Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Veterans Claims Process Goes Digital

WASHINGTON – Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) announced today that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released three new disability benefits questionnaires for physicians of Veterans applying for VA disability compensation benefits.  This initiative marks the beginning of a major reform of the physicians’ guides and automated routines that will streamline the claims process for injured or ill Veterans.

The new forms are electronic, easier and quicker to process in the VA system.

“Those who have bravely served our country deserve nothing less than the best services and benefits,” said Congressman Cuellar. “I laud the efforts of the VA to reform its processes and provide our veterans with improved and timely support.”
“This is a major step in the transformation of VA’s business processes that is yielding improvements for Veterans as we move to eliminate the disability claims backlog by 2015,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

These new questionnaires will guide Veterans’ personal physicians, as well as VA physicians, in the evaluation of the most frequent medical conditions affecting Veterans. 

This first set of questionnaires focus on presumptive illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure: B-cell leukemia (such as hairy-cell leukemia), Parkinson’s disease, and ischemic heart disease.

Accurate and timely medical evaluations are a critical element of VA’s commitment to making faster compensation decisions.  Streamlining this process by directly involving Veterans’ treating physicians will lead to more complete reports that facilitate the final decision on claims.

VA’s goal is to process all claims in fewer than 125 days with a decision quality rate no lower than 98 percent, a mark Secretary Shinseki has mandated by 2015.  The physician questionnaire project is one of more than three dozen initiatives actively underway at VA, including a major technology modernization that will lead to paperless claims processing.
For additional information on the VA disability compensation program or additional presumptive disabilities for Veterans exposed to herbicide agents, contact VA at 800-827-1000 or visit

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