New VA Policy on Benefits Brings Backlash from Veterans Groups

New VA Policy on Benefits Brings Backlash from Veterans Groups

May 12, 2015

New VA Policy on Benefits Brings Backlash from Veterans Groups

A new VA policy requires veterans to fill out a formal application or speak to a designated VA employee to begin the process of receiving benefits. This is a change from the past process which only required a veteran to provide a simple notice. This new policy has prompted two veterans groups to file suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "The Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars filed suit Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, arguing the new policy would hinder some veterans in getting benefits and move back the effective date for when their benefits begin. The new policy, implemented March 24, also says the VA isn’t necessarily responsible for fixing a claim if a veteran fills out the form improperly."

Change in Policy is Veteran Unfriendly

The old system was non-adversarial and pro-veteran. Before the change in VA policy on benefits, veterans could begin the process of receiving benefits by simply writing a description of their issues on a piece of paper. It was then up to a VA official Then a VA official to reach out to the veteran and provide the correct forms to officially make a claim.

At that point, the veteran seeking benefits had one year to make the official claim. And in another veteran-friendly part of the process, the veteran could be back paid benefits to the date of the unofficial claim which was originally submitted.

The veterans groups involved in this lawsuit say the new VA policy is no longer veteran friendly. It is, instead, veteran unfriendly.

“Our opposition is to this ‘all or nothing approach’ that VA is forcing on veterans—changes, that if left in place, will guarantee in this year alone that tens of thousands of service-connected wounded, ill and injured veterans will be denied benefits they were entitled to before the change became effective,” William L. Bradshaw, VFW director of National Veterans Service.

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