By Debbie Gregory.
The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has announced the official launch of the Decision Ready Claims (DRC) initiative, a program that should deliver faster claims decisions for veterans.
Veterans who submit their claim under DRC with accredited Veterans service organizations (VSO) can expect to receive a decision within 30 days from the time VA receives the claim. These organizations include Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
While DRC is currently limited to claims for increased compensation (commonly known as claims for increase), VA’s goal is to expand the types of claims accepted under the initiative.
VSOs will ensure that all supporting evidence (e.g. medical exam, military service records, etc.) is included with the claim submission. This advance preparation by the VSOs allows claims to be immediately assigned to claims processors for a quick decision.
The system has been in the pilot phase since May 1.
Under the DRC process, veterans can opt to do the paperwork legwork themselves ahead of time.
Then, a VSO representative can review the documents to ensure everything is in order. The VSO rep can then mandate additional evidence for the claim if it’s needed before the claim is submitted. Once filed, the VA has 30 days to respond.
The hope is that by shifting the legwork from VA representatives to veterans and VSOs, the claims backlog will be a thing of the past.
Of course, it will be up to each individual veteran to decide whether DRC will work in their case.
“It’s an aggressive pilot program, and we’re going to work with VA to make sure it works and meets the needs of veterans, that’s our top priority,” said Ryan Gallucci, VFW’s director of the national veterans service. “Anyone interested in this program should have an honest conversation with your veteran service officer.”