VA to Fast-Track Oldest Disability Claims

lenetstan/Shutterstock.com

The Veterans Affairs Department on Friday announced that it would fast-track disability claims from vets who have been waiting a year or longer for benefits.

The move will allow many vets to receive compensation more quickly, and give them an extra year to submit any additional evidence that would increase those benefits. Vets will receive their benefits immediately after the department issues a “provisional decision” based on documentation filed to date for a claim. If a vet needs a medical exam to begin receiving benefits right away, that will be expedited as well, the department said.

VA then will issue a final decision on a veteran’s benefits within a year. “If any increase is determined to be warranted based on the additional evidence received, benefits will be retroactive to the date the claim was initially filed,” stated a department press release. Vets also can appeal claims decisions.

“Too many veterans wait too long for a decision, and this has never been acceptable,” said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in a statement. “That is why we are implementing an aggressive plan to eliminate the backlog in 2015. This initiative is the right thing to do now for veterans who have waited the longest.”

The department recently has come under intense pressure from lawmakers, vets groups and others to fix the broken claims process. The claims backlog, now somewhere around 900,000, has been a longstanding problem for the department. It currently takes 286 days to complete a claim, and the department warned that the new initiative to process the oldest claims first will further delay benefits for some other vets. VA said as it shifts over to an electronic claims system, the department’s average processing “will significantly improve,” the press release said.

VA said it will continue to prioritize claims for homeless vets, those claiming financial hardship, the terminally ill, former prisoners of war, Medal of Honor recipients and vets filing fully developed claims, while it expedites the older claims.

While compensation claims are pending, eligible vets can receive health care and other benefits from VA. Veterans who have served in recent conflicts are eligible for 5 years of free health care from the department.

(Image via lenetstan/Shutterstock.com)

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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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