Veterans Seek Better Representation: Procedure without Function

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Veterans are fed up with procedures without function!!

Situational Stress:  The Veteran’s quest for a claim resolution!

 When a Veteran would like to make a legal claim with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, they will work with a Veteran Service Officer (VSO).   The VSO will conduct an assessment meeting to hear the Veteran’s claim and gather necessary documentation. The VSO will educate the Veteran with the goal of achieving a favorable adjudication of the Veteran’s claim request for disability.

Other issues may enter the picture as the Veteran reveals his/her circumstances.  Issues such as housing, unemployment, medical problems or legal matters. Most agencies lack the process to gather the true picture of what is impacting the delivery of services. This is mostly due to the current model used across non profit agencies. The process lacks function.  Part of the function should include models to capture factual data and managing emotional topics. 

Procedure without Function!

The local non profit agencies, state and federal level are inundated with advocacy needs. Federal regulations prevent Veterans from hiring legal representation for preparation and presentation of their VA compensation claims before an appeal is initiated. We believe this is one of the reasons Veterans’ are funneled towards representation that consequently is free.  Furthermore, the process is not consistent across organizations. Veterans have to rely on “word-of-mouth” referrals to find the “best” representation. Veteran’s express their dissatisfaction in the method in which they are represented. The ratio of services is uneven and unhealthy. Veterans’ shop the best service and thus VSOs’ who are most competent find themselves inundated with visits for reply and address VA needs.

Training in this area includes administrative law  pertinent to 38 C.F.R section 3 and 4 but much of content knowledge is never applied for lack of time and process.  The results are often misrepresented cases resulting in denials which must be appealed. This process creates a backlog of claims. In addition, other factor affect the delivery of this complicated process.

I have seen Veterans line up at 5:00 am and still be turned away after hours of waiting for the referred VSO.  The VSO may not be aware of this faulty process. The Veterans that are lucky enough to be heard, feel an increase anxiety and this tends to heighten their sense of urgency!  The Veteran then will avalanche the VSO with as much information as possible which takes valuable time.

Without and effective model , the dance between the VSO and the Veteran is plagued with many obstacles! This unhealthy dynamic exists between the provider and recipient of services.  To change this, congress is looking at creating a change in this arena and we as providers must align our working models in that same direction. Alternatives For Vets aligns with the quest on providing better services.

Quest to Improve Services

“Section 211 would require the Government Accountability Office (hereinafter, “GAO”) to complete a review of the VA regional offices to help the Veterans Benefits Administration achieve more consistent performance in the processing of claims for disability compensation, including an assessment of the effectiveness of communication between the regional offices and Veterans service organizations and caseworkers of Members of Congress” (Senate Report 114-153 October 19, 2015)

The Committee of Veteran’s Affairs presented a proposal to address the problem* and provide a resolution.  The 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act promises to improve the way the benefit claims are processed.  The problems of inadequate staff, back-logged claims or even lost claims have long been unattended and the Committee’s proposal is to look in the direction of employing the hep of community providers. 

Finding A Solution Together!

Alternative For Vets has crafted a model solution that helps the overloaded VSO and other agencies to service a disability claim in less time and less stress.  This model will provide better service and capture legal information to enhance the claim.  It provides a safe place to address situational anxiety associated with the claim process.

We cannot control what the VA implements or how these changes affect the Veteran.  What we can do is implement measures that can be controlled and thus allow the release of tension experienced by the Veteran in advocating for themselves.

The answer is not in spending more money, hiring more people to implement a broken system.  The answer is to utilize the thousands of VSO’s and agencies already employed to implement a more efficient model of  service that will a) Capture important data and facts  b) communicate trust and competency  c) activate a process that includes measurable results.

This enhanced and efficient model will help the local community of non profit service providers to better serve our Veterans and become a strong allied component with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Alternatives for Vets mission is to provide an efficient model to improve the system of communication in the Veteran Benefit Sector.

In the next blog we will discuss a model process used to improved the retention of valuable facts and how to efficiently manage an intake claim assessment to create delivery of objectives in claim representation.


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