MILITARY

Veterans groups take issue with proposal designed to streamline VA's disability claims work

Graphic shows disability claim backlog for veterans; 2c x 3 inches; 96.3 mm x 76 mm;

Graphic shows disability claim backlog for veterans; 2c x 3 inches; 96.3 mm x 76 mm;  (The Associated Press)

Veterans groups are criticizing an Obama administration proposal that's designed to streamline how disability claims are administered.

The application process is supposed to be so simple that even a handwritten note on a napkin initiates a claim.

But the Department of Veterans Affairs says the many ways that compensation requests arrive actually hamper the agency's ability to administer benefits and contribute to a stubbornly high backlog.

The VA wants to require that veterans use a standard form when they file for disability compensation or appeal a decision. And it's throwing in incentives for those who use a computer.

The veterans groups worry that the time it takes to gather records and successfully complete the standard form could financially penalize many veterans, primarily those without computer access.