Disability Benefits Questionnaire

by Robert Stretch on December 10, 2010

When veterans apply for VA disability compensation, their physicians will now complete a disability benefits questionnaire. The Department of Veterans Affairs recently finalized and released the first three questionnaires.

This release is one of many VA overhauls to come regarding physicians’ guides and automated processes. Overall, the reforms should expedite the claims process for disabled and ill veterans. These three questionnaires are a fraction of the 79 that will be available to personal and VA physicians. By filling out these questionnaires, physicians should get a better idea of the most common medical conditions afflicting veterans.

“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 Eric M. Shinseki, VA secretary.

As a part of the questionnaire initiative, the VA plans to process all claims within 125 days. Shinseki set a 98 percent quality rate minimum, effective in 2015. In addition to the questionnaires, the VA is executing technology reform to eventually go paperless with claims processing.

Already, the VA’s automated health records system gets VA physicians who do disability exams to include detailed information. Claims adjudicators receive these details in standardized form so they can quickly and accurately get veterans the benefits they deserve. Electronic versions of exam details are available to claims adjudicators via VA regional offices.

Veterans who go to private physicians can find the disability benefits questionnaires online. There are also instructions on how private physicians can submit exam results on behalf of veterans.

These first three questionnaires cover B-cell leukemia, ischemic heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. The presumption of eligibility to VA disability compensation benefits changed at the end of October for veterans with one of the three aforementioned conditions who were exposed to Agent Orange. Veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have a presumed illness do not need to prove a link between their illness and their military service.

For more information on VA disability compensation or about presumptive disabilities for veterans exposed to herbicide agents (e.g. Agent Orang), visit the VBA website or call 800-827-1000.

Photo thanks to A30_Tsitika under creative common license on Flickr.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Joyce Perez December 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm

The new VA questionnaires aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. My husband’s VA cardioligist at the Biloxi Medical Center completed his. The Muskogee VA sent his claim to the Montgomery Medical Clinic for a medical opinion after which it will come back to Muskogee to go before a medical review board for another medical opinion. Hogwash! don’t they even believe their own doctors. Makes me real comfortable able the quality of his care. And forget 125 days or 125 years for that matter.

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Robert Stretch December 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Thanks for your input, Joyce. I can see how these would complicate the claims process even more when they are first implemented. All we can hope is that somewhere down the road they help streamline the process and eliminate some of the back log.

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Laurita Adams February 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Does anyone have any information on whether the VA is providing compensation to Vets for PCB exposure while stationed at Fort McClellan, Alabama from 1955 to 1997.

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Audrey Beebe February 18, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Laurita,
Yes, the VA does recognize that veterans who served in areas that have been legally declared exposed to PCB are eligible for disability compensation. In order to get this though, a link must be proven between the illness and the PCB exposure. Unlike Agent Orange, there is no presumption policy for PCB. Most dates for exposure at Fort McClellan are considered between 1938 and 1971. Only a few cases where proven environmental persistence was show past 1971 are considered when the VA reviews claims for exposure at Fort McClellan.
This page gives good reference for the VA’s information and benefits for PCB exposure.
http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/occupational_environmental/pcb.asp

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Anonymous April 2, 2011 at 11:26 pm

These are nothing more than a rubber stamp.

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Debra February 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm

I have one major problem! Please help! A veteran can apply for benefits because of being in military and honorable discharge. His DD214 is a legal binding document. If he or she files a claim using this information. Why??? do you come back and ask him questions such as? When were you there? What did you see? in order to develop or approve his or her claim. Could you please answer this riddle? The Claim process should be simple; Our soldiers have been thru enough war and they should not have to play War games with a paper trail with the VA.

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Ben C April 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm

The DBQ fax number you have listed for VARO Seattle is incorrect. The new fax number is 206 341 8665

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Hiroshi July 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Some of my comments may have been psoted already, but are important and need to be reiterated.People who live in residential care are there for a reason and often may not be able to speak out or voice their opinion fully; almost certainly not to the extent that they probably wish. I’m quite sure that many would much prefer an ordinary life, with choices and opportunities that most of us take for granted every day. Simple things like being able to choose what to eat, who to spend time with, where to go, with whom and for how long; a meaningful role in society, a loving relationship, their own house even their own bank account are luxuries that so many people are unable to enjoy and probably never will.As if life has not been made painful and utterly difficult enough for many of these people (which in most cases is no-one’s fault, but is no easier to bare), repeated indignities only compound these struggles and it is shameful.Free money will never take away their struggles but it does help, in some small way, to open up just a few opportunities that otherwise would be simply unattainable.The social care system in this country is going through some major changes, but is still woefully underfunded, under resourced and often completely misunderstood. The proposed cuts will ruin people’s lives this is a fact and cannot be argued otherwise, however eloquant the government makes their statements. It is shocking how a blind eye can be turned to the super-rich and their greedy actions, whilst those living on so little face having even that taken away.Not that I need to validate my comments, I will nevertheless add that I work with profoundly disabled people every day and I have multiple sclerosis. I have experienced everything written above first hand for a very long time and I am very scared for the future of these people and for myself, in Britain.It is a good place to live if you do nothing for yourself and need financial help.It is set to become a dreadful place to live if you cannot do anything for yourself and need financial help.To anyone who feels that vulnerable and physically or learning disabled people do not deserve financial assistance; you must hope that you never find yourself in their situation.

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Brian Foster May 17, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I’m highly confused with this issue. I’ve pulled up the following form: http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-4502-ARE.pdf and it says nothing about someone with my situation. I have a medical condition which the VA still has not diagnosed. I can walk, but require on the best of days a can; or a walker if I’m going to walk longer than 100yards. Beyond a certain point and on “bad days” of which there are a whole winter’s worth and then some (my body reacts starting below 65º and I can tell if it is cooler than 71º; and what should be minor exertion sets things off, too) and I cannot walk at all. Horrible times have sent me to the ER with stroke like symptoms more times than I care to think of since the winter of ’09.

In reading the document it says nothing about the program applying to someone in my situation where I cannot get a much needed electric wheelchair without getting a vehicle that can carry it first. Heck, the current Grant would nearly pay for the vehicle I’m looking at; but what good is it to me if I do not meet the criteria? Is there some other information that says there are additional criteria in which someone in my situation is considered eligible? If so, could someone please point me in the right direction?

Right now I am only 30%, but I should know within 2 weeks how my request for an increase has gone now that my health has deteriorated as it has since the fall of ’09 and my problems are documented and my need for an electric wheelchair is documented as well.

I could use all the help possible with finding out about my possible eligibility outside of what the forms specify.

Thanks much,

Brian Foster (Member DAV)

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