Claim processing times for veterans’ disability benefits may soon be reduced again thanks to a new initiative being launched by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) initiative will help reduce the need of in-person medical exams to support disability claims of veterans and wounded servicemembers.
Medical Evidence Is Necessary for a Veterans’ Disability Benefits Claim
When a disabled veteran files a claim for benefits from the VA they must provide evidence that they have a disabling medical condition acquired due to their military service. In the past, veterans have had to undergo medical exams in person to obtain a disability rating – a percentile value that determined the severity of their disability.
The ACE initiative will now allow veterans who have adequate medical records to bypass the medical exam requirement. Instead, a VA medical provider will fill out a Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) that uses the existing medical records to create a disability profile. If necessary, VA claims staff will contact the veteran to obtain further information via telephone, instead of requiring an in-person medical exam.
Not All Claims Will Be Eligible for the ACE Initiative
During the pilot test at one of the VA’s regional offices, about 38 percent of veterans’ disability claims were eligible for the ACE program. The VA reviews the veterans’ existing medical records and determines whether or not there is sufficient evidence to complete a DBQ. When the veterans’ medical records are not sufficient enough, they will be required to go through the medical exam with the VA.
The South Florida veterans’ disability attorneys at the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group can help you submit your veterans’ disability application properly to reduce the risk of errors and omissions that can cause delays or denials. Contact us today at 1-855-855-8992.