How Are Your Computer Skills?

by Freddy Groves

 

To help with the claims backlog, the Department of Veterans Affairs wants

you to file your claims online. So says a new release. The claims will be

decided faster, officials say.

 

The VA’s eBenefits portal online has been merged with the Veterans

Benefits Management System (VBMS) at all the regional offices. On a

computer you’ll be able to walk through the “interview-style application”

with drop-down menus and pre-populated data fields. You can, they say,

file your claims online just like you do your taxes. You’ll be able to

upload digital images of records and evidence.

 

And if you’re like many older veterans, you have no idea what all that

means.

 

Hint: If you’re going to file a claim and want help with the computer end

of things, get a local Veterans Service Organization to go online and open

your file. (You file an electronic power of attorney.) Since the benefits

will date from whenever your file was started, that should be your first

step. Once you open your online file and start plugging in information,

you have one year to finish it up. Your original date of claim will be

kept in your file. Study up on the Fully Developed Claim (where you state

that you have no other information to add), because those receive priority

in processing, and get all your information in hand.

 

In my opinion, if the VA wants to help the backlog of claims, it needs

to hire more people to scan the documents into VBMS that come in the

traditional way. Still, if you’re up for online filing, you’ll need an

eBenefits account, which means you need to complete a remote verification

process or visit a VA regional office. Call 1-800-827-1000, option 7, if

you already receive benefits by direct deposit.

 

Freddy Groves regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions,

but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to

columnreply2@gmail.com.

 

(c) 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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