Veterans Who Waited a Year or More Will Have Claims Expedited, Says Department of Veterans Affairs
Effective as of April 19th, 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs says it will expedite the claims process for veterans who have had to wait a year or more to have their claims processed.
According to a press release from the Department of Veterans Affairs, VA claims raters will make provisional decisions on the oldest claims in their inventory. This will allow veterans to collect benefits more quickly, if eligible.
Since the claims process has been delayed for so long, veterans who disagree with the rating their claim receives can submit additional evidence, even though it has been more than a year since their initial claim was submitted. If the veteran’s status has changed in the last year, they can also submit more evidence before their claim is processed. If a physical exam is needed to finalize the provisional decision, the order will be expedited. Otherwise, provisional decisions will be made based on all evidence in the current claim.
“Issuing provisional decisions not only provides Veterans with applicable benefits much more quickly, but also gives them an additional one-year safety net to submit further evidence should it become available. Our door will remain open and if a Veteran has additional evidence, their case will be fast tracked,” said Allison Hickey, Undersecretary for Benefits.
“Too many Veterans wait too long for a decision, and this has never been acceptable,” said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. “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.”
If the Department of Veterans Affairs determines that increases in benefits are warranted after additional evidence is received, benefits will begin retroactive to the date of the claim.
Because the Department of Veterans Affairs is undertaking this initiative, metrics used to track benefits claims will fluctuate.
Throughout the initiative, the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to prioritize claims for homeless veterans, and those facing financial hardship, terminal illness, who are former Prisoners of War, Medal of Honor recipients, and Veterans filing Fully Developed Claims.
Department of Veterans Affairs Only One Government Agency with Long Claims Process
Whether or not you are a veteran, you may been government aid in your time of crisis. The Department of Veterans Affairs exists to help veterans of the US’s wars, but other government agencies, such as the Department of Social Security, exist to help civilian members of the population when they are faced with old age or disability.
In many ways, disabled veteran’s benefits involve issues and challenges that are very similar to those we experience in helping non-veterans apply for and obtain Social Security disability benefits.
Unlike many actual disabilities, disability ratings determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are not permanent. If you think that an initial disability rating given to you by the VA is too low, there are steps you can take to appeal the decision and have it changed. Likewise, there is also a process in place to address the needs of disabled veterans whose disabilities have grown worse over time.
To be entitled to service-connected benefits, a veteran must prove that his disability was the result of military service or medical treatment by the VA hospital and was not the result of his own willful misconduct.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Disability Claims through the Department of Veterans Affairs
To learn more about the VA disability process, contact Strom Law Firm’s South Carolina Veteran’s Disability lawyers. The veterans administration benefit attorneys at The Strom Law Firm, LLC can provide you with representation and services needed to deal with either of these situations. This may include a careful analysis of reports from your initial disability evaluation, gathering documentation from new medical providers and healthcare experts, and using other resources as needed to prove that a change in your rating is warranted. We offer free consultations, so contact us today for help. 803.252.4800