MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

August 22, 2013

VA Regional Office holds claims workshop

The Muskogee VA Regional Office held a fully developed claims workshop for people and organizations that assist veterans and their families with filing claims for disability compensation.

The workshop, which was held at the VA Regional Office in Muskogee, was attended by more than 50 participants representing 13 organizations who received training on the correct procedures to file a fully developed claim, the fastest way for veterans to receive decisions on their benefit claims, according to a media release.

Participants were also provided with valuable resources to assist veterans and their families in filing claims electronically through the eBenefits website.

“This workshop provided an opportunity for the VA to further engage our partners and leverage the knowledge and experience that is critical to accomplishing our shared mission,” Jason McClellan, director of the Muskogee VA Regional Office, said in a media release.

“By teaching veteran stakeholders of the enormous benefits of the fully developed claims program, and providing them the practical skills on how to file these claims, we increased the local stakeholder’s abilities to support veterans in filing fully developed claims. By taking a more proactive role in the claims process and participating in the Fully Developed Claims Program, the veteran and stakeholder will have greater opportunities for faster and more accurate service with their respective claims.”

Fully developed claims are a key part of VA’s overall transformation plan to end the backlog in 2015 and process claims within 125 days at 98 percent accuracy.

Filing a fully developed claim is the fastest way for veterans to receive a decision on their claims because fully developed claims require veterans to provide all supporting evidence in their possession when they submit their claims. Often, this is evidence that VA legally must attempt to collect on the veteran’s behalf, which is already in the veteran’s possession, or is evidence the veteran could easily obtain, like private treatment records.

When veterans submit such evidence with their claims, it significantly reduces the amount of time VA spends gathering evidence from them or other sources — which is the longest part of the claims process. While VA will still make efforts to obtain federal records on the veterans’ behalf, the submittal of non-federal records (and any federal records the veteran may have) with the claim allows VA to issue a decision to the veteran more quickly.

Since January, the Muskogee Regional Office has completed 487 fully developed claims submitted by Oklahoma veterans in average of 128 days, which is 53 percent faster than the traditional claims process.

To learn more about the VA’s Transformation Plan, including the fully developed claims program and eBenefits, visit www.va.gov.

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