VFW Service Officers play a crucial role in eliminating the VA claims backlog.

VFW National Commander William A. Thien

In a push to break the VA claims backlog by 2015, the VA has recently been pushing for “fully developed claims.” As an active partner in the claims process, the VFW is supportive of any initiative that helps veterans gain faster access to their earned VA programs and benefits.

VFW National Commander William A. Thien said his nationwide cadre of 1,200 VA-accredited service officers has always strived to submit fully developed claims because they know how long it takes for a new claim just to get seen. The VFW reemphasized fully developed claims by training its nationwide network of service officers last year.

“We want every claim to be as fully developed as possible,” said Thien, a Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Navy. “This is especially important because it normally takes well over six months for a new claim to get adjudicated, and if denied for insufficient documentation, two years or more just for the appeal. The VFW supports this initiative because a fully developed claim can cut the initial time in half, which helps speed the delivery of VA programs and services to deserving veterans, and helps to reduce the VA’s overall claims workload.”

The VA considers claims to be “fully developed” when all available supporting documentation or evidence within the control of the veteran is submitted with the application.

“Last year, VFW Service Officers helped 125,000 veterans recoup an organizational record of $3.7 billion in earned compensation and pension,” he said. “We provide an expert, free service to all veterans, lending credibility to the claim that no one does more for veterans than the VFW.”

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