You served your country, and in the process you were injured. It could be a bad back. It could be loss of limb. Or maybe you're not sure if you're entitled to any government benefits. American Legion service officers file thousands of VA claims each year on behalf of America's veterans. And the Legion's Benefits Calculator can help you prepare to file a claim.
Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that veterans will no longer have to complete an annual Eligibility Verification Report (EVR). This elimination will allow more than 100 VA staff to focus on the compensation claims backlog.
Completion of an EVR has been required annually of beneficiaries to ensure pension benefits are received. Now, VA will work with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to verify continued eligibility for pension benefits.
The American Legion applauds the interagency collaboration in order to reduce the time and processing of veterans’ claims.
"As the backlog for veterans’ claims rapidly approaches 900,000 claims, any news to assist in the reduction of the backlog is welcome," said Zach Hearn, national appeals representative for The American Legion Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division. "The statement released by VA encourages a partnership with various government agencies that should not only reduce the burden of veterans receiving VA pension but also assist in allowing VA to focus on disability claims."
Additionally, both the SSA and IRS are pleased with the partnership.
"Having already instituted an expedited process that enables wounded warriors to quickly access Social Security disability benefits, we are proud to work with our federal partners on an automated process that will make it much easier for qualified Veterans to maintain their VA benefits from year to year," said Michael J. Astrue, commissioner of Social Security.
"The IRS is taking new steps to provide critical data to help speed the benefits process for the nation’s Veterans and Veterans Affairs," said Beth Tucker, IRS deputy commissioner for operations support. "The IRS is pleased to be part of a partnership with VA and SSA that will provide needed data quickly and effectively to move this effort forward."
VA will send a letter to beneficiaries who currently receive pension that explains the changes and provides instructions on how to continue to submit their unreimbursed medical expenses.
Visit www.benefits.va.gov/pension for more information about VA pension benefits.