The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it is piloting a new automated program for processing disability claims. The new program has been created to deal with a substantial backlog facing the agency, which often faces significant delays in processing disability claims. By automating much of the process, it is hoped that this backlog will be addressed, helping veterans to access the benefits they deserve far more quickly.
What is This New Automated Program?
This new program is a pilot project through the VA’s newly created Office of Automated Benefit Delivery. This program uses new automation technology to process claims far more quickly than people can do on their own. Whereas the current review process handles claims with an average time of 100 days, this program is able to handle a claim in just one to two days.
Why Was This Program Implemented?
The VA has a notorious problem with quickly processing disability claims from veterans. Right now, there are an estimated 260,000 outstanding claims in its backlog, which has increased from 70,000 since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to applications taking months to be processed, with appeals often taking a year or longer. As a result, the rate of claims processing has slowed to a crawl, and even with more claims processors being hired, it will still be some time before they can work through the entire backlog.
How Does the Program Work?
The program goes through a veteran’s disability application in the same way that a claims processor would, identifying potential issues with the documentation and determining the nature and extent of medical evidence for a veteran’s condition. If there is not sufficient medical evidence, they are automatically flagged for a Compensation and Pension examination (C&P exam). This automated process helps reduce unnecessary interviews and helps to streamline the overall process.
How Does This Affect Veterans?
If the program proves to be successful, it will be extremely helpful for ensuring veterans get their disability claims processed as quickly as possible. It will also eliminate the need for unnecessary medical examinations, freeing up the VA’s resources for cases that absolutely need them. This way, veterans can ensure they get the benefits they deserve as quickly as possible, without needing to wait for months before even getting an answer about their case. If you have had trouble with your VA disability claim, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling disability claims cases as soon as possible.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.