This bill would require the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) to carry out a three-year pilot program aimed at helping veterans complete VA disability and pension claims while obtaining needed medical opinions all at one place. It would require the VA to hold Veterans Engagement Team (VET) events at least once a month at community facilities in 10-15 districts represented by VA regional offices over the three-year program.
To help veterans complete their claims, VA staff would host VET events at community facilities where veterans could come to complete their claims and receive a medical opinion if one is needed. If a veteran’s claim can’t be completed at the VET event, the VA would be required to provide them with a clear explanation of the next steps needed to complete the claim.
During the first year of the program, the VA would hold these events at a location in at least 10 districts represented by VA regional offices, including at least two regional offices in five districts of the Veterans Benefits Administration. For both the second and third years of the program, events would happen at least once a month at a location in 15 VA districts, including at least three regional offices in each district.
The VA would be able to coordinate with state and local governments, nonprofit groups, and businesses to use facilities to host VET events for no or minimal cost. It would also be able to accept uncompensated services from non-VA physicians who assist in offering medical opinions to be used in disability and pension claims. VA physicians could travel between districts for these events, but wouldn’t be transferred on a permanent basis.