Veterans Beat: Electronic claims processing speeds benefit payments

by Ron Seman Published:

As part of its ongoing transformation from paper-based to electronic claims processing, the Department of Veterans Affairs has continued to improve the automated payment of benefits for veterans participating in the Post 9/11 GI Bill education program. As a result, VA is now providing benefit payments to currently enrolled students in an average of six days -- cutting by more than half the processing time experienced during the spring enrollment period last year.

The enhancement to VA's automated processing system, called the Long Term Solution, uses approximately 80 business rules to support end-to-end automation of Post 9/11 claims, ensuring accurate payments without the need for manual handling.

During the month of February, 48 percent of incoming documents (over 115,000) for enrolled students were fully automated, and an additional 33 percent were partially automated. For enrolled students starting a new semester of classes, processing is taking an average of six days to complete. For new students using the benefit for the first time, the average time to establish their eligibility under the Post 9/11 GI Bill is around 24 days.

"We are happy to report that our newest technology has substantially reduced the amount of time it takes to process veterans' education claims," said Under Secretary for Benefits Alison A. Hickey. "It's a good example of VBA's transformation that is delivering better service to the fast-growing number of Post 9/11 participants."

The rules based processing approach LTS uses is also being built into VA's technology to VA's paperless disability claims processing -- the Veterans Benefit Management System.

Over the past three and 1/2 years, VA has produced $27 billion in Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to approximately 938,000 veterans. Servicemembers and their families, and to the universities, colleges, and trade schools they attend.

For more information on VA education benefits, go to http://www.gibill.va.gov/.

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Ohio Department of Veterans Services (ODVS): The ODVS was formed on Aug. 21, 2008. It is located at 77 South High Street in Columbus, employs 878 people, and has an annual budget of$82.9 million. Heading up the cabinet-level agency as director is Col. Thomas Moe, (USAF, Ret.) Jason Dominguez is assistant director.

Some interesting numbers. There are 913,296 veterans, of all wars, living in Ohio. The U.S. VA expenditures in Ohio, $4.5 billion. The number of veterans receiving disability compensation or pension payments was 108,079. The number of Ohio veterans using GI Bill education benefits, 13,314. Number of home loans in Ohio: 8,248, valued at $1.3 billion. VA life insurance policies in Ohio, 46,305, valued at $524 million. Some 2,840 veterans are buried in Ohio VA cemeteries, and the number of issued grave markers is 14,467.

Information: 2010 U.S. census, Office of Public Affairs.

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People? Competition?: There are two kinds of people; those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is much less competition there … The American Legion Leader, Post 193, Mantua.

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Flag Retirement Ceremony: Members of VFW Twinsburg Post 4929 will conduct their annual flag disposal ceremony, Saturday, Apr. 27 at 12 noon at Glen Chamberlin Park. American flags that need to be retired due to their physical condition can be dropped off at Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg City Hall, or Richner Hardware.

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Remember our men and women serving America in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and at other dangerous posts around the world. Keep them in your daily prayers. And write them a letter and send a package of goodies. Make their day!

Items for this column can be mailed to Ron Seman, 7085 West 130th St., Apt. 120E, Parma Heights, 44130-7805, or email: seman.ronald@att.net.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to you and your loved ones.

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