When Veterans make a claim, it sometimes can take an excessively long period. If one is already struggling with a disability, the process should be easier to make the Veteran’s life less stressful.
Suppose you are a Veteran advocate or attorney seeking to help your Veteran to make a claim. In that case, it is important that you know the resources at your disposal to have your Veteran get the proper benefits they deserve. In this article, we will go over the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) and guide you through the process of how you can make a claim.
We will also inform you on how we at Berry Law can help back up your claims for your service-related disabilities. As a Veteran, you are entitled to benefits and compensation for the injuries that you might have sustained from your time in service.
As a Veteran, you may have a multitude of claims you have made through the VA to get the benefits owed to you for your service. However, because this process usually involves a large amount of paperwork and management, things can get confusing, even for advocates who help represent Veterans and their claims.
When this happens, it is important to keep a claims file, also known as a c-file, to keep track of everything the Veteran has made a claim for. This will also keep record of certain documents, such as medical records and service records, which the VA requires in order to determine the benefits that the Veteran will receive.
The c-file will grow over time. It starts small, but with the additional paperwork, it can grow to be thousands of pages long. This is why the VBMS was created to make the process smoother and quicker than it was previously.
In 2010, the VBMS was created to assist Veterans in getting the compensation and benefits they deserved. By integrating 21st-century technology, paperless processing, improved business, and web-based practices, the VBMS has assisted many Veterans in the process of making claims for their service-related disabilities.
But you may be wondering, “Why do I need such a thing?”
The reason is that before the VBMS, the process of making a claim was long and tedious. Some Veterans were waiting up to 300 days to receive compensation for claims that they had made. Because the VA was largely paper-based, it took a long time to go through all the paperwork to get the Veterans compensation.
To meet the demands for a new integrated way that made the process quicker and easier, the VBMS was created to provide 24/7 processing, focusing on compensation and pensions. That makes up the largest amount of claims through the Veterans Benefits Administrations.
The next thing you may be wondering is, “Is it effective?”
The answer is yes. The success cannot be overlooked as the VA disability claims backlog is down 88%, which is the lowest in history. The average amount of time it now takes for a decision on a claim to be made is about 91 days. The new paperless method also allows for a 98% accuracy rating, with over 1.9 billion documents converted to digital images and electronically kept in the Veteran’s respected claims folder.
VA claims employees are not the only people who can utilize the VBMS. Other people, such as Veteran advocates and attorneys, are also able to have access to the system.
To be an accredited representative, they will have to go through a special screening and be recognized by the VA as being qualified to assist Veterans with VA claims and related affairs. The screening can be rigorous, with a background check and challenging examination that can take months before they are qualified. Fingerprints will also be taken, and if all the tasks are not completed within a certain amount of time, you will have to get your fingerprints retaken and start the whole process from scratch.
You will be issued a Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card if you get through the whole process successfully, but know ahead of time that they expire every couple of years, so you will need to renew them when that time comes. Once the representative is approved, they can help Veterans understand and apply for many benefits, including education, compensation, life insurance, health care, and more.
As a Veteran advocate, it is important that you have access to the Veteran’s claims. If you cannot access certain areas, you will not be able to help the Veteran adequately.
The VBMS is the only way qualified attorneys through the VA can be updated in real-time regarding the Veteran’s claims. Before the VBMS, advocates were only to see things after the adjudicators had made a decision regarding the Veteran’s claim. Now advocates can see, at the same time, what the adjudicators can see. This will greatly aid in communication between the Veteran and their advocate. Great communication will help the sometimes stressful process of making a disability claim through the VA.
As with any piece of technology, nothing is perfect, including the VBMS. With such a vast amount of files that need to be uploaded, sometimes VA employees do not properly scan financial documents, medical documents, or vocational rehabilitation documents.
When the VBMS first started, it was prone to crashing. With the large amount of data that the system utilizes, it can take awhile for things to upload. It is also a costly system, and when the VA fails to prioritize how to integrate cost controls, it only contributes to the cost.
Since the pandemic, the VA has closed all of its 56 regional offices. However, that does not mean that you are unable to file a claim through the VBMS. You can upload VA claim-related documents online or by mail. The VA is also providing service through phone or email, so if you need any help, make sure to contact them.
At Berry Law, we can assist you. One of our lawyers can help expedite the process. When claims become backlogged, even with all of the technological resources that we have at our disposal, Veterans wait a long period to hear back about their disability claims. While some Veterans wait over a year to hear back on a decision regarding their claim, this should not be the case. If this is your current scenario and needs assistance, make sure to contact our firm to get the help you need.
When you go to make a claim and add things onto your c-file, you will have to upload documents such as your medical and service records. Sometimes, the VA makes a decision regarding your claim that you may find does not match the current condition with your disability. Our lawyers can help you gather the proper evidence you need to make a strong case about the benefits you deserve.
If your claim is denied, we can assist you in appealing the VA’s decision. Usually, this involves gathering more evidence to show that the claim you initially made was not inadequate. You will need to directly address the VA’s denial and go from there to see what information needs to be gathered.
The time it takes for a Veteran to receive compensation should not be long and tedious. With the stresses that come with having a disability, the last thing a Veteran should go through is waiting long periods to receive the benefits they deserve. The VBMS helps to solve that problem.
By integrating new business ideas, paperless processing, and the like, the VBMS allows claims to make it through the VA faster without compromising the rating quality. Now you can know about the resources you have at your fingertips to make a claim, get the proper VA rating, and get the benefits in a quicker amount of time.
For any more questions, or if you need any assistance in the process of making VA claims, please feel free to visit our website and contact Berry Law.
Our monthly newsletter features about important and up-to-date veterans' law news, keeping you informed about the changes that matter.