Veterans

July 3, 2013

VA processes nearly all two-year-old disability claims

Moves to complete those older than one year

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced recently that as a result of the initiative launched in April to expedite disability compensation claims decisions for veterans who have a waited a year or longer, more than 65,000-claims – or 97 percent of all claims over two years old in the inventory – have been eliminated from the backlog.

Veterans Benefits Administration staff will now focus their efforts on completing the disability claims of veterans who have been waiting over one year for a decision, while completing the final batch of oldest claims in progress.

“Over the past two months, VA has been dedicated to providing earned benefits to the veterans who have waited the longest,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “Thanks to our hard-working VBA employees, we have completed nearly all claims that have been pending two years or longer. We’ve made great progress, but know much work remains to be done to eliminate the backlog in 2015.”

“The success of this phase of the effort was due in part to the implementation of mandatory overtime for the Veterans Benefits Administration’s claims processing staff, as well as the dedicated support of physicians from the Veterans Health Administration, who expedited exams to provide medical evidence needed to rate these pending claims,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.

The remaining two-year-old claims will be finalized in the coming days except for those that are outstanding due to unique circumstances, such as the unavailability of a claimant for a needed medical exam, military service, vacation, or travel overseas.

In May, VA announced that it was mandating overtime for claims processors in its 56 regional benefits offices to increase production of compensations claims decisions, which will continue through the end of fiscal year 2013. Today, VA has the lowest number of claims in its inventory since August 2011 and has reduced the number of claims in the VA backlog – claims pending over 125 days – by 10 percent since the initiative began.

Under this initiative, VA claims raters may make final or provisional decisions on the oldest claims in the inventory, which will allow Veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits more quickly, if eligible. Veterans are able to submit additional evidence for consideration a full year after the provisional rating before VA issues a final decision. If no further evidence is received within that year, VBA will inform veterans that their ratings are final and provide information on the standard appeals process, which can be found at http://www.bva.va.gov/.  If a veteran disagrees with a final decision and chooses to appeal, the appeal is entered into the appellate processing system, and is not reflected in the claims inventory.

VA continues to prioritize disability claims for homeless veterans, those experiencing extreme financial hardship, the terminally ill, former Prisoners of War, Medal of Honor recipients and veterans filing Fully Developed Claims, which is the quickest way for veterans to receive a decision on their compensation claim (http://www.benefits.va.gov/fdc/).

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. Wounded Warriors separating through IDES currently receive VA compensation benefits in an average of 61 days following their separation from service.

The VA’s inventory is comprised mostly of supplemental claims from veterans already receiving disability compensation who are seeking to address worsening conditions or claim additional disabilities.  Regardless of the status of compensation claims, veterans who have served in combat since Nov. 11, 1998, are eligible for five years of free medical care for most conditions from VA.  This eligibility was enacted through the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008.

Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense/VA web portal eBenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov. 

 




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


 
 

 

DAR honors retiree

Senior Airman Devante Williams Col. James Kossler, 56th Mission Support Group commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Smith, 56th MSG superintendent, presents Theodore Meyer with a certificate granted to him by the National Society of the Daughters of American Revolution May 7 at Luke Air Force Base to honor his 20 years of military service....
 
 

Career Technical Training Track: What’s in it for you

Beginning a new career as a civilian employee when leaving the military can be filled with exciting opportunities to grow both professionally and personally. In order to succeed, one must be ready to take time to manage all aspects of a new career. As part of the enhanced Transition GPS (goals, plans, success) program, service...
 
 
Courtesy photo

USS Arizona’s oldest crewman passes at 100

Courtesy photo Retired Lt. Cmdr. Joe Langdell salutes Sailors as he walks in a parade. Joe joined the U.S. Navy in 1940 and first served on the battleship USS New York. He was selected for an officer training program and in 194...
 

 
Courtesy photo

Veteran’s life one of service to country, MLB

Courtesy photo Top Gun — In 1971, Ensch was assigned to Navy Fighter Squadron 161, NAS Miramar, California. He continued deployments to Southeast Asia on the USS Midway. He was credited with two confirmed MiG-17 shoot-downs a...
 
 
Staff Sgt. Scott Seyer

Unknown ‘Soldier’ returns home

Staff Sgt. Scott Seyer Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Blassie, Vietnam War veteran aviator, was shot down in 1972 in South Vietnam. In 1998 a DNA test identified his remains and he was removed from the Tomb of the Unknowns and burie...
 
 

VA helps service members prepare for separation, job market

The Department of Veterans Affairs new VA Benefits I and II briefings are now available at Luke Air Force Base as part of the revamped Transition Assistance Program. The goal of the redesigned TAP, now known as Transition GPS, is to provide transitioning service members with a set of value-added, individually tailored training programs and...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>