Veterans Groups Fire Back Against Proposed VA Changes

Veterans may be interested in the response of some veterans groups to proposed changes to the benefit claims process from the Department of Veterans Affairs. On Oct. 31, the VA published proposals to administer different claim approval processes for claims filed by paper and claims filed electronically. The veteran groups upset, such as Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion, say that the proposed changes unfairly discriminate against veterans who do not have access to a computer because their paper applications will be treated as second-class claims.

A particular point of contention is the way that the VA proposes to date paper and electronic claims. Paper claims would be assigned a file date of when they are completed. However, electronic claims would be assigned a file date when they are started as long as they are completed within one year. The date is important because once veterans’ disability claims are approved, they are paid retroactively back to the file date. Those with an earlier file date would receive greater retroactive compensation.

The VA said in a statement that it is simply trying to streamline the claims process. The department has a backlog of claims that it is trying to work through by 2015. The VFW said that the new rules may slow the number of new claims and help the department clear the backlog, but it would do so at the cost of benefits for American veterans.

Many veterans have sacrificed their bodies, abilities and even their lives in protection of the United States. Some of these veterans do not receive the help that they need upon their return home. Navigating the administrative and bureaucratic requirements of government agencies can be complicated. An attorney with experience in assisting veterans could help a veteran through the process and advocate on the veteran’s behalf in any hearings or legal proceedings.

Source: Military.com, “VA Hit on Planned Disability Rules Changes“, VA Hit on Planned Disability Rules Changes, January 02, 2014.