Tuesday, November 16, 2010

VA Pilots Expedite Payments to Disabled Veterans

VA Pilots Expedite Payments to Disabled Veterans

'Quick Pay' and 'Express Lane' Initiatives Work to Cut Processing Time

WASHINGTON (Nov. 16, 2010)- VA has launched two pilot programs to test
new procedures that will speed the payment of Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) compensation benefits to Veterans with disabilities
connected to their military service.  These new programs are part of
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki's effort to "break the
back" of the disability claims backlog.

"A fundamental goal in the transformation of VA's claims processing is
to make sure that Veterans receive in a timely manner the benefits they
earned through their service to our Nation," Shinseki said. "VA's
ambitious tests of numerous innovations reflect our commitment to
constantly improving how we meet our mission of responsiveness to
Veterans, their families and survivors."

The "Quick Pay" Disability Program at the St. Petersburg, Fla., Regional
Office and the "Express Lane" Pilot, based at the Seattle, Wash.,
Regional Office, are among a number of new initiatives using
reengineered and streamlined claims processes to provide Veterans with
faster claims decisions and benefit payments.

Secretary Shinseki established as one of VA's highest priority goals the
elimination of the disability claims backlog by 2015, so that all
Veterans receive a quality decision on their claim in no more than 125

The "Quick Pay" Disability initiative is designed to speed disability
compensation to Veterans who provide sufficient evidence at the time of
claim submission to decide all or part of their claim.  Since program
launch, "Quick Pay" has paid more than $2 million in benefits to 1,656
Florida Veterans.  These payments averaged $1,236 monthly and were made
three months faster than the department's 125-day goal.

Under the "Express Lane" Pilot program based in the Seattle Regional
Office, staff members are realigned to address disability claims based
on claim complexity.

Like a supermarket check-out "express lane," small employee teams focus
on rapidly processing numerous less complex claims that typically
involve only one disability, thus freeing their co-workers to process
the more complex and multiple-disability claims that demand the greatest
level of unilateral effort.

The "Express Lane" Pilot, while managed from Seattle, is also being
tested at three additional VA regional offices: Nashville, Tenn.; St.
Paul, Minn.; and Muskogee, Okla.

The St. Petersburg and Seattle pilots are among more than three dozen VA
initiatives exploring optimal ways to organize and deliver benefits and
improve service to Veterans.

For additional information on VA's claims transformation activities,
visit http://www.vba.va.gov/transformation