Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Veterans Benefits Information

Tentative parade order determined

E-mail Print PDF

The tentative order for the 2012 National Convention parade has been determined and is available online. The Department of the Philippines will lead the foreign posts contingent, while the Department of Florida starts off the procession of domestic departments. Parade order is determined by the following criteria:

• All departments that achieved an all-time high (with DMS) for the current year by the June 14 membership report. They will be in the order of attainment, followed by:

• All departments that achieved an all-time high (with DMS) for the previous year in order of consecutive years of achievement, followed by:

• All other departments in order of their appearance on the June 14 membership report (without DMS), followed by:

• The host department.

The parade will take place Aug. 26 at 4 p.m. For the parade route, click here. For parade rules, click here.





Read More

VA debuts new model for claims process

E-mail Print PDF

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced July 11 it is deploying a new model for processing compensation benefits claims at 16 of its regional offices. The new model is part of a comprehensive transformation plan designed to yield an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 additional compensation claim decisions annually, while ensuring that veterans who are most in need get high priority.

"This new model is a part of our comprehensive plan to eliminate the compensation claims backlog," said Allison Hickey, VA’s undersecretary for benefits. "Our redesigned model follows comprehensive planning and testing to ensure we have the right recipe for success."

As of July 11, VA reported a total number of 883,914 pending disability claims in its system; 588,447 of those are in backlog (pending more than 125 days).

For the past two fiscal years, VA has completed more than 1 million claims; Hickey said the department is on target to hit the same benchmark for fiscal 2012. In the past four months, the accuracy rate for VA claims processors has risen from 83 to 87 percent.

Recently, VA has been focusing on completing the disability claims for Vietnam War-era veterans. Last year, 260,000 claims for Agent Orange-related illnesses were completed.

"We are done with that, and redirecting more than 2,300 claims experts to handle the remaining backlog," Hickey said, adding that 83 percent of veterans from the global war on terrorism who filed disability claims are already receiving benefits.

The new organizational model involves the special handling of claims from veterans with the most serious injuries or illnesses, experiencing financial hardships, or are homelessness, and need immediate attention. Through a new "intake processing center," claims are routed to one of three segmented lanes:

• Express: claims that have only one or two medical conditions, or have all the supporting documentation, medical evidence and service records needed for an expeditious rating decision (referred to as fully developed claims).

• Special Operations: claims requiring special handling because of the unique circumstances of the veterans. These include financial hardship, homelessness, serious wounds, injuries or illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder associated with military sexual trauma, and former prisoner-of-war status.

• Core: claims with more than two medical conditions, or those that will need additional evidence to make a compensation decision.

The segmented-lanes approach helps to increase speed and accuracy because the claims specialists are processing claims with similar levels of complexity. Hickey said that VA expects 20 percent of claims to be handled in the express lane, 20 percent in special operations, and 60 percent in the core lane.


Veterans and their veterans service organization representatives are encouraged to provide all the needed evidence along with their application in a "fully developed claim" in order to expedite the process. Hickey said that any veteran who wants to file a claim should work with their VSOs, who know how to thoroughly develop claims and, secondly, be sure to use VA’s disability benefits questionnaires.

Sixteen regional offices have received the new segmented-lanes model, including Huntington, W.Va.; Hartford, Conn.; Portland, Ore.; Houston, Cleveland, Des Moines, Iowa; Boise, Idaho; Phoenix, New Orleans, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Atlanta, Indianapolis, Wichita, Kan.; Milwaukee, Newark, N.J.; and Fort Harrison, Mont. These offices will also receive new technology systems and software upgrades over the next three months.

All of the people, processes, and technology initiatives in VA’s transformation plan should be fully implemented at all 56 VA regional offices by the end of 2013. To learn more about how to file fully developed claims, using VA’s new DBQs, click here.

