WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Disabled Veterans National Foundation (www.dvnf.org), a non-profit veterans service organization that focuses on helping men and women who serve and return home wounded or sick after defending our safety and our freedom, is urging disabled veterans and their families to get the help of claims preparers when filing their claims as a way to get help faster. The VA is leading the way in trying to get veterans with combat-related disabilities the help they need faster, rather than having to wait due to the nationwide backlog of benefit claims. The VA's push reflects a reality that veterans face of the long, often-time frustrating process of filing and waiting for benefits due to a claims process that has become a challenge for many veterans.
The VA relies on accredited, independent claims preparers, which are usually offered free of charge by local governments or veterans service organizations. The claims preparers can help veterans fill out claims applications that are pages long and require extensive medical and other documentation.
The VA has emphasized that the use of independent preparers to help veterans fill out the paperwork will help cut down on filing errors. According to the agency, these errors contribute to more than 700,000 claims backlogged nationally, and with delays of up to several months or longer for benefit checks to arrive.
"[The] VA strongly encourages veterans to work with veterans service organizations to file fully developed claims and participate in this initiative," Allison Hickey, the VA's undersecretary for benefits, said in a release.
"We hope that the benefit claims process for our veterans speeds up," said Precilla Wilkewitz, President of the DVNF. "There is already the challenge that our veterans don't always ask for help, as they tend to be too proud to ask for assistance in the first place. If the claims process is too cumbersome, it can actually deter veterans from seeking help when they might truly need it."
DVNF is also praising recent efforts to reduce the national veterans' homeless rate. According to a recent VA release, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs announced a second round of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) funding to local public housing agencies across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The $7.8 million will provide housing and clinical services for 1,120 currently homeless veterans. In May of this year, the two agencies announced $60 million in HUD-VASH vouchers. See state/local distribution of the assistance announced today.
Doug Walker, Communications Manager, 202-737-0522, Email
Read more news from Disabled Veterans National Foundation
SOURCE The Disabled Veterans National Foundation