VA overcomes obstacles to reach millionth-claim milestone


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Despite many obstacles, including a global pandemic, VBA continues to serve Veterans. This week’s completion of its one-millionth claim is the second fastest rate within a fiscal year that it has completed that many claims, with only last year’s date of May 26 coming sooner in a fiscal year.

This achievement was a result of overcoming supply chain challenges plus targeted funding by the American Rescue Plan to help with faster records scanning.

Overcoming the two biggest hurdles

The two main hurdles to processing claims during the pandemic were due to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) being unable to provide federal records, and Veterans being unable to attend their VA compensation and pension medical exams.

VA and NARA collaborated to resolve a high inventory of federal records requests

VA engaged NARA for solutions to reduce the inventory of records requests. Two personnel actions made the biggest difference. First, VA employees have been temporarily assigned to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) to support records retrieval. These records were then shipped to an offsite scanning team to upload the records into Veterans’ claims files, allowing claims processing to continue.

Second, available shift work was expanded to include opportunities to work on weekends. These strategic moves reduced the inventory of VA requests for claims processing purposes by 90 percent. While previous delays in receiving military personnel records caused setbacks, the records are now received and incorporated into claims files within three to four days.

Medical Disability Examination Office (MDEO) expanded options at a critical time

Due to pandemic safety procedures and protocols, the Medical Disability Examination Office (MDEO) allowed many Veterans the opportunity to complete their examinations through broader use of the virtual Tele-Compensation & Pension examinations and Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) examination procedures.

In May 2020, VA resumed in-person disability compensation and pension (C&P) medical exams performed by VA contractors. Also, as of April 1, 2021, all locations resumed in-person examinations in all 50 states and in 33 overseas locations.

On May 20, 2021, Medical Disability Examination (MDE) vendors completed the one millionth C&P examination. On June 3, 2021, MDE vendors surpassed the total number of C&P examinations completed during Fiscal Year 2020. As of June 6, 2021, MDE vendors have completed a total of 1,074,777 examinations this fiscal year in support of VA.

American Rescue Plan (ARP) offered relief

ARP was signed into law on March 11 by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. The plan allows VA to target the backlog of disability compensation claims caused by the COVID-19 pandemic with funding of $262 million.

By utilizing the overtime funds for claims processors, the goal is to reduce the number of claims pending 125 days or more to 100,000 by October 1, 2022. The use of overtime will support managing the volume of incoming examination results, which is oftentimes the last piece of evidence needed to make a final decision on a claim.

In addition to the ARP funds, Congress has authorized an additional $150 million to accelerate record-scanning; VA is seeking additional funding for this project to further reduce or eliminate any delays caused by third-party requests for federal records to support claims processing.

More information

Information on the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) can be found here.

Information on resumption of C&P exams can be found here.

Information on the American Rescue Plan can be found here.


Angela Childers-Conner is a marketing and communications specialist with VBA’s Office of Strategic Engagement.

Author

Veterans Benefits Administration

Comments

  1. Ann Morris    

    My husband of 40 years died 2/23/21 He was so ashamed of the V A. he started receiving his disability in 2013 1, 440 a month and in 2017 they took half of that away with 4 differant excuses .His sickness became so much worse in 2017 It took hospice getting involved to get his money right and then they said he was receiving 10.00 more in SSI and they planed on lowering it back to 840.00 unless he could give them one good reason he should receive that larger amount …i said to them ..He Earned IT. 1968 To 1972 ARMY. And I’m still waiting on survivers benefits and its now June.

  2. Jason B    

    Wtf??? Denied, denied, denied, denied, denied, denied, denied, approved, denied, denied, denied, denied, denied, denied, approved, denied, denied, denied, denied, denied, denied, denied,

    Yeah thats extremely hard to achieve

  3. John Milton    

    It is load of crap. The VA is only trying to cover their butts by clearing out backlogs of claims by using civilian drs. The game still goes on. Denying legitimate claims that has valid evidence for the sake of clearing up backlogs. Knowing that the time for the Veteran to refile and contest will gives the VA time to have an excuse. Or the patient is no longer alive to defend their claim. Terrible excuse, awful way to treat members that anybody that stood up for America.

  4. Victim of the VA    

    Denying appointments and denying claims took no effort. Headline should state VA pays contracting companies (such as the scumballs at VES) to quickly deny claims.

    [Editor: Only VA employees working at VA regional benefits offices can make decisions on compensation claims. Contractors are not part of the decision process.]

  5. Lashun Watkins    

    Haaaa!! What a bunch of b.s. right here! Celebrating while still not actually helping.

  6. Andre Bios    

    Its sad that we have to fight the VA for help and have to prove our claims happened during military service. The VA needed to see pictures of me serving in Kuwait and Iraq before they approved some of my claims. Still fighting for the other claims. The VA take their time, they pass the buck to other departments. By the time you hear back from them. The claim is old and you have to file again. Veterans are dying. Families are losing all respect of the US Government. Between 20-30 of my Brothers and Sisters are losing the battle for help that was promised!

  7. Sandra Adams    

    Overcome obstacles? What a joke….VA has not been of help whatsoever to my veteran husband. Help with care giving? Nope….gotta fill out another form. Don’t know the answers required and veteran with Alzheimer’s? Too bad, no help from VA. But yet another letter saying enclosed form needs to be completed but no form was enclosed so I called the VA. Oh, who is the letter addressed to? The veteran with Alzheimer’s? Too bad, can’t talk to you, his caregiver, wife of 56 years and the one with his POA.

    Congratulations VA!! He died so you avoided providing any help, no funds you say you will allow for cremation, no nothing!!

    We never asked VA for anything until we needed help and it was not even acknowledged. We can’t even shop on base as we had hoped. Way to take care of your veterans….you should be so proud.

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