Presentation on theme: "Objectives To describe The Fully Developed Claims (FDC) program"— Presentation transcript:
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1ObjectivesTo describe The Fully Developed Claims (FDC) programTo explain how to file both Formal and Informal FDC’sTo explain the value of DBQ’s in the FDC processTo explain Fast Letter and the one year retro requirements
2National PerformanceBased on national numbers as of June 1, 2014 for FY 2014:Nearly 146K FDCs completed, with an average days to complete (ADC) to date of 147.4Nearly 38K FDCs that have been excluded from the program with an ADC of 248.8Nearly 682K non FDC claims (traditional claims) completed with an ADC of 261.9To date, there are nearly 864K total claims completed with an ADC of 242.1
3What is a Fully Developed Claim (FDC)? The Fully Developed Claims (FDC) program is an initiative that offers Veterans and survivors faster decisions from VA on compensation, pension, and survivor benefit claims.For an FDC, VA willRetrieve relevant records from a Federal facility, such as a VA medical center when identified by a claimantProvide a medical examination, or get medical opinion, if VA determines it is necessary to decide the claimVA will send a development letter to the claimant under the FDC program only when:- A claim for a condition has been previously denied- VA determines that federal records are unavailable
4What’s different about an FDC? FDC ProgramProvides claimants notice of the evidence necessary to substantiate a claim prior to submissionClaimants submit all evidence necessary to decide their claim at the time of submission and certify there is no additional evidenceSignificant reduction in processing timeStandard Claim ProcessProvides claimants notice of the evidence necessary to substantiate a claim after a claim is receivedSupporting evidence is submitted after the claim is filed- Often awaiting evidence fromsources, e.g. private doctorsLonger processing times
5FDC Exclusions (Traditional Claims) A few types of claims are not specifically covered by the FDC notice. Examples include:Claims for Permanent & Total statusClaims for Hepatitis CClaims for a higher level of SMC (i.e. R-2)Administrative Exclusions:IE.. Needs non-Fed evidence development, Evidence received after FDC is CEST’d, Claimant declined FDC processing, FDC certification incomplete, Additional claim submitted, Claim pending, Appeal pending, Necessary form(s) not submitted, Failure To Report to exam
6By filing one or more of the VA approved FDC forms: Submitting an FDCBy filing one or more of the VA approved FDC forms:VA Form ez Fully Developed Claim (Compensation)VA Form ez Fully Developed Claim (Pension)VA Form ez Fully Developed Claim (Application for DIC, Death Pension, and Accrued Benefits)Obtaining an eBenefits account to file online atPlease note: The new forms are dated August Only the forms dated August 2013 or later will be accepted into the FDC program .
7Private medical evidence includes: Submitting an FDCA claimant must submit copies of Disability Benefit Questionnaires (DBQ’s) or their private treatment records for VA to consider in order to remain eligible for the FDC programPrivate medical evidence includes:- Treatment notes from private physicians- Hospital records, Outpatient records- National Guard/Reserve records- Any medical records related to the claimed disabilityMedical records alone typically will NOT replace the VA examination requirementIf the claimant submits a completed VA Form for a private provider the claim will be excluded from the FDC process
8Disability Benefit Questionnaires DBQs are downloadable electronic forms that, once completed by a private physician with an active medical license, serve as the equivalent to an examination at a VA facilityDBQs can speed the Fully Developed Claims process by providing medical information that is directly relevant to determining a disability ratingClaimant has the option of visiting a private health care provider to complete these at their cost instead of waiting for an appointment at a VA facilitySubmitting an appropriately completed DBQ(s) along with an FDC can eliminate the need to attend a VA examination
9What types of claims can be FDC? Service connection (original, new, secondary, and reopened)Service connection based on a period of active duty for training or inactive duty trainingIncreased disability compensationIndividual UnemployabilityTemporary total disability rating due to hospitalization or due to surgical or other treatmentCompensation under 38 U.S.C. 1151Increased benefits based on the need for aid and attendance or based on an additional disability or housebound status (SMC)Specially adapted housing or special home adaptationAutomobile allowance or adaptive equipmentBenefits based on a Veteran’s helpless/seriously disabled child
10What types of claims can be FDC? (cont.) Improved PensionSpecial Monthly Pension (Aid and Attendance or housebound benefits)Improved Pension benefits based on a Veteran’s helpless/seriously disabled childAccrued benefitsDIC based on service-connected cause of deathDIC based on 38 U.S.C. §1318DIC based on active-duty-for-training or inactive-duty-training deathSurvivor’s pension and Parents’ DIC38 U.S.C §1151 DICIncreased survivor benefits (aid and attendance or housebound)Benefits for a Veteran’s helpless/seriously disabled child
11VA’s Duty to AssistThe EZ forms provide notification required by 38 C.F.R§5103 at the time the claimant applies for benefits.Compensation claims (1-10 on the previous slide) MUST be submitted on VA Form EZPension claims (11-13 on the previous slide) MUST be submitted on VA Form EZSurvivor claims (13-21 on the previous slide) MUST be submitted on VA Form EZAll 3 of these forms satisfy the DTA requirements of 38 C.F.R§5103All 3 of these forms can also be electronically completed and submitted atRequirements for the submission of additional forms for “Special Circumstances” are described in the next 3 slides
