- What is the Fully Developed Claim pilot program?
- The Fully Developed Claim pilot program was implemented to assess VA's capacity to process fully developed claims within 90 days of receipt. A claim is considered fully developed when the claimant has no other information to submit and requires no additional VA assistance, except for obtaining federal records and ordering medical examinations.
- What is the advantage of filing a fully developed claim?
- We will make every effort to decide a fully developed claim within 90 days. However, we may not always meet this goal since obtaining any evidence not in VA's possession may take longer to get.
- What kind of claims are involved in this pilot program?
This pilot applies to most original and reopened claims for VA benefits, including compensation, survivor, and burial benefits. Pension claims also qualify for the pilot program for individuals living in Illinois, Wisconsin, or Alabama. This pilot does not involve any part of the appeals process; VA is testing expedited appeals processes in a separate pilot.
- How do I participate in this pilot program?
- To participate, you must submit your claim by December 16, 2009, to a VA regional office in one of the following locations: Montgomery, Alabama; Denver, Colorado; Boise, Idaho; Chicago, Illinois; Columbia, South Carolina; Boston, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire; Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; or Milwaukee, Wisconsin. You must include either a Certification of Fully Developed Claim signed by you and your representative (if any), or a statement indicating you have no additional information or evidence to submit to support your claim and you do not require any additional VA assistance (except for obtaining federal records or ordering a medical examination). If you submit a statement rather than the certification, we may ask you and your representative (if any) to complete and return a signed certification. If you are asked to submit a certification, you must do so within 30 days.
- Do my rights change if I join this pilot program? For example, can I send additional evidence for my claim? Can I still appeal the decision VA makes on my fully developed claim?
Your rights and VA's duties remain the same under this pilot program. You have the right to submit evidence at any time. You have the right to appeal if you are not satisfied with VA's decision.
We will notify you of any information or evidence needed to support your claim. We will still assist you in gathering evidence related to your claim, including federal records and, in certain cases, a medical examination. However, if you require VA's assistance beyond these two areas, your claim may be removed from the pilot program and processed under our regular procedures. In either case, we will make every effort to make a fair decision as soon as possible.
- May I claim more disabilities/issues before VA decides my fully developed claim?
You may submit another claim before a decision is made on your pending fully developed claim. However, in that instance, we will process both of your claims under the normal procedures.
- What is a representative?
- A representative is an accredited attorney, agent, or veterans service organization that you authorize to help you in your claim with VA. Examples of veterans service organization include the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and the American Legion, among many others. You can find a list of these organizations at http://www1.va.gov/vso.
- May my representative submit a claim for me?
- Yes. Representatives may submit claims and certification forms. Just remember, you both must sign and date the certification.
- May I file a fully developed claim over the Internet?
- Yes. You may apply at http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp. You should submit a statement with your claim indicating that you have no additional information or evidence to support your claim and do not require any additional VA assistance. If we send you a certification form to complete, you and your representative (if any) must sign and return it within 30 days to participate in this program.
- May I withdraw from the program?
- Yes. You may withdraw from the pilot program at any time without penalty. VA will continue to process your claim under our regular procedures