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Federal Employees News Digest : May 27, 2013
veterans service organizations (VSOs) in addressing the backlog. The program will help VSOs represent veterans during various parts of the claims process in order to more quickly assemble “fully developed claims”—claims for which veterans have all the available and necessary evidence to support an initial claim filing. VA said it hopes to expand the effort by bringing a growing number of VSOs into the program, which the department called a “key part” of its overall plan to end the backlog in 2015. VA said submitting a fully developed claim when a vet first files a formal claim is the most effective way to ensure that a claim is not backlogged; VA said it can pro- cess a fully developed claim in half the time it takes to process a traditionally filed claim. According to VA press materials, teams from the American Legion, for example, have been working with VA since December on the fully developed claims process, trav- eling to regional VA offices around the country to train their own service officers, as well as to help identify best practices for assembling fully developed claims. The new program will support sharing of best practices with other VSOs whose representatives help vets with compensa- tion claims. More overtime VA this month also said it would require more overtime hours to address the backlog. In a May 15 announce- ment, VA said it would require overtime for claims processors in its 56 regional benefits offices through the end of fis- cal 2013 as part of a “surge” to address the backlog. VA said it would emphasize high-priority claims for homeless veter- ans, those claiming financial hardship, terminally ill, former prisoners of war, Medal of Honor recipients and veterans filing fully developed claims. “ This increased overtime initiative will provide more veterans with decisions on their claims and will help us achieve our goal of eliminating the claims backlog,” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said. VA last month also began prioritizing claims decisions for vets who have been waiting the longest by providing provi- sional decisions that let eligible vets col- lect compensation benefits more quickly. Under these provisional decisions, vets have a year to submit additional informa- tion to support a claim before the decision becomes final. The department said it will continue separate, priority handling of claims for wounded service members leaving the military for medical reasons. Those claims are handled jointly with the Department of Defense through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). Vets separating through IDES currently get VA compensation two months following their separation from service, VA said. May 27, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 43 4 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com continued from page 3 continued on page 5 2013AlmanacFederalEmployees 2013 Federal Employees Almanac Your One-Stop Resource on Federal Benefits Single copies start as low as $23.95 www.FederalDaily.com/catalog • 800.989.3363 Celebrating 60 Years of the Almanac! Printcopies25%offforaLimitedTime–OrderToday!EntercodeM35SAVEatcheckoutandpressApplyPrintcopies25%offforaLimitedTime–OrderToday!EntercodeM35SAVEatcheckoutandpressApply Half_page_instock.indd 1 5/14/13 11:26 AM continued on page 5
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