The VA Is Using AI to Shorten its Mail Processing Time on Claims Intake

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Homeless U.S. military veterans stand in line for services at a "Stand Down" event.
Homeless U.S. military veterans stand in line for free services at a "Stand Down" event hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs on November 3, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The Department of Veterans Affairs might get to your claim a little bit faster now.

The VA announced Aug. 13 that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), which administers programs that provide financial and other benefits to veterans, their dependents and survivors, has shortened its mail processing time for claims intake from 10 days to one.

New artificial intelligence software scans incoming mail and automatically routes it to the right employees in the next step of the claims process, leading to faster claims processing, according to a release from the VA.

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"Moving past manual mail processes to automation puts the emphasis on Veterans," VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement. "This new capability allows VA to process Veterans' claims quickly and efficiently."

The VBA receives more than 550,000 pieces of mail initiating a claim or providing supportive documentation per month, on average.

Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., who is also chairman of Oversight and Investigations for the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, praised the effort.

"It is unacceptable that the VA's mistakes and inefficiencies are hurting the men and women the Department is supposed to serve, which is why I am glad the VA is finally taking concrete steps to reduce claims processing times," Pappas said in an Aug.14 statement. "While a lot of work remains, I am pleased the VA is implementing digital solutions to speed up the delivery of benefits and services, and I look forward to continuing working with them to improve care for our veterans."

-- Bing Xiao can be reached at bingxiao2020@u.northwestern.edu.

Related: Ex-VA Official: Residents of Veterans Homes 'Left Behind' During Pandemic

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