Topic: Veteran Claims And The Relationship To Business Law

Read Complete Research Material

TOPIC: veteran claims and the relationship to business law

Congress, through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), provides a broad variety of benefits and services to veterans and certain members of their families. Among the benefits that the VA extends to veterans are various types of health care and related services, such as nursing homes, clinics, and medical centers; various types of financial benefits, including disability compensation and pensions; education, vocational training, and related career assistance; home financing; life insurance; burial benefits; and benefits for certain family survivors. The veteran's basic eligibility for these various services and programs is usually determined by the local VA office.

Various criteria must be met in order for the veteran to be eligible for VA benefits and the local VA office scrutinizes the veteran's claim before determining eligibility. In accordance with section 402(e)(2) of Public Law 103-446, we are pleased to transmit to you the Commission's report of findings, conclusions, and recommendations regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs system for the disposition of claims for veterans benefits. Congress framed the statute to assure that the Commission's composition would produce diversified expertise. As specified in section 401(b), one of us is a current and one a former official of VA, two of us were recommended by Veterans Service Organizations and have a thorough understanding of the VA system, and five of us are from other professional backgrounds (including other federal agencies and the private insurance sector). (E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil Pp. 70)

The majority of us came from outside the veterans community and were unfamiliar with the veterans benefits system when we began our service with the Commission. Consequently, the Commission's frame of reference is significantly external and considerably diverse. It is important to note that in 1993 VA had 570,000 pending compensation and pension claims. As of July 1996, regional offices had reduced that number to 346,000. The Veterans Benefits Administration anticipates more improvement. They project that their Business Process Reengineering initiatives will further reduce administrative barriers to improved claims processing. (Dennis Camire Pp. 45-48)

In addition, the Board of Veterans' Appeals reports that changes there—such as their administrative realignment—have reduced response time to 595 days as of September 1996, down from 781 days at the end of fiscal year 1994, and increased decisions per FTE. The Commission recognizes these achievements. The Commission found VA's process and procedures for adjudicating disability compensation claims and deciding appeals analytically inseparable from the claims passing through these processes. We found VA's system for the disposition of claims for veterans benefits truly meaningful only in the context of the nature, frequency, and time frame of such claims. It is important to note that the demographic characteristics of veterans who claim benefits and provide our views on factors driving the system of benefits, particularly disability compensation. The VA has various statutory obligations to assist the veteran in the preparation of his/her application for benefits and any subsequent appeal(s). Among these obligations are assistance in the ...
Related Ads