VA is making some steps into the digital age by exploring options for a paperless claims processing system. The regional office in Providence, R.I. was selected as the test cite for this new approach, lauded as a “major milestone” by Secretary Shinseki.
The pilot program, initially focusing on compensation benefits, should kick off in November. Its test run is scheduled to conclude in May 2011, but additional pilots are planned in other areas before the VA brings paperless processing to all 57 regional offices. Shinseki has already made some moves to allow online filing of initial disability claims; this program should do much more—although there aren’t many details about the logistics yet.
Providence’s paperless program is only one part of the Veterans Benefits Management System—one of more than 30 initiatives that Shinseki has in the works to break up some of the backlog that has plagued VA for decades. Shinseki sees a promising future: his goal is that by 2015, VA will process all claims within 125 days with 98% accuracy.