12Application Special Circumstances Guard and Reserve members, must submit all service treatment and personnel records in the custody of their Unit(s)If claiming dependents, must submit VA Form c, Declaration of Status of Dependents (with ALL birth and marriage documentation)If claiming a child in school between ages of 18 and 23, must submit VA Form , Request for Approval of School AttendanceIf claiming seriously disabled (helpless) child, must submit all relevant medical records pertaining to the child’s disabilities before obtaining the age of 18If claiming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a completed VA Form , Statement in Support of Claim for Service Connection for PTSD; if claiming PTSD based on Personal Trauma, VA Form a
13Application Special Circumstances (cont.) If claiming Individual Unemployability (IU), a completed VA Form , Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability, and a completed VA Form , Request for Employment Information in Connection with a Claim for Disability BenefitsIf claiming a Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home Adaptation, a completed VA Form , Application in Acquiring Specially Adapted Housing or Special Home AdaptationIf claiming Auto Allowance, a completed VA Form , Application for Automobile or Other Conveyance and Adaptive EquipmentIf claiming additional benefits because the Veteran or his/her spouse requires Aid and Attendance, a completed VA Form , Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance, If claiming Aid and Attendance, based on nursing home attendance, completed VA Form 0779, Request for Nursing Home Information in Connection with Claim for Aid and Attendance
14Application Special Circumstances (cont.) If claiming DIC as the parent of the Veteran, all necessary income and net worth information and, if claimant benefits as the foster parent of the Veteran, a completed VA Form , Statement of Claiming to Have Stood in Relation of ParentSurvivor Claims require the submission of the Veterans Death Certificate (unless he/she died on active duty)Dual Compensation and Pension claims MUST be submitted separately on VA Forms EZ and EZ
15Exclusions from the FDC Program An applicant can be excluded from the FDC program for various reasons, including:The claimant indicates he/she does not want VA to process his/her claim under the FDC programThe claimant has a claim pending at the time VA receives the EZ formThe claimant has an appeal pending at the time VA receives the EZ form and the claims folder is not located at the regional office (RO) of jurisdictionThe claimant fails to simultaneously submit any of the additional items VA requires to process his/her specific claimFurther evidence is needed from the claimant such as-(a) private medical care provider(s), or-records in the custody of the Veteran’s Guard/Reserve unit
16Exclusions from the FDC Program The claim requires a character of discharge determinationCompletion of NA Form 13055, Request for Information Needed to Reconstruct Medical Data, (by the claimant) because his/her service treatment records were destroyed by a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in 1973The Veteran fails to report for a VA examination and asks VA to reschedule it (unless VA is solely at fault because it, for example, did not provide the examining facility with the claimant’s correct mailing address), orThe Veteran submits another claim, additional evidence, or a notice of disagreement after submitting the FDC
17FDC Program Development The only development VA undertakes in connection with an FDC is to request:A VA ExaminationTo request Federal records in the custody of the Federal government (This includes records in the custody of VA medical centers but excludes records in the custody of a Veteran’s Reserve/Guard unit(s) or records at NPRC that can only be obtained if the claimant completes NA Form 13055), VA must undertake the development described in M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart i, 3.B and/orIf a claimant submits an FDC in an effort to reopen a previously denied claim, VA must undertake the development described in M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart i, 3.B.7.
18FDC Program Development (cont.) For both Federal Records and Reopened FDC’s when notifying the claimant of the VA’s findings it should include the following:“We received your claim and your request to participate in the Fully Developed Claim (FDC) Program. Though you indicated you have no other information or evidence to give VA to support your claim, we are required to send you this notice. If you have information or evidence not previously submitted to VA that supports your claim, we recommend you submit it. As a reminder, if you submit any additional information or evidence at this point, VA will remove your claim from the FDC Program Expedited Process and process it in the Standard Claim Process.”The VA will not wait for a response to the letter before undertaking the development actionsThe VA will allow the claimant 30 days to respond to the letter. If the claimant submits additional evidence, then the claim is removed from the FDC program
19FDC Program Development (cont.) When a claim is excluded from the FDC program, either at initial receipt or subsequently, the claimant is notified using language such as:“We cannot process your claim under the Fully Developed Claim Program because…we received evidence requiring further development after the claim was received.you did not report for a scheduled VA examination.you did not sign your FDC application.
