Used to be, veterans could apply for disability via letter, even a hand written note. Further, when that note arrived, coverage began for the applicant, should his application be accepted, including backdated payments to cover the period between receipt of the application and its acceptance. Not anymore.
The Department of Veterans Affairs says the many ways that requests for disability compensation arrive actually hamper its ability to administer benefits, and they contribute to a claims backlog that has about 400,000 veterans waiting more than 125 days for a decision. At times, workers spend so much time trying to figuring out what’s being claimed and trading letters with applicants that it’s slowing down decisions for everyone.
Never mind that the Godfather of the VA, General Omar Bradley, its first MFWIC, told VA staff that they were there to serve the veterans, not themselves.
According to the VA’s bright idea,
the first communication from a veteran may not trigger anything. Those veterans who put their claims in writing would have to completely fill out a standard form [generally on line], and the clock that determines how far back the government will pay, won’t begin ticking until the VA receives the successfully completed form.
And that form better be filled out correctly. If it’s not, there’ll be delays, including the possibility the form will be returned “for resubmittal in 90 days for further disapproval.” Oh, and never mind that critics of this move point out that
veterans who are the most vulnerable—the homeless, those with traumatic brain injury, and those with a limited education—would have the most trouble meeting the new standard.
The VA emphasizes its online form, which is more convenient for the VA bureaucrats. After all,
The VA said that veterans who don’t have a computer can go to the closest VA facility to get help.
Never mind that lots of veterans, especially those in rural areas and the elderly, either don’t have access to the Internet, or they don’t have a computer at all.