The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today it is implementing an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for veterans who have waited one year or longer.
Effective today, VA claims raters will make provisional decisions on the oldest claims in inventory, which will allow veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits more quickly if eligible. Veterans will be able to submit additional evidence for consideration a full year after the provisional rating, before the VA issues a final decision.
Provisional decisions will be based on all evidence provided to date by the veteran or obtained on his or her behalf by VA. If a VA medical examination is needed to decide the claim, it will be ordered and expedited.
If any increase is determined to be warranted based on the additional evidence received, benefits will be retroactive to the date the claim was initially filed. The initiative protects the veteran's right to appeal the decision. If no further evidence is received within that year, The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) will inform the veteran that his or her rating is final and provide information on the standard appeals process, which can be found at http://www.bva.va.gov/ 
Throughout this initiative, VA will continue to prioritize claims for homeless veterans and those claiming financial hardship, the terminally ill, former Prisoners of War, Medal of Honor recipients, and veterans filing Fully Developed Claims. More information about filing Fully Developed Claims is available at: http://www.benefits.va.gov/transformation/fastclaims/ 
Claims for wounded warriors separating from the military for medical reasons will continue to be handled separately and on a priority basis with the Department of Defense through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). Wounded warriors separating through IDES currently receive VA compensation benefits in an average of 61 days following their separation from service.
Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense—VA web portal eBenefits at: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal