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M21-1, Part III, Subpart i, Chapter 4, Section A – The Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) Direct Connect (VDC) Program and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Claims-Submission Service Websites

Overview


In This Section

This section contains the following topics:
Topic
Topic Name
1
2
3

1.  Introduction to the VDC Program


Introduction

This topic contains information about VDC claims, including

Change Date

June 11, 2015

III.i.4.A.1.a.  General Description of  the VDC Program

Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) Direct Connect (VDC) allows claimants to file disability compensation and dependency applications directly to their station of origination (SOO) via eBenefits.  In addition to an application for benefits, VDC allows claimants to upload supporting documents, eliminating mail and scanning procedures, to form a timelier end-to-end electronic claims process.
References:  For more information on

III.i.4.A.1.b.Transition from Virtual VA to VBMS

The development of VDC occurred in two phases.  Initially, documents submitted through VDC uploaded to Virtual VA.  Subsequently, the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) became the document repository for claims material submitted through VDC.
The table below outlines the timeline for the location of the VDC document uploads.
If …
Then claims material will be in …
document(s) were received prior to August 20, 2013
the Legacy Content Manager (LCM), formerly known as Virtual VA.
document(s) were received on or after August 20, 2013
VBMS.
 
Exception:  Submission of the following documents continue to upload to LCM:
Note:  The Virtual VA folder can be viewed in the VBMS electronic claims folder (eFolder) by selecting the LEGACY CONTENT MANAGER DOCUMENTS tab.
References:  For more information on

III.i.4.A.1.c.
VDC Interview Process

VDC utilizes a question-and-answer interview-style interface to guide the claimant in completing forms approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  The interview process limits omissions and misinterpretations of information requested from the Veteran for adjudicating a claim.
Currently, VDC contains an interview process for the forms listed below
In addition to these forms, claimants may upload five supporting documents.
Note:  Pension and survivors’ claim forms are unavailable through VDC.

III.i.4.A.1.d.  Identifying VDC Claims

VDC claims are identifiable through a special issue flash and claim labels. Upon establishment of a claim, the VDC process affixes the special issue flash VONAPP Direct Connect under the first listed contention.  Additionally, VDC uses claim labels beginning with the term eBenefits.
The table below lists the VDC claim labels with corresponding end product (EP) series.
Claim Labels
EP Series
eBenefits 526EZ Initial Live Comp <8 Issues
110
eBenefits 526EZ Initial Live Comp 8+ Issues
010
eBenefits 526EZ Supplemental
020
eBenefits Dependency Adjustment
130
eBenefits Dependency Adjustment Reject
130
eBenefits School Attendance
130
eBenefits School Attendance Reject
130
eBenefits 526EZ-Pre Discharge <8 Issues
110
eBenefits 526EZ-Pre Discharge 8 + Issues
010
eBenefits 526EZ-Pre Discharge
020
 
Notes:
  • All claims received subsequent to the VDC submission by the claimant will create an incremental EP 400 series with an eBenefits claim label.
  • If a claimant submits his/her claim by means other than VDC and subsequently submits a claim through VDC, this will also create an incremental EP 400.
References:  For more information on

2.  Jurisdiction of VDC Claims


Introduction

This topic contains information about jurisdiction of VDC claims, including

Change Date

September 20, 2017

III.i.4.A.2.a. Assignment of Jurisdiction for Original Claims

Upon the establishment of an original claim the VDC process assigns the SOO based on the claimant’s address.

III.i.4.A.2.b.Assignment of Jurisdiction for Non-Original Claims

Upon the establishment of a non-original claim, the VDC process assigns jurisdiction based on the station that processed the most recent award.  See the table below for guidance on transferring non-original VDC claims.
If the Veteran moved to another station’s jurisdiction and the claim …
Then …
does not require an examination
do not transfer the claim in VBMS.
Note:  If the claims folder is in a paper format at another station, request that the claims folder be sent to scanning.
does require an examination
  • check the Control of Veterans Records System for paper claims folders pending at the regional office
  • send all paper claims folders to the scanning vendor for conversion
  • transfer the claim in VBMS, and
  • notify the receiving intake processing center’s (IPC’s) point of contact (POC) via e-mail.
 
Note:  Use the IPC Contact List Wiki to identify the correct POC when sending a
  • notification of VDC claims transfer, or
  • request for scanning of a paper claims folder.

III.i.4.A.2.c.Jurisdiction of Pre-Discharge Claims Received Through VDC

VDC accepts pre-discharge claims (excluding Integrated Disability Evaluation System claims).
Reference:  For more information on initial actions on receipt of an electronic pre-discharge claim, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart i, 2.B.1.l.

III.i.4.A.2.d.
FOIA Requests Through VDC

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests may be contained within materials submitted by the claimant via VDC.
Reference:  For guidance on processing FOIA requests, see

3.  Applications From VA Claims-Submission Service Websites


Introduction

This topic contains information about applications received from VA claims-submission service websites, including


Change Date

November 13, 2018

III.i.4.A.3.a.  General Description of  the VA.gov Application Process

The www.VA.gov claims-submission service website (formerly available at Vets.gov), allows claimants to file claims for increased evaluation of a service-connected (SC) disability, Veterans Pension, and burial benefits via electronic submission of the following forms:
The claimant can upload documents with the application.  Any information that exceeds the character limits of the field on the application will be presented on a separate page at the end of the application and identified by a field number.
If the claim is for …
Then …
an increased evaluation of an SC disability
the claim will automatically be established and documents will be placed in the claimant’s eFolder.
  • Veterans Pension, or
  • burial benefits
the documents will appear in the Centralized Mail (CM) portal as if a paper application had been submitted.  The claim will need to be manually established.
Note:  Currently, a claim for an increased evaluation of a disability is the only compensation-based claim available for submission via VA.gov.
References:  For more information on

III.i.4.A.3.b.  Identifying Claims Submitted Through VA Claims-Submission Service Websites

Applications submitted via VA.gov or Vets.gov will have several identifying attributes.
  • Compensation applications will have
    • an Electronic Submission watermark in the upper left corner of every page
    • EVSS listed as the SYSTEM SOURCE in the document properties, and
    • an eBenefits claim label, and
  • pension and burial applications will have
    • an Electronic Submission watermark in the upper left corner of every page, and
    • two separate date stamps from both the CM portal andVA.gov/Vets.gov.
Important:
  • The actual date of VA receipt of the application is based on the VA.gov or Vets.gov electronic date stamp and not the CM date stamp.
  • The following elements of the application will be provided to the claimant during the claims-submission process but will not be part of the submitted form:
    • application instructions
    • Fully Developed Claim information, or
    • What The Evidence Must Show pages.
Reference:  For more information on VBMS document properties, see the VBMS Core User Guide.
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