In pilot program testing, the new paperless Veterans Benefits Management System has cut the average time to process a case from 240 to 119 days. The system is on track to be used nationwide by the end of 2013, Hickey said.
A long-awaited VA-Defense Department collaboration creating an Integrated Disability Evaluation System for members of the military returning to civilian life is showing promise, allowing the VA to award benefits on average within two months of discharge.
An “express lane” to speed claims for at-risk veterans is being tested, though veterans groups warn that the split has backed up other claims.
Employees who have completed a redesigned training program are processing 150 percent more claims, with a 30 percent increase in accuracy, Hickey said.
Veterans groups say that the “overpowering array” of pilot programs, initiatives and technological improvements make it difficult to determine which hold the most promise. And, they say, some of the VA’s 56 regional offices are resistant to the mandated changes.