In late 2011 the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began a 15-month trial of a pilot program designed to expedite fully developed veterans disability claims. The pilot program, known as the Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) program, is the VA’s latest initiative to reduce the disability claim backlog.
The ACE program combines the resources of the Veterans Health Administration and the Veterans Benefits Administration to promote instant sharing of records. The two administrations work together to evaluate a claim for completeness in regards to medical records.
The ACE Process
During the ACE process, a Veterans Affairs medical provider uses the disabled veteran’s existing medical records to complete a disability questionnaire. If necessary, a telephone interview with the disabled veteran is conducted to fill in any missing medical information. If the medical provider can gather enough evidence through medical records and interviews, the disabled veteran may be eligible to forgo the in-person medical evaluation, saving time, travel, and stress.
Officials from the VA are confident that the ACE program will help, “expedite the determination of disability ratings in turn eliminating the wait time to schedule and conduct an exam from the claims process.” The pilot test at one regional VA office found that 38 percent of all incoming claims were eligible for evaluation through the ACE program.
Medical evidence and military records are the two most important parts of a veteran’s disability claim application. Errors or omissions in these forms of documentation can lead to delays or unfair denials of veterans’ disability benefit claims.
If a disabled veteran or family member of a wounded warrior needs assistance navigating the veterans’ disability claims process, the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group can help. Contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today – 1-855-855-8992.