Paperless VA Claims Files

Are paperless claims files good for the veteran’s claims process? Many Veterans Affairs Regional Offices have been changing their claims files into a paperless file. This may appear to be quicker and faster especially if attorneys, at some point, can push a few buttons after a release of information is submitted. However, a paperless file is only as good as those who enter the information. Sometimes a paperless file could be a decision maker’s nightmare. It is difficult enough to find information in a 600 page paper file. In a paperless file, what if the words describing the document entered into the file are entered wrong?

For instance, I submitted a psychiatric Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) from a non-VA examiner in behalf of a veteran. This DBQ was entered into the VA’s computer system as a VA compensation examination. The report accompanying the DBQ was entered into the VA’s computer system as medical records with no explanation. Since I was at a VA Regional Office when a DRO tried to find these documents; only because I was able to remember specific dates, was the DRO able to find these two documents.

Obviously just the simple entering of keywords to find documents requires employees’ training and employees that pay attention to what they are doing.

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