Special to theNews-Times
WASHINGTON, D.C — Congressman Morgan Luttrell, R-Texas, introduced the Modernizing VA Disability Benefit Questionnaires Act recently.
Luttrell, who serves as chairman of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the legislation would create a universal standard for contractors to use when transmitting Disability Benefits Questionnaires.
“Veterans shouldn’t be facing roadblocks and cutting through red tape to receive the benefits they have earned from the VA,” Luttrell said. “When I speak to veterans in my district, and across the country, they always express the urgent need for more productive care.”
Luttrell said this legislation is a step in the right direction to streamline the claims process for veterans, VA employees, and veterans’ private providers.
Disability Benefits Questionnaires are standardized forms used by the Department of Veterans Affairs, private physicians, and contractors to perform disability examinations in support of a veteran’s claim for disability compensation as a result of a service-connected injury or illness.
Current practice does not require VA contractors, who perform disability exams, to submit DBQs in a format that can be easily read by the VA’s claims automation software. Additionally, there is currently no convenient online portal that a veteran’s private physician can use to submit a DBQ.
As a result, automation is more error-prone and VA employees have to manually read and input DBQs from outside providers, which contributes to the growing backlog of disability claims and results in longer wait times for disability compensation from the VA.
The Modernizing VA Disability Benefit Questionnaires Act would create a universal standard for contractors to use when transmitting DBQs. The standard would require them to be readable by an automated program to simplify the claims process.
It also would require the VA to submit a plan for a convenient, online portal that veterans’ private physicians could use to complete DBQs. The Modernizing VA Disability Benefit Questionnaires Act would make DBQs more convenient and useful, allowing VA employees to focus on claims processing activities that require human intervention, such as rating claims and weighing evidence, rather than menial processing tasks.