The VA recently announced a decision to expedite compensation claims for veterans who have been waiting for one year or longer to receive a claims decision. As a result of the decision, VA claims processors immediately began making decisions on the oldest claims on file. This action comes as another part of the VA’s goal to eliminate backlog by 2015, and should allow those veterans who have been waiting the longest to receive much needed benefits, faster.
The new initiative will also allow veterans to submit additional evidence for consideration for up to a full year after the provisional decision before the VA makes a final decision on their claim. If the VA receives additional information that warrants an increase in benefits, the new amount will become retroactive to when the claim was originally filed. This opportunity will provide veterans with a “safety net” time period to be able to provide all evidence and to receive the maximum benefits they are entitled to.
Throughout this initiative, the VA will continue to prioritize claims by homeless veterans, the terminally ill, former Prisoners of War, Medal of Honor recipients, and veterans filing Fully Developed Claims. Furthermore, claims for Wounded Warriors separating from the military for medical reasons will continue to be handled separately and on a priority basis. Wounded Warriors currently receive VA compensation benefits in an average of 61 days following the end of their service.
During the time that claims are being processed, eligible veterans will have the opportunity to receive free healthcare in addition to other benefits from the VA. Veterans who have served in recent conflicts are eligible to receive five years of free healthcare. If you are a veteran who is waiting for a decision on your compensation claim, research what benefits may be available to you right now.