20Informal or Incomplete Claims To submit an Incomplete (online) or Informal claim, use VA Form or a letter with the following statement:“The American Legion as POA or as Next Friend of Claimant, pursuant to 38 C.F.R (a) on behalf of the claimant informs the VA of the claimant’s intent to apply for compensation and/or pension benefits under the FDC Program. This statement is to preserve the effective date for entitlement to benefits. The veteran’s date of birth is 10/19/1951.Claimant understands they have one year to complete the claim or they will lose the effective date of this claim.”
21Informal or Incomplete Claims If a claimant identifies a specific contention (e.g., left leg, diabetes, etc) the VA will consider it a formal application. It will place the claim under end product control (e.g., EP 020) effective the date of receipt of the communication, and it will be moved forward for processing.Also if a claim is filed for one of the Special Circumstances such as PTSD, Agent Orange exposure, Military Sexual Trauma (MST), etc., and the claim is submitted without the proper forms and further development from the claimant is needed, then the claim must be removed from the FDC program (ie..submitting a VA Form )
22One-year Retroactive Date On August 6, 2012, the President signed a comprehensive legislative package, the “Honoring America Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012,” PL Section 506 of this Act amends 38 U.S.C.§5110 to allow up to a one-year retroactive effective date for awards of disability compensation based on fully developed original claims. August 2, 2013 Fast Letter Processing Fully Developed Original Claims Received from August 6, 2013 through August 5, 2015 further defined this benefit.
23Eligibility for the one-year retroactive date The claim must be compensation – no other types of claims are eligibleThe claim must be original, an initial formal (complete) claim filed by a Veteran or their representativeThe Veteran must have separated from his/her last period of active duty service more than one year agoThe claim must be received from August 6, 2013 throughAugust 5, 2015The claim must be received on a VA Form EZ. Veterans can also apply through eBenefits using VONAPP Direct Connect (VDC)If any of these requirements are not met, VA will determine if the claim is still eligible for processing under the FDC program
24Calculating the one-year retroactive date The evidence of record must support the evaluation assigned from the effective date. For example; if evidence submitted with the FDC shows the level of disability existed for one year prior to submission of the claim, then process the award with a one-year retroactive effective date. If, however, the evidence of record supports less than one-year of disability, process the award accordingly Unless there is evidence clearly supporting a staged rating, the rating should be consistent through the entire retroactive period.
25Calculating the one-year retroactive date Claimants are eligible to receive retroactive pay and an effective date calculated as whichever is the earlier of- the date up to one year prior to receipt of the completeFDC if the facts support such an effective date, or- the date of receipt of an informal claim for which a formal(complete) FDC was subsequently receivedIn either case, the effective date may not be more than one year prior to the date the formal (complete) FDC claim is received.
26Calculating the one-year retroactive date If a claimant initiates an application for an original FDC compensation claim online on January 1, 2013, (considered the date of claim), but does not submit the completed electronic application until September 1, 2013, the effective date for any benefit awarded would be September 1, 2012, or one year from the date VA received the fully developed electronic claim.The one-year retroactive pay is always calculated from the date the formal claim is filed.
27Calculating the one-year retroactive date If evidence of record submitted with an FDC shows the level of disability existed for one year prior to submission of the claim, then the claim should be awarded with a one-year retroactive effective dateIf there is medical evidence clearly showing that the claimed medical condition did not exist, or had not manifested to a compensable degree, either during the one year prior to the date of claim, or following the date of claim, and evidence is received supporting the disability while the claim is pending, then the effective should be based on the specific facts in the case.Important: The one-year retroactive effective date cannot be granted for claims removed from the FDC program
28Time to Gather Evidence Lock in an effective date by paper or onlineA claimant can start a claim online at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov, save the incomplete claim. Then complete the submission of the claim and all the supporting evidence once it is gatheredA claimant has one year from the date the claim is initiated to complete the submission of the fully developed claim to preserve the initiation date for benefit payment
29Forms and InformationDownload any VA Form including EZ Forms at:DBQs can be downloaded at:FDC Website is located at:eBenefits:
30eBenefits and SEPFiling an electronic claim keeps the claim digital and allows VSO’s to work in the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal (SEP).Enter/Update Dependency claimsAccept/Decline new Power of Attorney requestsCheck the status of pending claimsUpload supporting documentsView payment historyComplete some online claims forms; VA Form ez, VA Form C, VA Form , VA Form , and VA Form VA Form and VA Form have been integrated into the EZ and the questions that need to be answered for those forms will be brought up through that process.