VA gives Veterans another chance to serve

VBA employee Victoria Green assists CSM Kennis Dent with his VA enrollment at the Veterans Affairs exhibit at the 2012 Association of the United States Army Conference, Walter Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C., Oct 24, 2012. (Robert Turtil for VA)

I’m a proud Air Force Veteran and a new member of VA’s team. Joining VA, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect after having spent 12 years working for the Department of Defense as both an active-duty military member and a civilian. But so far, what I’ve experienced has been positive and full of dedicated staff members who are here to serve.

I didn’t expect to see so many Veterans, and to reconnect with so many people I have served with. From people I know and have been stationed with, to friends of friends, the network of Veterans within this organization is huge.

Click here to see VA's strategic plan to end the backlog

But the dedication of its team members and VA’s commitment to hiring Veterans makes VA much more than just a place where I can reconnect with long-lost Air Force friends. It means that throughout the Health, Benefits, and National Cemetery Administrations, Veterans are serving Veterans, spouses and their families.

Just look at the Veterans Benefits Administration, where 54 percent of total VBA claims raters are Veterans. In 2012 alone, 88 percent of newly-hired claims raters were Veterans. What this means is that most of the people working on Veterans’ claims have a vested interest in getting those done quickly, and done accurately – because maybe some of them have filed claims in the past or even have claims pending. They get it!  Having a personal connection to the process makes it that much more important to make sure the process is effective.

There’s a backlog, and while we’re making steady progress on reducing it it’s important to remember that VA and the VBA claims reps are working hard to complete every claim quickly and accurately. We know that each claim will have an impact on a Veteran in need of assistance.

Veterans applying for new claims can help, by filing a fully developed claim when it’s applicable. This means you submit all of your information at once, and certify that you have no further information to file in relation to that claim. If it fits your needs, it’s much faster than other types of claims. Veterans can file an FDC when they have an injury, disability, or condition believed to have occurred or been aggravated by military service or a condition caused or aggravated by an existing service-related condition. More information about the different types of claims and compensation is available here.

Claim status can be tracked by registering at eBenefits. Also, visit VA’s ASPIRE web site to find information about processing times for the regional office that is working on your claim.

Beyond claims, my experience with VA staff is that people are proud of the jobs they do in serving Veterans. They – WE – all want to ensure you receive the world-class health care and benefits you have earned through your service.

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7 Comments to “VA gives Veterans another chance to serve”

  1. How can I serve, I don’t see the answer to this question/

  2. David Kaplan says:

    My wife and I were both Veterans of WWII, and both worked for VA. I was later a volunteer when she became an in-patient, working with her, and other veterans, and I became an out-patient myself. I have continued to benefit from such care. No matter my role, whenever I am there, I am with family, and all are my brothers and sisters, no matter the generation gaps, and wars fought. Helping and being helped. Semper Fi.

  3. WAYNE RYBURN says:

    I WOULD LIKE THE BACKLOG REDUCED AND MY CLAIM EXPEDITED!!!! HONESTLY, IF THE VA CONTINUES TO TAKE YEARS TO COMPLETE CLAIMS THE VETERANS IN NEED MAY VERY WELL BE DECEASED BY THE TIME THEIR CLAIMS ARE FINALLY COMPLETED!!!!

    NAVY VETERAN

  4. Allen D Sweatt says:

    It is wonderful to hear how the VA is extending itself to veterans who have served. It is my hope that as I continue on my journey to educate myself more that I too as a service connected disabled veteran will join the VA ranks. I am currently a peer health specialist at Pathways for Housing DC, a recovery coach and working toward my certification as an addiction counselor. Also, I am investigating on how to become a certified recovery support specialist in the State of Maryland. The last two weeks in September I will be attending certified peer specialist training in Philadelphia and soon after interviewing to become a volunteer at the DC VAMC either in the mental health clinic, the trauma unit of in the social work area. My goal is to start graduate school to become a social worker in the Fall of 2014 and again join the ranks to those who wish to serve the VA in a positive capacity.

    Respectfully,

    Allen Sweatt

  5. lambda5555m says:

    I hope that the VA, in its efforts and haste, has not just gotten records scanned and then gone back to the same deplorable, unfair, arbitrary and capricious decision making process that has been rife with problems and causing Veterans to have to continue to fight for their claims and justify them. The VA was supposed to be more realistic and a little more generous, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. I submitted a “Fully Developed Claim” years ago and there are still many problems that need to be fixed. I hand carried a copy of my Army Medical Records and then gave them all the documents from my civilian physicians, yet when I claim something and it is documented by both military and civilian doctors, the VA refuses to say it is service connected or just denies my claim. So I have to appeal, write letters, etc., and still, after 8 years, the problems I have are not fixed. Just because the VA scans our records and can do things for reports and statistics, doesn’t mean that they have fixed the disability rating problems. When that process will be undertaken is not clear and I hope they do it in my lifetime!

  6. God bless the VA- keep up the good work

  7. Kappy says:

    Great initiative by VA. Congrats to the team.