THE BLOG

Big Improvements in VA Self-service for Disability Claims Processing

06/20/2013 11:33 am ET | Updated Aug 20, 2013

Well, you can use something like TurboTax to do your own taxes. You get the right records, and use their software to submit an entire package.

Sometimes a CPA has to get involved, and they can use their own expert software to get the job done. In either case, getting the right docs can be a pain, and then they need to be scanned in and sent to the right place. Once docs go electronic, they're easier to get to the right places, and harder to lose.

Veterans Affairs is now deploying something real similar. Looks like it's decently user-friendly, adjusted for the way that vets and veteran service orgs (VSOs) really operate. The software also accounts for all the laws and regulations, the rules that VA has gotta follow to write checks.

A vet would start up eBenefits, online, click on "Apply for Disability Compensation" and start filling in forms. In many cases, data fields get filled in automatically.

2013-06-20-pat.jpg

VA employee helps an Army veteran apply online for benefits at recent Association of the US Army conference.

Hopefully, the vet can get some help and file a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) verifying that there's not more info to submit. FDCs get done relatively fast, and even if something's missing, the claim is queued up fairly quickly.

A vet can get help from a VSO, they have the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal. A VSO officer can check out the claim and move it along the process.

For more details check here and here.

Benefits to this stuff mean that the right evidence and documents can get to the right places much faster, resulting in way faster processing. With some luck, the huge stacks of paper at VA Regional Offices will start to shrink.

Web-literate vets should find that the online part of this is much like stuff they already use. Gathering the right data maybe still be a challenge. The VA's on it, getting VSO like Disabled America Vets and also the Legion. I'm following up to the extent a nerd can do.