The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs this week introduced a new application that enables disability compensation claims to be processed more quickly, in a more end-to-end electronic environment--and it's urging veterans and their representatives to use it to get speedier decisions and help reduce the backlog of claims, according to an announcement.
The joint VA-Department of Defense web portal, known as eBenefits, integrates with the internal Veteran Benefits Management System (VBMS), which VA officials say has been fielded at all 56 regional offices ahead of schedule.
Last week, Thomas Murphy, director of the VA Compensation and Pension Service, said at a hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that the agency has made "significant progress" in trying to work through its backlog of more than 800,000 disability claims, cutting the number of claims by roughly 74,000. Outcry over the backlogs came to a fever pitch at the end of April.
The VA aims to completely eliminate the backlog by 2015. Much of the progress, to date, has been credited to the automated VBMS.
"eBenefits allows Veterans to upload digital images of records and evidence to support their claims, bypassing the need to physically mail in personal records and wait for confirmation of receipt," the announcement states. "VA is advising Veterans to gather and submit all relevant medical records and file a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) in eBenefits, which entails entering all available evidence at the time the claim is submitted and verifying to VA that they have no more evidence to submit."
Registered eBenefits users also can track their claim status, and get information on pension, education, health care, home loan eligibility, and vocational rehabilitation and employment programs.
To learn more:
- read the announcement from the VA