Veterans

April 26, 2013

VA expedites decisions for long-standing claims

WASHINGTON (AFNS) – The Veterans Affairs Department is expediting compensation claims decisions for veterans who have waited one year or longer, VA officials announced today.

Effective today, VA claims raters will make provisional decisions on the oldest claims on hand, officials said, which will allow veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits more quickly, if eligible.

Veterans will be able to submit additional evidence for consideration a full year after the provisional rating, before VA issues a final decision.

“Too many veterans wait too long for a decision, and this has never been acceptable,” VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said. “That is why we are implementing an aggressive plan to eliminate the backlog in 2015. This initiative is the right thing to do now for veterans who have waited the longest.”

Provisional decisions will be based on all evidence provided to date by the veteran or obtained on their behalf by VA. If a VA medical examination is needed to decide the claim, it will be ordered and expedited.

“Issuing provisional decisions not only provides veterans with applicable benefits much more quickly, but also gives them an additional one-year safety net to submit further evidence should it become available,” said Allison Hickey, VA’s undersecretary for benefits. “Our door will remain open, and if a veteran has additional evidence, their case will be fast-tracked.”

If any increase is determined to be warranted based on the additional evidence received, benefits will be retroactive to the date the claim was initially filed. The initiative protects the veteran’s right to appeal the decision. If no further evidence is received within that year, VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration will inform the veteran that the rating is final and will provide information on the standard appeals process.

VA will continue to prioritize claims for homeless veterans and those claiming financial hardship, the terminally ill, former prisoners of war, Medal of Honor recipients and veterans filing fully developed claims.

Claims for wounded warriors separating from the military for medical reasons will continue to be handled separately and on a priority basis with the Defense Department through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System. Wounded Warriors separating through IDES currently receive VA compensation benefits in an average of 61 days following their separation from service.

As a result of this initiative, metrics used to track benefits claims will experience significant fluctuations, officials said. The focus on processing the oldest claims will cause the overall measure of the average length of time to complete a claim — currently 286 days — to skew, rising significantly in the near term because of the number of old claims that will be completed, they explained.

Over time, they added, as the backlog of oldest claims is cleared and more of the incoming claims are processed electronically through VA’s new paperless processing system, VA’s average time to complete claims will improve significantly. In addition, the “average days pending” metric — or the average age of a claim in the inventory — will decrease, since the oldest claims will no longer be part of the inventory.

While compensation claims are pending, eligible veterans are able to receive health care and other benefits from VA. Veterans who have served in recent conflicts are eligible for five years of free health care from VA. More than 55 percent of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are using VA health care, officials said, a rate greater than that of previous generations of veterans.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

SAPR: More than just an Air Force acronym

As an Airman and a senior leader in the Air Force Reserve, I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impacts of sexual assault on an Air Force organization. Regardless of your unit or military status, Active or Reserve, no one is immune to these impacts nor absolved of their responsibility to combat the instances of sexual assault...
 
 

ACC, PACAF commanders confirmed

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Herbert Carlisle will be the next commander of Air Combat Command and ACC Vice Commander Lt. Gen. Lori Robinson will be the next commander of Pacific Air Forces, according to a Senate confirmation vote July 23. Headquartered at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, ACC leads America’s Combat Air...
 
 
Flooding_pict

Flooding still underway this year, avoid water runoff problems

While rain in a desert climate is usually welcome, too much of a good thing can a problem for travelers, especially newcomers who may not be familiar with how quickly driving and other travel conditions can change. “There hav...
 

 

Cyber Airmen create virtual help desk

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) — The Air Force Enterprise Service Desk is going virtual, and Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland will be the first to see it as it rolls out across the Air Force, starting the end of August. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh has challenged...
 
 

AFSOUTH strengthens space ties with partner nations

Three officers from the Dominican Republic, Peruvian and Brazilian militaries partnered with active-duty and guard Airmen at Davis-Monthan for a rare opportunity to work collectively on the space component of PANAMAX 2014, Aug. 8-15. For a third year, partner nation participants took part in the space element of PANAMAX, an annual U.S. Southern Command sponsored...
 
 

The Judge Advocate General’s Corps announces law school programs

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) — Officers interested in continuing to serve the Air Force as a judge advocate are able to apply to the Funded Legal Education Program, or FLEP, and the Excess Leave Program, ELP. Officers selected for FLEP have the opportunity to attend law school at the Air Force’s expense while...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin