A dusting of snow….that’s what they said we’d get.
Earlier in the winter, I went to sleep thinking the next morning there’d be a little snow on the ground….
….when I woke up, there was 2 inches of ice under 4 inches of snow.
The streets were shut down. School was closed for 3 days. My team couldn’t make it in to work, so we had over 83 consultation requests pile up in just 3 days.
(Laugh it up Yankees…I know that is a ‘dusting’ to you)
It took us weeks to dig out of that mess.
What does this have to do with the VA? Hopefully, nothing.
When I went to bed on March 23, 2015, I woke up thinking the next day would be nothing unusual.
But when I woke up….
On March 24, 2015, the VA rolled out MAJOR changes to its VA Claims and Appeals processing systems…
One pet peeve about the VA – major changes are announced at the last minute to an audience of over 21 million people.
For the love of Pete, start talking to us earlier so that we have time to get used to what’s coming.
When you dump 6 inches of snow and ice on people without warning, s**t gets screwed up…..but if we know about it in advance, we can prepare and adapt.
Oh well….”No using crying about the snow that’s on the ground”….as they say.
Rather than complain about the problem – complaining about the VA and Congress are HUGE time and energy wasters – the Veterans Law Blog jumped into action.
First, I went to take a tour of the Evidence Intake Center in Newnan, Georgia. I talked to the contractors and the VA supervisors that oversee that operation, and I got to see the operation from start to finish. (I’m going to tell YOU all about it…in the next few days).
Second, I studied the VA’s changes, and talked to our connections inside the VA to understand what is REALLY going on.
Third, I put together tips, tools and info to help you deal with all these changes.
The 3 Big VA Claims and Appeals Changes……
The 3 Big VA Claims and Appeals changes come in 3 major categories:
- 1) Standardized and Mandatory VA Claims and Appeals Forms (like the VA Form 21-0958 and 526ez)
- 2) Online Filing Changes for VA Claims and Appeals
- 3) Centralized mail processing of VA Claims and Appeals paperwork.
If you want a quick summary of the changes to the VA Claims and Appeals processes that the VA just rolled out (from the VAs perspective) click here.
(Notice the lack of what is known as Market Education – educating the marketplace about new products and services is not something that government agencies historically do well)
Frankly, yanking the DAV and AmVets charters would probably go miles to improving the VA Claims and Appeals Process – I have yet to see a claim by EITHER organization that was properly developed…and I see plenty where they drop the ball, miss deadlines, and screw their “clients”.
Today’s post is just to let you know that we are going to start talking about these changes over the next 2 weeks.
In Veterans Law Blog style, I will….
……give you the “low-down” on what is going on inside the VA with all these new changes to VA Claims and Appeals…..
….demonstrate how these changes might impact your claims and appeals….
…..share practical tips on how to deal with these changes
Here’s what we are going to talk about over the next 2 weeks:
* What’s up with this new “Intent to File” form?
* Changes to Online Filing
* An Overview of the VA’s Evidence Intake Centers
* New Way to File Papers in your VA Claims and Appeals by Mail
* New Way to File Papers in your VA Claims and Appeals by Fax
* Shortcuts that will get your Claim and Appeal documents into the Rater’s hands much faster
And MUCH more!
Sign up to get the Veterans Law Blog by email, and I’ll send them right to your inbox the day they go “live” on the blog.
Are These Changes Good for Veterans….or Just Good for the VA?
Only time will tell.
60 years ago, when the VA added the Statement of Case and VA Form 9 to the VA Claims Process….those changes probably made a lot of sense.
But the VA never stopped to question when it was time to “scrap” a change that was no longer relevant….now, the SOC-VA9 is a huge waste of time and resources (for the Veterans and the VA) and it is the #1 cause for the VA Appeals Backlog.
Frankly, I think some of these changes are really bad….some are really good….and some lay the groundwork for bigger changes to come.
(Insider Info: nobody else sees this one coming, but then nobody else has their finger on the VA pulse like the Veterans Law Blog. Ever heard of the National Work Queue? In the next 1-3 years, the VA is going to stop working cases geographically, and assign VA claims and appeals to teams around the nation based on – hopefully – capacity and efficiency).