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.


 
 

 
Grace Lee

Korean War vet swaps stories with Luke pilots

Grace Lee Capt. Brian Dudley, 62nd Fighter Squadron A-flight commander and instructor pilot, chats with retired U.S. Navy officer, Anthony Canzonetta, Korean War test pilot, June 13 at the 62nd FS’s heritage room prior to lea...
 
 
Senior Airman 
DEVANTE WILLIAMS

WWII veteran shares story

Senior AirmanDEVANTE WILLIAMS Retired Chief Master Sgt. Harold Bergbower, 26th Cavalry Regiment air mechanic, is assisted by Debra Bergbower, his daughter, during a visit to Focus 56 as guest speaker May 15 at Luke Air Force Ba...
 
 
140411-F-BZ180-001

WW II, Korean War veteran retires at Luke

Courtesy photo A young Master Sgt. Marion Kiszczak, enlisted in the Army Air Corps Sept. 15, 1942. Kiszczak retired in 1969 from the 62nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron at K.I Sawyer Air Force Base, Mich. He returned to his old s...
 

 
140327-F-LC301-076

Veterans in need receive hope

Members from Luke Air Force Base tour the Victory Place III veteran community in Phoenix. U.S. Veterans Initiative, in partnership with Cloudbreak Communities, provide supportive and case management services to about 30 veteran...
 
 

Veterans’ homelessness drops 24 percent since 2010

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Nov. 21 that a new national report shows a 24 percent reduction in homelessness among Veterans since 2010. The report also showed an 8 percent reduction between January 2012 and January 2013. The decline keeps the Obama administration on track to...
 
 

VA offers dental insurance program

The VA is partnering with Delta Dental and MetLife to allow eligible Veterans, plus family members receiving care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program, to purchase affordable dental insurance beginning Nov. 15, VA officials announced recenlty. More than 8 million Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care can choose to purchase one of...
 




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