The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program has made significant improvements in disability claim processing over the past year, with most service members who submitted claims through the program receiving decisions within 30 days of discharge.
BDD allows service members to file a claim for disability between 90 and 180 days prior to discharge from active duty, which provides time for paperwork review and medical exams prior to leaving.
“This is an important program for our service members as they transition to Veteran status,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “The faster we can connect our Veterans with the benefits they deserve, the smoother their transition.”
In fiscal year (FY) 2018, the first full year of the revamped program, more than 36,000 service members submitted claims through BDD and about 53 percent of completed claims received a decision on their claim within 30 days. In the first month of FY 2019, 3,437 claims were completed with 57.7 percent completed within 30 days.
Throughout FY 2018, the program made continuous improvements, which include:
- Expanding BDD claim review from two locations, to processing at any regional office
- Enhanced software partnerships with the Department of Defense to improve record transfers
- Additional claim training and performance standards for military service coordinators.
By participating in BDD, service members ensure that their disability medical exams become part of their service treatment record and that service connection for their conditions may be established as early as possible. Medical conditions can get worse over time and establishing eligibility at discharge may make it easier to increase disability ratings in the future.