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Feds mull change to application for veterans disability benefits

Any veteran who has tried to apply for disability benefits during the last several years understands how frustrating the process can be. We have previously reported that a massive backlog in benefit claims has caused waiting periods to be excruciatingly long. Federal officials have tried to put a dent in the backlog, but it still exists months later.

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced that it is considering the use of a standard form to begin or appeal the administration of disability benefits. Officials say it will streamline the process, but a number of advocacy groups for veterans have raised concerns.

Under the current system, veterans initiate a claim simply by contacting the government agency. At this point, the veterans would then be prompted to provide supporting documentation. The proposed change would prevent claims from starting until the standardized form and accompanying paperwork is received.

Critics of the proposal say that the change will create an immense burden for veterans who returned from active duty with a disability. This is concerning, especially knowing how dense the current process can be. Any potential hitches added to the process could be devastating.

At this point, it's not yet known whether or not the VA will actually move forward with the plan. If a change is made, it will take only 30 days to go into effect after it's made official.

Veterans have put so much on the line by volunteering to represent the country. As such, they shouldn't have to deal with the complications associated with a benefit application. Ultimately, the hope is that they receive the help they deserve.

Source: AL.com, "Disabled veterans worry filing change will slow already cumbersome process," Leada Gore, Jan. 16, 2014

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