VA Claim Processing Update

Posted: April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
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The Department of Veterans Affairs announced 22 MAR the release of 68 new forms that will help speed the processing of Veterans’ disability compensation and pension claims. “VA employees will be able to more quickly process disability claims, since disability benefits questionnaires capture important medical information needed to accurately evaluate Veterans’ claims,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Disability benefits questionnaires are just one of many changes VA is implementing to address the backlog of claims. The new forms bring to 71 the number of documents, called disability benefits questionnaires (DBQs), that guide physicians’ reports of medical findings, ensuring VA has exactly the medical information needed to make a prompt decision. The newly released DBQs follow the initial release of three DBQs for Agent Orange-related conditions. When needed to decide a disability claim for compensation or pension benefits, VA provides Veterans with free medical examinations for the purpose of gathering the necessary medical evidence. Veterans who choose to have their private physicians complete the medical examination can now give their physicians the same form a VA provider would use. It is very important that physicians provide complete responses to all questions on the DBQs. VA cannot pay for a private physician to complete DBQs or for any costs associated with examination or testing. Asking your primary care provider to complete a DBQ is no different than asking your provider to write a letter or note providing medical evidence of a medical condition in support of a claim. The same co-pay rules apply equally to both situations. “By ensuring relevant medical information can be found on one form, we will cut processing time while improving quality,” added Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hicke. Information on DBQ’s can be found at http://benefits.va.gov/disabilityexams. At http://benefits.va.gov/TRANSFORMATION/dbqs/veteraninstruct.asp are step-by-step instructions on completing the forms. A list of the available DBQs for download can be found at http://benefits.va.gov/TRANSFORMATION/dbqs/ListByDBQFormName.asp.
Veterans may file a claim online through the eBenefits web portal at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov. The Department of Defense and VA jointly developed the eBenefits portal as a single secure point of access for online benefit information and tools to perform multiple self-service functions such as checking the status of their claim. Servicemembers may enroll in eBenefits using their Common Access Card at any time during their military service, or before they leave during their Transition Assistance Program briefings. Veterans may also enroll in eBenefits and obtain a Premium account in-person or online depending on their status. [Source: Maryland DVA Director Phillip A. Munley article 22 Mar 2012 ++]

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