Late Breaking News
How to Streamline the Disability Benefits Claim Process at the Department of Veterans Affairs
WASHINGTON, DC—President Obama has called on federal employees to submit recommendations for how to streamline the disability benefits claim process at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The list of claims waiting for processing has grown in recent years, despite VA efforts to shrink it. The number of unresolved claims ranges from 500,000, according to VA, to 1 million, according to the American Legion.
At a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars last month in Phoenix, President Obama said that he would be directing Administration leaders to set up amechanismfor collectingand evaluatingsuggestions made byVA benefitsemployees onhow tosimplifyandspeed upthe existing system.
“Our goal is cutting the red tape and inefficiencies that cause backlogs and delays in the claims process. This spring I directed the departments of defense and veterans affairs to create one lifetime unified health record for the armed forces [and this month I] directed my chief performance officer, my chief technology officer, and my chief information officer to join with [VA] Secretary Shinseki in a new reform effort. We’re launching a new competition to capture the best ideas of the new VA employees that work with you everyday.”
That competition is directed specifically at the approximately 18,500 employees that work for the Veterans Benefits Administration—those that are responsible for processing veterans’ disability claims. “We’re going to challenge each of our 57 VA regional offices to come up with the best ways of doing business, of harnessing the best information technologies, cutting red tape and breaking through the bureaucracies. Then we’re going to fund the best ideas and put them into action,” President Obama explained. “I know you’ve heard this before, but the leadership and resources we’re providing this time means we’re going to do it.” Shinseki and White House officials will work together to gather suggestions, evaluate them and hopefully implement them by year’s end.