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Veterans: does your medical condition support a benefits claim?

As technology advances, many Georgia residents have become more dependent on using it for everyday tasks. Whether it is using technology at work, at school or at home, technology has become an integral part of our society.

Technology can also play a role in other systems, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs system that processes benefits claims for veterans' injuries. The VA has used a software system since 2012 that aims to reduce the time it takes to process benefits applications. The system uses data from questionnaires filled out by veterans in order to determine whether the person is eligible for benefits. Employees at the VA still play a role in the process as well, such as evaluating the veterans' history and determining whether the computer's recommendation for benefits is correct.

While the technology has sped up the processing of claims, veterans still must understand what they need to do in order to begin the process toward benefits. Last week, this blog discussed the eligibility requirements for a person to receive veterans' benefits. Veterans must show they have a physical or mental disability in order to be eligible for compensation.

To show such an injury, the veteran typically visits a VA doctor or psychologist to discuss the veteran's medical condition. The doctor fills out the questionnaire mentioned above based on the veteran's responses to the interview. During this process, the doctor can select certain system the veteran may suffer from, and the doctor may also review the veterans' service records and medical history in the process. Based on this information and the interview, the doctor can also include his or her own assessments and observations.

Accordingly, while technology plays a larger role in the process now than it used to, the ultimate determination is still based on the veteran's medical condition. Veterans should thus be proactive in seeking out help if they have a medical condition that would support a benefits claim.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Automated system often unjustly boosts veterans' disability benefits," Daniel Huang, May 11, 2015

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