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.