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VA to redesign benefits program for service members leaving the military

VA plans to redesign the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program to enable service members to receive disability benefit decisions the day after their discharge. The redesigned program will go into effect October 1.

VA is dedicated to ensuring that Veterans get the benefits they have earned and deserve as quickly and accurately as possible. Changes to the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program will increase VA’s ability to conduct exams, review medical evidence, and process ratings prior to a service member’s release from active duty. In most cases, VA benefits decisions will be provided the day after discharge.

Service member’s using the program can submit their claim from 90 to 180 days prior to discharge from active duty. Previously, the submission time was 60 to 180 days before discharge. This extra time is needed to ensure medical exams can be conducted and evaluated, and claims rated prior to separation. To participate, the service member must be available to attend the VA examination(s) for 45 days from the date of claim submission.

In order to focus resources on those who participate in the redesigned program, the Quick Start program will be eliminated. Quick Start allowed service members who did not meet the Benefits Delivery at Discharge window, to submit their claim and evidence up until one day before discharge from active duty.

While service members can still submit their claim with 89 days or less prior to discharge, the claims will not be processed until after their separation. These claims will be processed as either a fully developed claim or traditional claim as appropriate.

More information on the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program is available on the website, or at military Transition Assistance Program (TAP) offices.

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