Veterans

December 11, 2013

VA official outlines progress in reducing claims backlog

A senior Veterans Affairs Department official Dec. 11 outlined progress made by the Veterans Benefits Administration in reducing the backlog of veterans disability compensation and pension claims by 36 percent since March, attributing the success to the combined impact of transformation initiatives and increased employee productivity.

Allison A. Hickey, undersecretary of veterans affairs for benefits, testified at a hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

We know there is much more work to be done to reach our goal of eliminating the disability claims backlog in 2015,î Hickey said. But Im encouraged that the improved tools and processes weve put in place so far are having a real impact so that we may better serve our nations veterans, their survivors and their families.î

Hickey detailed the elements of the Veterans Benefits Administrations transformation plan, which includes retraining and reorganizing its workforce, streamlining business processes, and building and implementing new technology solutions. With each transformation milestone, she said, VBA is successfully moving away from a paper-bound, manual process to improve benefits delivery through paperless claims processing. She also noted that if full funding is received, mandatory overtime for VBA claims processors, which helped to bring down the backlog this year, will continue for much of 2014.

The undersecretary highlighted several accomplishments in the testimony:

  • Decreasing the pending inventory of claims by 22 percent;
  • Decreasing the number of claims in the backlog pending for more than 125 days by 36 percent;
  • Increasing claim-level accuracy from about 83 percent in 2011 to 90 percent today;
  • Increasing medical issue-level accuracy to about 97 percent today;
  • Completing processing of 99.9 percent of all claims that were pending for more than two years;
  • Completing processing of 97 percent of all claims that were pending for more than one year through the end of October;
  • Converting more than 360 million images of paper claims documents into a digital format for electronic processing; and
  • Establishing more than 3.2 million veteran, service member and family member accounts in eBenefits, the joint Defense Department/VA Web portal for accessing and tracking VA benefits.

Also, Hickey said, VAs Web-based, paperless electronic claims processing solution, the Veterans Benefits Management System, or VBMS, was deployed to all 56 of VAs regional benefits offices across the country, six months ahead of schedule. VBMS has also been fielded to the Appeals Management Center, the Records Management Center, the Board of Veterans Appeals, VAs National Call Center, and all VA Medical Centers.

Currently, about 75 percent of the VBAs claims inventory is in digital form for electronic processing in VBMS a percentage that is growing daily, Hickey said, adding that VBMS will continue to add new features and capability.

Hickey thanked the committee members for their support, noting that VA will rely on their continued support for resourcing the information technology and automation advancements needed to meet the departments goal of eliminating the backlog in 2015. In fiscal year 2013 alone, VA provided more than $59 billion in compensation benefits to 4 million veterans and survivors, and more than $5 billion in pension benefits to more than 515,000 veterans and survivors.

VA officials urge veterans and separating service members who are planning to file a disability claim to do so by filing fully developed claims, known as FDCs, electronically through eBenefits. Veterans and separating service members who need help filing their claims can contact their local veteran service organization for assistance, officials said.

Under current law, veterans filing initial disability compensation claims as FDCs now through Aug. 5, 2015, may be eligible for up to one year of retroactive benefits.

Registered eBenefits users with a Premium account can file a claim online, track the status, and access a variety of other benefits, including pension, education, health care, home loan eligibility, and vocational rehabilitation and employment programs.




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


 
 

 

Headlines December 19, 2014

News: SpaceX’s attempt to land rocket on floating barge postponed - It’s set to be one of the most groundbreaking moments in humanity’s six decades of space exploration. Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill into law - President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Dec. 16, officially ending any threat of a government...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 




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>