You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Fireworks recall underway over ‘burn hazard,’ could explode unexpectedly

Program to help disabled vets

First-time claimants offered retroactive benefits to participate.


The federal government is offering a new carrot designed to knock a dent in the tens of thousands of delayed decisions on Veterans Administration disability claims.

Starting today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Administration will offer military veterans seeking disability benefits the chance for one year of retroactive benefits. The catch is they have to fill out the very comprehensive Fully Developed Claim disability benefit form, and not have done so previously.

The retroactive program, approved last year by Congress, is an aggressive effort by the Obama administration to dramatically shorten the wait for disability benefits that tens of thousands of veterans have been forced to endure.

Allison Hickey, the VA undersecretary for benefits, said the agency “strongly encourages’’ veterans to “participate in this initiative’’ because it “means more money’’ for eligible veterans by providing the agency with “the information it needs up front.’’

“At the same time, it helps reduce the inventory of pending claims by speeding the process,’’ Hickey said in a statement released by VA.

The VA maintains that filing the Fully Developed Claim form — known as an FDC — provides veterans the swiftest path to gaining a decision from government officials.

The VA claims it can process the FDCs in half the time it takes for a more traditionally filed form. The agency also points out the FDC can be filed digitally.

To deal with the FDC’s complexities, the VA is urging veterans to work with Veterans Service Organizations when filling out the form.

Delayed decisions on disability claims have affected tens of thousands of veterans. The VA reports that 480,000 cases have been pending on average for 235 days.

According to the VA office in Cleveland, 23,919 veterans in Ohio have waited an average of 265 days to have their disability claims processed.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said that “it is unacceptable that veterans who served their country have to wait sometimes years to receive the compensation they are due.’’

“Today’s announcement … is a step in the right direction to helping veterans who have waited far too long to receive the disability claims that they’ve earned and deserve,’’ Brown said.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said that while he was “encouraged by this measure to better ensure that our nation’s veterans receive the quality and timely care they deserve,” he warned that while the system might “expedite the process for veterans who have easy access to online services or veterans’ service officers, the claims of older veterans who may not be as technologically savvy may fall to the wayside.’’

Only veterans filing FDCs for the first time can take advantage of the retroactive benefit program. The program ends in August of 2015.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Military

Ohio sailor among 7 killed aboard USS Fitzgerald, US Navy says
Ohio sailor among 7 killed aboard USS Fitzgerald, US Navy says

An Ohioan was among the seven casualties found in flooded berthing compartments of the USS Fitzgerald following the collision with a Japanese merchant vessel. The U.S. Navy Sunday identified the sailors killed as: Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Virginia...
U.S. Marine from Champaign County dies days after marrying sweetheart
U.S. Marine from Champaign County dies days after marrying sweetheart

A 20-year-old U.S. Marine from Champaign County died in a motorcycle crash only days after marrying his high school sweetheart. Brandon Laughman, a 2015 Graham High School graduate, died as a result of injuries he sustained in a single-vehicle motorcycle crash that happened June 12 in San Diego, where he was stationed as an active duty U.S. Marine...
Travis AFB no longer on lockdown after report of ‘active shooter’
Travis AFB no longer on lockdown after report of ‘active shooter’

Travis Air Force Base in California is no longer on lockdown, base officials reported on its Facebook page A California congressman told the Associated Press that a mistaken report of a shooting led to the Travis Air Force Base in California to lock down. Travis Air Force Base is on lock for what the base calls a “security incident.” ...
Major gate at Wright-Patt reopens for thousands of commuters
Major gate at Wright-Patt reopens for thousands of commuters

A major gateway closed for weeks to thousands of Wright-Patterson commuters during a $1.3 million security upgrade has reopened in Area B at Wright-Patterson, authorities say. Base Gate 19B, off National Road, which typically averages about 11,000 vehicles a day, will return to 24-hour operations at midnight Monday, according to Wright-Patterson spokeswoman...
Report finds racial disparities in military justice system
Report finds racial disparities in military justice system

Black service members were “substantially more likely” to face judicial punishment or administrative discipline compared to their white counterparts while in uniform, according to an advocacy group’s study of racial disparity in the military justice system. The Protect Our Defenders report released Wednesday found in the Air Force...
More Stories