Weatherford Democrat

Top News

April 28, 2013

VETERANS’ CORNER: VA moves to expedite veterans’ claims

By JIM VINES

The backlog of veterans claims processing has been disastrous over the past few years. On April 19, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced initiatives to expedite compensation claims decisions for veterans who have waited one year or longer.

VA claims raters will make provisional decisions on the oldest claims in inventory, which will allow veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits more quickly, if eligible. Veterans will be able to submit additional evidence for consideration a full year after the provisional rating, before the VA issues a final decision.

Too many veterans have waited too long for a decision on their benefits and the VA finds this to be unacceptable, and that is why the VA is implementing this aggressive plan to eliminate the backlog. This initiative is the right thing to do for veterans who have waited the longest.

Provisional decisions will be based on all evidence provided to date by the veteran or obtained on their behalf by the VA. If a VA medical examination is needed to decide the claim, it will be ordered and expedited.

Provisional decisions not only provide veterans with applicable benefits much more quickly, but also gives them an additional one-year safety net to to submit further evidence should it become available. The VA will consider a veterans additional evidence, in which case they will be fast-tracked.

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. The evidence protects the veterans right to appeal the decision. If no further evidence is received within that year, VBA will inform the veteran that their rating is final and provide information on the standard appeals process, which can be found at www.bva.va.gov.

As a result of this initiative, metrics used to track benefits claims will experience significant fluctuations. The focus on processing the oldest claims will cause the overall measure of the average length of time to complete a claim, currently 286 days to skew, rising significantly in the near term because of the number of old claims that will be completed. Over time, as the backlog of oldest claims is cleared and more of the incoming claims are processed electronically through the VA’s new paperless processing system, the VA’s average time to complete claims will significantly improve. In addition, the average days pending metric, or average age of a claim in the inventory, will decease since the oldest claims will no longer be part of the inventory.

Text Only
Top News
Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Poll

The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

Yes
No
Undecided
Don't care
     View Results