The Department of Veterans Affairs is promising that veterans who choose to file a disability claim under the agency’s new Decision Ready Claims initiative can expect a decision within 30 days.
Department leaders say they believe they can meet the decision timeline if veterans applying for the claim do so through an accredited veteran service organization.
“The DRC initiative is a collaborative effort between VA and VSOs to help veterans receive faster decisions on disability claims,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “VA works closely with participating VSOs to make sure they are properly trained in this new process and given the tools they need to participate successfully in the program on behalf of the veterans they serve.”
The first step in this new and hopefully improved process is finding an accredited VSO. VA has worked closely with participating VSOs to make sure their representatives are properly trained in the new process and given the tools they need to successfully participate in the DRC program. Not all accredited VSO are choosing to participate in this program. You may also want to consider a few VSOs until you find one that fits best for you.
Right now, you can only file an increased disability compensation claim through the DRC program. Your disability must already be service-connected and there has to be medical evidence showing your condition has gotten worse since your last rating.
Once you have your VSO picked out, they work with you to gather the relevant and required evidence to support your claim. As part of the DRC program, your VSO can request a claim exam for you, if needed. This result will be included along with your application. Once all your documents are in place, and the VSO has checked to make sure, you can then submit the claim electronically.
If the VA rating specialist doesn’t have enough information to make a decision on your claim, it will be routed through the Fully Developed Claim program, which is the traditional VA claims process. You and your VSO will be notified of the reasons why your claim couldn’t be processed as a DRC.
If you have questions you can call the VA toll-free number at (800) 827-1000.