Rule gives veterans more help with benefits claims

Veterans will get more help from the Veterans Affairs Department when submitting benefits claims under a final rule published in the Federal Register Wednesday. The rule, which took effect Wednesday, implements the provisions of the 2000 Veterans Claims Assistance Act, signed into law by President Clinton last year. The law strengthens VA's current "duty to assist" program, which requires the agency to help veterans gather service records, medical records and other documents necessary to file a complete benefits claim. The rule directs VA to inform veterans of the information necessary to complete their claims, inform claimants when important medical or military service information is missing, provide medical examinations for disabled veterans who cannot afford medical care and provide any other appropriate and necessary assistance to veterans. The agency must tell veterans if it cannot find pertinent claims information, and give them the opportunity to submit personal evidence for information the VA cannot obtain. When submitting claims, veterans have a year to submit any additional evidence the VA requests. The rule also allows veterans to reopen a denied claim by submitting "new and material evidence," documentation that has not previously been submitted to the agency and that serves to substantiate the claim. The VA's slow and inefficient claims processing system has been repeatedly criticized in recent years. The agency has tried to improve its claims processing accuracy by using case management techniques to speed the process and reorganizing its field offices into clusters intended to collaborate with one another. Despite VA's attempts at reform, its claims processing system is still error-prone. According to a June report from the General Accounting Office, VA reported errors in 41 percent of the claims it processed during fiscal 2000. The same report said an agency training program designed to reduce mistakes in processing veterans' disability benefits is at least two years behind schedule.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.