423 or complete our free claim evaluation form.