There’s A Big Change In How Vets Have To File VA Claims

Photo by Robert Turtil

Come March 24, veterans can no longer begin filing a disability claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs by writing an informal statement on any piece of paper, even a napkin. As of next week, veterans can only use a specific standardized claim form found online.

The claims process will now begin with a standard intent to file form, 21-0966, that allows veterans to provide the necessary introductory information and inform the VA of their intent to file for a selected general benefit, according to the DAV. If veterans give the VA a completed application for their selected general benefit within a year of filing the 21-0966 form, that application will be considered filed on the date the VA received the intent to file form.

The new emphasis on specific standardized forms also means medical records such as hospitalization reports and examinations can no longer serve as the start of informal claims.

Watch the veterans advocacy group explain the change through stick figures and napkins here. Story continues below.

Veterans seeking to file a claim for disability compensation related to their military service will now have to fill out VA Form 21-526EZ. Almost a year after news broke that an alarming amount of veterans were dying while waiting for the VA to process their claims amid systemic delays and corruption, the VA hopes this new paperwork will help overcome the claims backlog that remains.

Although it may seem more restrictive to veterans who want the process to be kept simple, that’s not how the VA sees it. “We get a reduced frustration level on the part of the veteran because they’ve told us exactly what it is,” said VA Director of Compensation Services and Pension Thomas Murphy of the new requirement, in a report from the KUSA television station in Colorado. “We get a faster processing time on the part of the VA because I understand clearly what that veteran wants and take action immediately.”

Veterans who have made requests for claims prior to March 24 will not have to re-file paperwork to meet the new requirements.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $13,000 over a three-month period for a senior official's biweekly commute to Washington from his home in California, according to expense reports obtained by ProPublica.

Read More Show Less
Saturday Night Live/screenshot

President Donald Trump said that "retribution" should be "looked into" after this week's opening skit of Saturday Night Live featured Alec Baldwin being mean to him again.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

CUCUTA, Colombia — The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure Saturday on beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dispatching U.S. military planes filled with humanitarian aid to this city on the Venezuelan border.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.

Read More Show Less
A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense

Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.

It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.

Read More Show Less