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M21-1, Part III, Subpart i, Chapter 4, Section C – Overview of Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) Direct Connect (VDC) Rating Claims

Overview


In This Section

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

1.  VDC Rating Claims Intake


Introduction

This topic contains information regarding intake of rating claims submitted through VDC, including

Change Date

February 21, 2019

III.i.4.C.1.a.  Workload Management for VDC Claims

The National Work Queue (NWQ) will distribute newly established Veterans Online Application (VONAPP) Direct Connect (VDC) rating claims to regional offices (ROs) for processing.  The RO in receipt of the rating end product (EP) to process will be responsible for consolidating any incremental VDC claims that have been established under an EP 400, following the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart i, 4.C.1.e.

III.i.4.C.1.b.Review of VDC Claims

Upon receipt of the claim in the Veteran Benefit Management System (VBMS) work queue, the claims processor reviews the original and any incremental claims by taking the steps outlined in the table below.
Step
Action
1
Perform a thorough review of the Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) record.  If an error message is received or two records for the same Veteran are found, refer to M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 4.E for procedures to correct the records.
2
Determine if there is a paper claims folder for the claimant.
If a paper claims folder …
Then …
exists at the RO
pull the claims folder and other paper material(s), and ship to the document conversion services contractor.
exists at another RO
follow the guidance found in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 3.B.1.f to request conversion of the paper claims folder.
has already been scanned electronically, or never existed in paper format
proceed to the next step.
Exception:  Do not send or request a paper folder to be scanned if it is being processed in paper due to an existing VBMS claim exclusion.
References:  For more information on
3
Verify the EP and claim label.  If necessary, correct the EP and claim label using the options found in M21-1, Part III, Subpart i, 4.A.1.d.
Note:  All claims received through VDC should maintain an eBenefits claim label throughout the life of the claim.

4

Verify that the required attributes discussed in M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 1.F are associated with the Veteran or claim.  Applying the correct claim attributes will ensure NWQ routes the claim to the correct station of jurisdiction in VBMS.
5
Review the claim and any supporting documentation uploaded by the claimant and manage received evidence in VBMS.
Reference:  For more information on managing evidence in VBMS, see the VBMS Job Instruction Sheet – Manage Evidence.
Note:  For historical information on VDC Application Initiation and Dropped Evidence Reviews, see the attachment Historical_M21-1III_i_4_SecC_9-21-17.docx.

III.i.4.C.1.c.  VBMS Exclusions on VDC Claims

VDC does not screen claims to determine if they meet VBMS claims processing criteria.  If VDC establishes a claim in VBMS that is an exclusion identified in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 3.D.1, process the claim using legacy systems as needed and upload legacy system-generated documents to the electronic claims folder.

III.i.4.C.1.d.
Incremental EPs on VDC Claims

Claimants may submit up to nine additional disability claims electronically while a VDC claim EP is pending.  Upon submission of these claims, VDC will establish incremental EPs in the 400 series.
Note:  Automatic establishment of incremental EPs only applies to claims submitted through VDC.  Do not manually establish a 400 series EP for this purpose.

III.i.4.C.1.e.
Incremental EP Consolidation on VDC Claims

If a 400 series EP is established by VDC, the contention and evidence submitted with that subsequent submission must be consolidated into the pending primary VDC claim.  The incremental EPs must be reconciled by the claims processor assigned to work the primary VDC claim using the table below.
Step
Action
1
Copy all contentions from the incremental EP 400 to the primary rating EP.
2
Ensure proper date of receipt and special issue indicators are entered for each contention, as discussed in M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 1.F.
3
Add the new unsolicited evidence under the primary EP, following instructions in the VBMS Job Instruction Sheet – Manage Evidence.
4
Cancel the incremental 400 series EP(s) associated with the primary EP.
Note:  Certain scenarios involving the VDC Dropped Evidence Review may have required specific actions to maintain proper EP control.  Historical information regarding these actions is located in the attachment, Historical_M21-1III_i_4_SecC_9-21-17.docx.

III.i.4.C.1.f.
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.

2.  Determining the Date of Claim and Effective Date for VDC Claims


Introduction

This topic contains information regarding the determination of the date of claim and effective date for VDC claims, including

Change Date

February 21, 2019

III.i.4.C.2.a.
Date Stamp for Claims Submitted Electronically

Once a claim is submitted through eBenefits, VDC will time stamp the application and note the claim was submitted electronically on the top left corner of the application.

III.i.4.C.2.b. Date of Claim for VDC Claims

Upon submission, VDC automatically establishes the EP with the date of claim matching the submission date.

III.i.4.C.2.c.
Application Initiation Date

A claimant has up to one year to complete and submit an application once it is initiated in VDC.  The application initiated date is recorded in the VA Date Stampbox on the top right corner of the application.

III.i.4.C.2.d.
Determining the Effective Date for VDC Claims

For the purposes of determining the effective date, decision makers should consider the application initiated or intent to file (ITF) date as the date of claim.
Notes:
  • The application initiated or ITF date should not be entered into Veterans Benefits Administration electronic systems as the date of claim.
  • Applications created through VDC on or after March 24, 2015, will not contain an application initiation date, as the application initiation date will be captured as an ITF in accordance with the Standard Claims and Appeals Forms Rule.
Exception:  Special effective date provisions may apply to claims that were initiated in VDC but submitted in paper.  Historical guidance regarding these provisions is located in the attachment, Historical_M21-1III_i_4_SecC_9-21-17.docx.
References:  For more information on
  • the ITF process, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 2.C.2, and
  • historical VDC Application Initiation and Dropped Evidence Reviews, see the attachment, Historical_M21-1III_i_4_SecC_9-21-17.docx.
Historical_M21-1III_i_4_SecC_9-16-16.docx May 8, 2019 91 KB
2-21-19_Key-Changes_M21-1III_i_4_SecC.docx May 8, 2019 71 KB
Historical_M21-1III_i_4_SecC_9-21-17.docx May 8, 2019 75 KB
9-16-16_Key-Changes_M21-1III_i_4_SecC.docx May 8, 2019 81 KB
Historical_M21-1III_i_4_SecC_6-23-16.docx May 8, 2019 67 KB
Historical_M21-1III_i_4_SecC_6-26-15.docx May 8, 2019 56 KB
6-23-16_Key-Changes_M21-1III_i_4_SecC.docx May 8, 2019 71 KB
Change-June-26-2015-Transmittal-Sheet-M21-1III_i_4_Sec-C_TS.docx May 8, 2019 39 KB
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