In 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) created a goal of processing all new veterans’ disability claims within 125 days of filing with a 98% accuracy rate by 2015. The past 4 years, with a backlog of claims reaching over 800,000, there has been progress but a long road ahead.
The major points of the VA’s plan for claim processing improvements already in place are:
- The claims transformation initiatives program, currently running at 4 pilot programs and expected to be put into full action at 12 additional regional offices by the end of 2012.
- Quality Review Teams, composed of local quality review specialists who evaluate regional office employees and processes.
- Simplified and Standardized Rating Notification Letters, giving veterans a single, simple decision letter regarding their disability claim with a summary of the evidence considered and reasoning for their decision.
The claims transformation initiatives will be using several methods to target many aspects of the disability claims process where errors and delays are most often seen. Some of the methods used include:
- A central Intake Processing Center - sorts claim documentation in a triage system;
- Segmented Processing Lanes – to fast-track critical claims for faster decisions;
- Cross-Functional Teams – to better manage claims by eliminating the need for reworking claims; and
- The Veterans Benefits Management System – to electronically access and store claimant documents.
As more regional offices begin to use the new systems and practices it’s hoped that veterans will see improvements in the lengthy wait times many experience while applying for veterans’ disability benefits. While the new systems slowly begin to help, a disabled veteran can find claim support now through the services of a veterans’ disability attorney.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from LaVan & Neidenberg is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today – 1-888-234-5758.