Read More

Riders Expo: Fun for entire family

E-mail Print PDF

On Aug. 21, a contingent of nearly 400 American Legion Riders and their passengers will depart from Niagara Falls, N.Y., to begin the National Commander’s Ride. They’ll make stops in Ohio and Michigan before finishing up in Indianapolis, site of the 2012 American Legion National Convention. Along the way, the group will raise thousands of dollars for The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund.
But that’s only half of it.
On Aug. 23, when the National Commander’s Ride rolls into Indianapolis, The American Legion Riders Expo will be getting under way. The second part of the 2012 Legacy Run Home, the expo will offer Legion Riders, their families and other members of The American Legion family three full days of motorcycle education, recreation and fellowship.
The expo will kick off Aug. 23 with the National Commander’s Ride contingent taking a lap around historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, followed by a dinner and social event at American Legion Post 500 in Speedway, Ind.
Aug. 24 and 25 events will consist of basic and advanced rider skills training, available for riders and observers, that will include bike bonding, advanced riding experience and military sport bike training. There also will be training on community service and managing an American Legion Riders program. The training will focus on giving back to ALR communities, as well as starting an ALR program and successful fundraising.
Other events during the two days include:
• An Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Drill Team demonstration;
• Tours of National Headquarters;
• Local charity rides to benefit Roudebush VA Medical Center and Riley Hospital for Children; and
• Rider skills competitions.
On Aug. 25, a “Night Ride on Indianapolis” will take place, as well as a Legacy Scholarship memorial ceremony. Both the night ride and the candlelight celebration will honor Legacy Scholarship recipients and their families, as well as Legion Riders currently serving in the military.
On Aug. 26, donations will be delivered to Roudebush VAMC and Riley Hospital for Children. Legion Riders also will lead the 2012 national convention parade that afternoon.
To register for the National Commander’s Ride, The American Legion Riders Expo, or both, click here.

Read More

Veterans Legislation Advances to Full House

E-mail Print PDF

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs advanced three bills to the full House for consideration. The Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012, as amended (H.R. 4057), the Military Family Home Protection Act, as amended (H.R. 5747), and the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012, as amended (H.R. 5948) all unanimously passed the Full Committee at this morning’s markup.

“These bills contain provisions from seventeen different legislative proposals, and represent a considerable amount of the work done by the Committee this session,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “I thank all of our Members for their bipartisan work to not only move legislation forward, but also for what we have done through oversight to shine a light on both the good things America does for our veterans, as well as to address issues and improve VA care and operations.”

The Safe Housing for Homeless Veterans Act (H.R. 4079), introduced by Rep. David McKinley was included in H.R. 4057. “I was so happy that I could use my engineering background to help our veterans. After touring homeless shelters in the 1st District of West Virginia, and seeing the conditions with my own eyes, we began to investigate whether this was an isolated case or if part of a bigger problem,” said McKinley. “It was unsettling to learn in our research about shelter fires where lives were lost because of numerous code violations. This bill will ensure our homeless veterans have access to safe shelters nationwide.”

The Open Burn Pit Registry Act (H.R. 3337), introduced by Rep. Todd Akin, was also advanced as a provision of H.R. 4057. “We have sent our best and brightest young men and women into harm’s way, and it is our responsibility as a nation to take care of them when they return,” said Akin. “There is a growing body of evidence that burn pits have had tragic effects on the health of some of our returning veterans. We need to deal with this problem proactively to ensure that our veterans get the best possible care and support.”

The Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 5948), introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, was also favorably reported to the full House. Rep. Johnson has been investigating fraud within VA’s Fiduciary Program for more than a year.

“This critical legislation is an important step forward to protecting America’s veterans from abuses in the VA fiduciary system. Our investigations showed that VA’s current fiduciary system leaves many veterans vulnerable to financial risk. We performed our chief function as the oversight body for VA, found the flaws, and put forth common sense legislation to tackle this very serious problem,” said Johnson. “Sending this bill to the House floor furthers our commitment to giving veterans the best care and benefits possible. America’s heroes, our veterans, have earned these benefits and we must make sure they receive them. They deserve nothing less.”

The House has passed 16 Committee-reported veterans bills this Congress, four of which are now law.

Read More

Page 2162 of 2421

Did you know?

Military Funeral Honors ceremonies must be scheduled in advance.

The law requires that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, which includes the folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of “taps,” upon the family’s request. This Department of Defense program calls for the funeral director to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veteran’s family.