July 12, 2016
New Policy Allows More VA Staff to Focus on Eliminating Claims Backlog
Christmas came early in Washington when the Department of Veteran Affairs announced that it will finally take action to reduce the compensation claims backlog by eliminating the need for beneficiaries to complete an annual Eligibility Verification Report (EVR).
A new process will be implemented for confirming eligibility for benefits, allocating more than 100 employees that usually process EVRs to work on eliminating the claim backlog. Historically, beneficiaries have been required to complete an EVR each year to ensure their pension benefits be continued. Under the new initiative, the responsibility will be shifted to a collaboration between the VA, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to verify continued eligibility for pension benefits.
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“By working together, we have cut red tape for Veterans and will help ensure these brave men and women get the benefits they have earned and deserve,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
An estimated 150,000 EVRs were set to be send to beneficiaries in January 2013. By eliminating the nuisance of these annual reports, veterans, their families, and survivors are now relieved of a heavy burden and will likely benefit from the expedition of claims.
“Having already instituted an expedited process that enables wounded warriors to quickly access Social Security disability benefits, we are proud to work with our federal partners on an automated process that will make it much easier for qualified Veterans to maintain their VA benefits from year to year,” said Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security.
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“The IRS is taking new steps to provide critical data to help speed the benefits process for the nation’s Veterans and Veterans Affairs,” said Beth Tucker, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support. “The IRS is pleased to be part of a partnership with VA and SSA that will provide needed data quickly and effectively to move this effort forward.”
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The VA will address the changes to all beneficiaries in a letter that will provide instructions on how to continue to submit their unreimbursed medical expenses.
More information about VA pension benefits is available at http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension and other VA benefit programs on the joint Department of Defense—VA web portal eBenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov.