Veterans Benefits Improvement Act
This bill addresses certain requirements related to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical disability examinations for purposes of benefit claims.
First, the bill updates procedures related to the publishing of VA disability benefit questionnaire forms. Specifically, the VA does not have to publish certain forms if it determines the form could not reasonably be completed to a clinically acceptable standard by someone who is not an employee or contractor of the VA.
The bill also requires the VA to report on its efforts to provide reimbursement for a veteran's travel to a facility, regardless of whether the facility is inside or outside of the United States, when such travel is incident to a scheduled compensation and pension examination.
Additionally, the VA must partner with veterans service organizations and other stakeholders (as determined by the VA) to implement an outreach program for veterans regarding (1) contact information for contractors providing medical disability examinations, and (2) the requirement for veterans to provide personally identifiable information when contacted by such contractors to verify their identity.
The VA must also include certain elements in contracts it enters with contractors to provide medical disability examinations. Specifically, every communication from a contractor to a claimant regarding the scheduling of such an examination must be contemporaneously transmitted to the appropriate representative for the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims.
Finally, the VA must report on improving its support of governmental veterans service officers.