VA Announces Retroactive Disability Benefits for Some Claimants
The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced the availability of retroactive disability benefits for certain claimants.
One year of retroactive benefits is available to veterans who file a Fully-Developed Claim for service-connected disability. The policy is in effect from August 6, 2013, to August 5, 2015.
Through various policies, the VA is strongly encouraging veterans to file fully-developed claims. When filing FDCs, veterans must provide all supporting evidence in their possession at the time of submission. This may include information the veteran already has, but which the VA is otherwise obligated to track down, and evidence easily obtained by the veteran, such as private medical records.
A traditional claim gives the veteran time to gather evidence while the VA begins to process the claim. An FDC allows the VA to decide the claim more quickly than a traditional claim while still tracking down needed federal records on behalf of the veteran. The VA says it processes FDCs in half the time required for a traditional claim.
After having unconscionable backlogs and waiting times for disability claims for years, the VA appears to be getting its act together. It is switching from paper to computerized records and has implemented an online portal, eBenefits, to allow electronic submission of initial claims, creating an all-electronic process for a portion of cases. And as part of its effort to eliminate its claims backlog in 2015, the VA announced mandatory overtime for all claims processors through the end of the fiscal year.
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