A paperless method of filing disability claims with the VA is now possible in Central Texas.
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced the online Veterans Benefits Management System is now available at all 56 regional VA offices, including Waco.
Under the program, a new online application called eBenefits “enables disability compensation claims to be processed faster in a more end-to-end electronic environment,” according to a news release from the VA this week.
The VA is touting the program as “one of the keys to VA’s goal to eliminate the disability claims backlog by the end of 2015.”
The backlog of claims has been a major thorn in the side of the VA.
At the Waco VA office, the average wait time for a veteran to receive a response to his or her claim from the government is 441 days, according to a December report from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit that keeps track of VA claim times. Several other VA offices had wait times of more than 400 days, and Los Angeles had a wait time of more than 500 days, according to the report. Houston had a wait time of 350 days.
The Veterans Benefits Management System debuted last year at specific regional offices, and is now available at all regional offices ahead of schedule.
“The VA will continue to upgrade and improve VBMS based on user feedback, and add features and tools that make it faster and easier to process claims,” the statement said. “Instead of filling out and mailing paper forms to VA, Veterans can now use eBenefits to enter claim information online using a step-by-step, interview-style application, with pre-populated data fields and drop-down menus similar to popular tax preparation software.”
Veterans can establish an account by telephone at 1-800-827-1000, option 7, if they are in receipt of VA benefits via direct deposit, or by visiting a VA regional office.