Rep. Nehls Introduces Bill to Remove Barriers in Acquiring VA Disability Compensation
House Veteran Affairs’ Committee Ranking Member Mike Bost (IL-12) and I recently introduced H.R. 7188 –“Modernizing Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Benefit Questionnaires Act”, to eliminate barriers for veterans in obtaining disability compensation by modernizing VBA’s claims process.
“Our current disability compensation system is outdated, and it prevents our Nation’s finest from receiving the benefits they rightfully deserve in a timely manner,” I said. “I am proud to join Ranking Member Bost in introducing this bill that will simplify the disability exam process for our veterans, and the VA.”
“I’m grateful to my friend and fellow veteran, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Lead Republican, Rep. Nehls, for introducing the Modernizing VA Disability Benefit Questionnaires Act. This bill is a good first step towards modernizing the entire claims process for veterans and VA staff to improve it as a whole,” said Ranking Member Bost. “No veteran should have to cut through bureaucratic red tape once they leave the military and seek the benefits they have earned from VA. The Modernizing VA Disability Benefit Questionnaires Act would ensure that doesn’t happen. I hope to see it considered in Committee soon.”
Currently, VA medical disability exam contractors provide Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) to the VA in formats that cannot be easily read by computers. This bill would institute a more effective standard that is compatible with automation and would allow employees to focus on vital claims processing activities, such as rating claims and weighing evidence, rather than menial tasks.
The Disability Benefits Questionnaire Modernization Act would:
· Improve the disability exam process by making the information in Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQ) more useful;
· Require DBQs to be submitted electronically in a machine-readable format so the information can be used by the VA’s claims processing systems immediately;
· Require the VA to provide a plan to enable veterans’ private physicians to submit DBQs electronically;
· Direct the VA to make the new DBQ standards and plan available publicly online.
Read the bill text HERE.