VA Gets New Support To Tackle Paperless Claims - InformationWeek
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04:12 PM

VA Gets New Support To Tackle Paperless Claims

Agency gets Senate approval for more funds to reduce huge claims backlog, launches Web app so veterans can file online.

New York's 32-Story Data 'Fortress'
New York's 32-Story Data 'Fortress'
(click image for slideshow)
The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved a 10-point action plan and $20 million in additional funding to help the Department of Veterans Affairs eliminate a longstanding backlog of compensation claims. Part of the money will be used to upgrade servers and other hardware at regional offices as the VA moves toward its goal of deploying a paperless claims system.

The VA's goal is to install its paperless Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) in all 56 regional offices by the end of June. As part of the 10-point plan, the Senate will add another $10 million for overtime and training for claims processors as they put in more work hours to help eliminate backlog. The Board of Veterans Appeals will also receive $12.9 million to hire extra personnel.

Despite intense efforts to reduce the backlog of compensation claims for disabilities related to military service, the backlog continues to skyrocket at many VA offices. As of this month, the VA reported 816,839 pending claims, 66% of which have been pending for more than 125 days. Some regional offices have struggled more than others. At the VA's Baltimore office, for example, the average wait time is 11 months, and more than 80% of claims are older than 125 days, according to Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who has been working with the VA to reform the process.

[ Security concerns are making some government agencies leery of employees using their own mobile devices at work. Read Veterans Affairs BYOD Plans On Hold. ]

In April, the VA announced an initiative to expedite claims for veterans who have waited one year or longer for a decision. The VA said it would process 250,000 claims that are more than a year old within the next six months to help eligible veterans collect compensation benefits.

The agency implemented a Veterans Relationship Management (VRM) system to give call center agents a standardized way of viewing veterans' information. In an April interview with InformationWeek Government, VA director of VRM Maureen Ellenberger explained that in order to move off of legacy systems to process claims, VA had to create a centralized call center architecture. The agency rolled out Microsoft Dynamics CRM software to integrate access to its 13 different databases, which previously had to be individually queried.

For veterans filing claims, the VA launched eBenefits this week. The new Web application integrates with VBMS and allows claims to be filed electronically. Instead of filling out and mailing paper forms, veterans can use eBenefits to enter their information.

The VA compared the app to tax preparation software with pre-populated data fields and drop-down menus. The agency said it will still accept new claims in paper form, which will be scanned and uploaded into the VBMS for electronic processing.

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User Rank: Apprentice
6/22/2013 | 10:55:37 AM
re: VA Gets New Support To Tackle Paperless Claims
Still grossly underfunded, and many issues finally being cared for but long ignored as others are now, and the monies are still borrowed as the country continues it's want Not to fund the wars but especially the results of!!!

How does a Country HONOR It's Fallen, by Their Own 'Sacrifice' in Taking Care of the Brothers and Sisters They Served With!!

The Whole Country Served, Not Just The Many Caring Groups, with handfuls
of members and volunteers, who have to fight for funding when
successful and not getting grants, Within!!

"If military action is worth our troopsG blood, it should be worth our
treasure, too G not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific
ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

Rachel Maddow: 'Obama indicates beginning of end of war on terror', "We
got a huge round of tax cuts in this country a few weeks before9/11.
Once 9/11 happened and we invaded Afghanistan, we kept the tax cuts

How did we think we were going to pay for that war? Did we think it was free?

Then, when we started a second simultaneous war in another country, we
gave ourselves a second huge round of tax cuts. After that second war
started. The wars, I guess, we thought would be free, don`t worry about
it, civilians. Go about your business." 23 May 2013

GǣWhy in 2009 were we still using paper?Gǥ VA Assistant Secretary Tommy
Sowers GǣWhen we came in, there was no plan to change that; weGve been
operating on a six month wait for over a decade.Gǥ 27 March 2013


Prior too this present Executive and Veterans Administrations and just touching on the problems:

Army Times Oct. 16, 2008 - VA claims found in piles to be shredded

CNN iReport October 25, 2008 - House Vets' Committee To Probe VA Shredder Scandal

Tampa Bay Times Oct 27, 2008 - Hundreds of VA documents improperly
shredded, review finds {Tampa Bay Times search page and series of

CBS News February 11, 2009 - Veterans' Claims Found in Shredder Bins

And more disturbing in relation to even before and through the early
years of the Afghanistan, quickly abandoned missions of, and Iraq
occupations, this:

ProPublica and The Seattle Times Nov. 9, 2012 - Lost to History: Missing
War Records Complicate Benefit Claims by Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans

"DeLara's case is part of a much larger problem that has plagued the
U.S. military since the 1990 Gulf War: a failure to create and maintain
the types of field records that have documented American conflicts since
the Revolutionary War."

Add in the issues of finally recognizing in War Theater and more
Veterans, by this Veterans Administration and the Executive
Administrations Cabinet, what the Country choose to ignore from our
previous decades and wars of: The devastating effects on Test Vets and
from PTS, Agent Orange, Homelessness, more recent the Desert Storm
troops Gulf War Illnesses, Gulf War Exposures with the very recent
affects from In-Theater Burn Pits and oh so so much more! Tens of
Thousands of Veterans' that have been long ignored and maligned by
previous VA's and the whole Country and through their representatives!

These present wars have yet to be paid for! Rubber stamping and rapid
deficits rising started before 9/11 and continued with same for the
wars. But especially in the early some six years of extremely little
being added to the Veterans Administration budgets by those Congresses,
and since obstructed by same war rubber stampers, as to the long term
results of War, DeJa-Vu all over again.

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." - Abraham Lincoln

USN All Shore '67-'71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country '70-'71
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