The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is currently attempting to battle their massive backlog of disability compensation claims. Its ultimate goal is to eliminate the backlog completely by 2015. At the same time, VA. Secretary Eric Shinseki has stated he does not want any claims taking longer than 125 days to be processed and decided. In order to meet that goal, the VA must take many new and progressive steps towards how they process disability claims. To that end, the VA recently began two pilot programs designed to increase the speed by which they pay compensation disability claims to qualified veterans.
The 2 programs that have become part of the VA’s disability compensation claims processing restructuring are called “Quick Pay,” and “Express Lane.” It is hoped both programs will speed up the disability claims process so those veterans awaiting for decisions on their claims will get them faster and will therefore receive their payments faster.
Quick pay is based in the St. Petersburg, Florida regional office. This program functions to increase payment time of disability claims to those veterans providing satisfactory verification supporting their claim at the time they make their initial claim. Quick Pay’s results have been impressive as they have made payments to over 1,600 Florida veterans, 3 months faster than the VA’s 125 ultimate goal, and those payments have totaled over $2 million.
The Express lane program is managed in the Seattle VA regional office, but is also in operation in Nashville, TN, St. Paul, Minn, and Muskogee, Okla. This program tests the viability of reassigning team members to handle more complex disability claims on an as-needed basis. Essentially, multiple teams consisting of a few employees who can process the more simple claims quickly while the disability claims requiring more attention are given the necessary independent focus required.
There is no reason those veterans who have earned their benefits are not given those benefits in a timely manner. These programs reflect the VA’s effort to ensure that happens much more often.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.