VA Announces ‘Milestone’ In Digitizing Disability Claims

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WASHINGTON—VA announced this week that over 30% of the current disability claims inventory is now digital and accessible to claim raters in VA’s electronic claims processing system.

Calling it a “milestone,” VA said in a written statement that this effort “is a key part of transforming outdated paper processing into an electronic system that is delivering disability claims decisions for veterans more quickly.”

“A key element that slows our process is the thousands of tons of paper documents we handle each year related to Veterans’ claims,” said Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey in a written statement. “While we continue to expand our ability to process claims electronically, we still have to handle those we receive in paper form— the Veterans Claims Intake Program (VCIP) is our answer to this and helps us move into a fully digital environment.”

VA established the VCIP program in September of 2012. This program “enables high-speed document scanning to help VA end its reliance on paper-based claims,” according to the agency.

To date, the agency reports that it has converted more than 165 million pages of claims documents to digital images, and continues to add over 1 million images into the VBMS every day.

VA’s effort to transform its disability claims system comes as members of Congress and advocacy groups continue to pressure VA to eliminate the claims backlog. The agency has announced new initiatives in recent months to process claims faster, such as mandating overtime for claims processors in its 56 regional benefits offices. 

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