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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gulf War Veterans Will Benefit from New VA Expansion of Medical Forms Program Supporting Faster Claims Processing

Written by Anthony Hardie, 91outcomes.com
March 22, 2012 (current as of this date, other changes may follow in the future)

(91outcomes.com) - The federal VA's announcement today regarding the release of many more Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) will help provide consistency and speed to processing of service-connection claims for veterans with Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and other military service.  

According to a VA press release about the DBQs:

“VA employees will be able to more quickly process disability claims, since disability benefits questionnaires capture important medical information needed to accurately evaluate Veterans’ claims,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Disability benefits questionnaires are just one of many changes VA is implementing to address the backlog of claims.” 
The new forms bring to 71 the number of documents, called disability benefits questionnaires (DBQs), that guide physicians’ reports of medical findings, ensuring VA has exactly the medical information needed to make a prompt decision. 
When needed to decide a disability claim for compensation or pension benefits, VA provides Veterans with free medical examinations for the purpose of gathering the necessary medical evidence.
Veterans who choose to have their private physicians complete the medical examination can now give their physicians the same form a VA provider would use.  It is very important that physicians provide complete responses to all questions on the DBQs.  VA cannot pay for a private physician to complete DBQs or for any costs associated with examination or testing.   “By ensuring relevant medical information can be found on one form, we will cut processing time while improving quality,” added Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey.


Several diagnosed multisymptom illnesses are "presumptive" for service-connection for veterans with service in the Persian Gulf between August 2, 1990 and an ending date that has yet to be determined.  

In general, "presumptive" means the otherwise qualified veteran does not have to prove that the condition began in, or was aggravated by military service as is required for other service-connected cases.  In the case of these presumptives, otherwise eligible veterans need only prove, in general, that they have the required service, the current condition, and that the condition is currently disabling. 

The new DBQs related to Persian Gulf presumptive conditions include:

The new DBQs also include presumptive conditions that apply to all veterans with qualifying service but may also be of special relevance to Gulf War veterans:
Many of the other DBQs may also be relevant to Gulf War veterans preparing claims for undiagnosed or poorly defined conditions with multiple symptom components, or as direct service connection for conditions that have their documented origin or worsening during military service:

These are only a few of the more than 70 DBQs available at http://benefits.va.gov/disabilityexams

Veterans may file service-connection claims online, including using a new web portal at: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov

However, going through the VA claims process without a trained veterans claims officer is much like going through a complex court case without a lawyer.  Accredited claims officers can be found with veterans service organizations and state veterans agencies.  


2 comments:

Linda said...

Anthony! Absolutely, people need to be true to themselves. They have to be brutally honest with themselves than being hypocritically polite ! Face the truth ! It’s hard to digest but eventually it helps! Thanks for the post!
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