In 2007, before the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense rolled out their Integrated Disability Evaluation System, the average amount of time it took for a veteran’s benefit application to be processed was well over a year — 540 days. Thanks to the IDES and improved cooperation between VA and DoD, the average processing time for a claim has dropped to 250 days. This means veterans with a service-connected disability claim receive the financial and medical benefits they need much more quickly.
Another factor that helped improve the claim time was the implementation of a “quick start” process, which enabled service personnel to start a disability claim up to 59 days before leaving service. The VA phased out quick start in 2017, which raised concerns among veterans’ groups like the VFW and American Legion. However, a new program called “Decision Ready Claims” will take its place.
Under the Decision Ready Claims program, service personnel can work with organizations like the VFW or American Legion to put together a claim prior to leaving the service. The claim can then be submitted once the service member is no longer on active duty. While this program does not offer the same advantages that “quick start” did, it does allow veterans to get a head start on a service-connected disability claims.
Even with improvements made to processing time, obtaining benefits for veterans’ injuries can be a long and confusing process. An attorney with experience in VA benefits process can help clarify the process. An experienced attorney can not only explain the process but also help apply for benefits, negotiate the bureaucracy and get veterans the financial aid and long-term medical care that they need.
Source: Military.com, “VA, DoD Report Faster Disability Claim Processing Times,” Amy Bushatz, Dec. 13, 2017