Veterans

May 24, 2013

Joint effort aims to promote use of fully developed claims

The Department of Veterans Affairs, Disabled American Veterans and The American Legion have announced a new partnership to help reduce the compensation claims backlog for veterans.

The effort – the Fully Developed Claims Community of Practice – is a key part of VA’s overall transformation plan to end the backlog in 2015 and process claims within 125 days at 98 percent accuracy. VA can process FDCs in half the time it takes for a traditionally filed claim.

“VA prides itself on our ongoing partnership with organizations that represent Veterans throughout the claims process,” said Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.  “A Fully Developed Claim is the most effective way  to ensure a veteran’s claim never reaches the backlog—and is the basis for this new initiative between VA and what we expect will be an ever-increasing number of veterans service organizations and others who represent veterans at various points of the claims process. ”

“This new initiative takes a common-sense approach to working smarter to better serve our injured and ill veterans,” said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Barry Jesinoski “DAV is pleased to be working with the VA to help improve the disability compensation system.”

“We have been working with VA since last December on its fully developed claims process,” said James E. Koutz, national commander of The American Legion. “Teams of our experts have already gone to VA regional offices in Denver, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and other cities to help identify best practices for FDCs, and to further train our own service officers.” Koutz said the Legion’s next visit in support of the FDC program is planned for June at the VA regional office in Reno, Nev.

Claims are considered to be “fully developed” when veterans submit all available supporting evidence, like private treatment records and notice of federal treatment records, to VA at the time they first file a formal claim and certify they have no more evidence to submit. This is the information that VA needs to make a determination on a disability claim. The FDC program supports the sharing of best practices across veterans service organizations, who help thousands of veterans each year with their compensation claims, to identify up front all evidence necessary to support a veteran’s claim.  Veterans then certify that they have no additional evidence to submit, and VA can process the claim in half the time it takes for a traditionally filed claim.

VSOs have long played an integral role in submitting veterans claims – often with representatives working within VA regional offices.  VA has consulted with them throughout the development and implementation of VA’s plan to end the backlog in 2015 to ensure best practices and their unique insights were incorporated.  The American Legion and DAV are the first to step forward to work with VA on the FDC program, and that program has led to a much more efficient process.  Meaningful progress will be felt by increasing numbers of Veterans as more VSOs participate with VA in the FDC program. This initiative is just the latest example of the collaboration between VA and VSOs.  In July, VA held a workshop to obtain the views of VSO representatives  and to provide them with information on the effort to eliminate the claims backlog.  The main focus of the workshop was VA’s emphasis on the shared goal of better serving Veterans and positive impact of filing Fully Developed Claims. These workshops will be replicated in VBA regional offices across the country.

“VA will continue to work with our VSO partners to provide the world-class health care and benefits that veterans have earned through their service,” said Undersecretary Hickey.

This is the latest effort in support of the secretary’s plan to reduce the backlog. Last month, the VA announced an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for veterans who have waited one year or longer. On April 19, VA began prioritizing claims decisions for veterans who have been waiting the longest, by providing provisional decisions that allow eligible veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits quickly. With a provisional decision, a veteran has a year to submit additional information to support a claim before the decision becomes final.

May 15, VA announced that it is mandating overtime for claims processors in its 56 regional benefits offices through the end of fiscal year 2013 to help eliminate the backlog, with continued emphasis on high-priority 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. As of May 17, the paperless claims processing system known as the Veterans Benefits Management System, or VBMS, has been deployed to 46 out of 56 regional office locations, and about 18 percent of VA’s current claim inventory is in an electronic format.

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

Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense-VA web portal eBenefits at http://www.ebenefits.va.gov and find information about filing Fully Developed Claims here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/transformation/fastclaims/. Service members returning from active duty in combat theatres are eligible for five years of VA medical care – regardless of the status of any disability claim submitted.  Medical care is not withheld while disability claims are under review.  For more information on enrolling in VA health benefits, please visit http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/.




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


 
 

 
Airman 1st Class 
CORY GOSSETT

MRA graduates 11,000 strong

Airman 1st ClassCORY GOSSETT Detachment 12, 372nd Training Squadron mission-ready Airmen perform a preflight check July 21 on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Luke Air Force Base. The MRA program teaches Airmen F-16 launching, recove...
 
 

In your comfort zone? Get out!

Being promoted means you are ready to take on the next level of roles and responsibilities, but how do you prepare for the next level of responsibilities? One tactic that has worked for me is to step outside my comfort zone. By doing this, I’ve learned more about the Air Force and experienced more situations...
 
 

Service before self, but don’t forget about self

As Airmen, we live and breathe the Air Force core values on a daily basis. However, don’t let our second core value, service before self, distract you from actually taking care of yourself. In my 13 years of active-duty service, there is one regret I hear most from people both in and out of the...
 

 
Senior Airman Jenna Sarvinski

Life, Liberty, pursuit of happiness brings Kenyan student to America

Senior Airman Jenna Sarvinski Senior Airman Robert Cheruiyot, 56th Medical Operations Squadron medical technician, greets Gen. Julius Waweru Karangi, chief of the defense forces, Kenya. Karangi and Cheruiyot met in a chance enc...
 
 

News Briefs August 1, 2014

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will conduct an active-shooter exercise Aug. 15. The exercise will include military and local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. On and off-base residents should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruptions of customer service operations. Expect to see simulated explosions, smoke, role players depicting...
 
 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Staff Sgt. Gregory Scharp 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Phase floor chief Hometown: Sparta, New Jersey Years in service: Six Family: Wife, Maggie Education: Community College of the Air Force aircraft maintenance technology Previous assignments: Moody Air Force Base, Georgia; and Osan Air Base, South Korea Inspirations: Music and my wife Goals: To complete a bachelor’s...
 




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