Health

VA Integrates Electronic Systems to Speed Claims Processing

Veterans Affairs

The Veterans Affairs Department has integrated its eBenefits portal with its automated Veterans Benefits Management System in an effort department officials say will expedite claims processing.

VA set up the eBenefits website in 2009 in partnership with the Defense Department. Its integration with VBMS “marks a major milestone in VA’s transformation from paper claims records to a fully digital operating environment, one of the keys to VA’s goal to eliminate the disability claims backlog by the end of 2015.”

Veterans use the eBenefits portal to establish eligibility for benefits. They can then use the system to upload digital images of records and evidence to support their claims, eliminating the need to mail in paper documents and wait for confirmation of receipt.

VA said veterans who file claims through eBenefits will have their compensation backdated to when they entered the claim information into the system. Veterans also can use the system to have representatives from a veterans’ service organization -- such as the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans or Veterans of Foreign Wars -- assist with their claims by filing an electronic power of attorney form.

Those representatives can then review the contents of a Veteran’s claim, track its status, and add additional information when needed.

VA said it will still accept claims in paper form, but warned that processing may take longer than for an electronically-submitted claim.

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// July 24