VA Announces Milestone in Modernizing Veterans’ Claims Processing

The VA announced it has reached a new milestone in its efforts to move paper veterans claims to a digital system.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week that it has achieved a milestone in moving from its old paper records processing system to a new electronic one designed to expedite the claims decision process for veterans.

The VA removed more than 7.8 million paper files from 60 locations in fewer than 22 months, enabling rapid scanning into VA’s electronic claims processing system by multiple third-party vendors. The agency says this will lead to faster claims decisions for the veterans waiting on them by moving from a cumbersome, paper-intensive process to an efficient, electronic process — resulting in a faster, more accurate and transparent claims process.

“Improving the delivery of benefits and services to Veterans is central to our mission,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This significant effort will not only improve VA’s claims process, it will also lead to quicker decisions for Veterans because millions more records will be available electronically.”

History of the Transition Process

In 2013, VA began removing paper records from its regional offices to save space and taxpayer money. The effort expanded in 2016 when the agency launched the File Bank Extraction initiative. This initiative removed more than 1.7 million paper claims files across 59 VA locations and contributed to reduced claims processing time by establishing more electronic records.

In Nov. 2017, the VA began extracting nearly 6.1 million paper records held within the Records Control Division (RCD) of the Records Management Center (RMC) in St. Louis. The 6.1 million paper records extracted from the RCD are temporarily stored in a secure facility certified by the National Archives and Records Administration where they are inventoried, prioritized and sent to multiple VA vendors for rapid scanning into VA’s Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS).

Records removed during File Bank Extraction will also be scanned and uploaded to VBMS.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.