New Benefits Process, Programs Speed Veterans’ Access to Claims
By Rep. David Schweikert
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently introduced two important new programs that Veterans should know about. The VA internet portal eBenefits and the Fully Developed Claims process are helping to speed delivery of services to Veterans, their family members and survivors.
The Fully Developed Claim (FDC) process provides a faster path for Veterans and their families who are able to provide all of the necessary evidence in support of their claim. To take advantage of this process, benefits claimants must use the eBenefits internet portal to apply for benefits or can mail the claim with the appropriate FDC form.
Claimants will need to ensure they have completed all claim documents and must certify that no further evidence exists.
Certifying does not affect the Veteran’s ability to appeal a decision. If the VA determines that further records or evidence exists in a claim, the VBA will transfer the claim into the traditional claims process out of the FDC program.
Veterans may file an FDC for disability compensation for an injury, disability or condition caused from or aggravated by their military service or a condition caused or aggravated by a condition previously accepted as service-related. Once initiated, a claimant has up to a year to complete the FDC.
In conjunction with this push to improve the quality and timeliness of service to America’s Veterans, the VA has implemented a web portal, eBenefits, which provides resources and self-service capabilities for filing claims.
This digital claims process allows Veterans to complete a step-by-step application, as well as allows Veterans to upload digital images of the records and evidence supporting their claims. Veterans will be also be able to view the status of their claims, register for and update direct deposit information for certain benefits, use the VetSuccess employment search resources, conduct online health benefits eligibility checks, and much more.
These new internet tools from the VA are a great way for Veterans, service members, and their families to learn about and monitor the benefits they have earned as a result of their service to our nation.