VA Begins New Program to Serve Veterans Living Abroad
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs
(VA) has instituted a new program to provide comprehensive compensation and pension (C&P) examinations to U.S. Veterans
“We are proud to deliver these services to
our Veterans living abroad,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “This is an example of how VA
is supporting Veterans in unprecedented ways to help them get the benefits they have earned.” In June, VA staff
traveled to Camp Lester in Okinawa, Japan, to join with members of the Department of Defense in providing C&P exams to
Veterans. Over the course of their three week trip, the team completed 247 examinations on 39 Veterans. Due to the success
of the pilot program, a return visit is planned for Sept. 19-30.
Typically, VA uses local physicians and the assistance
of U.S. Navy personnel for disability examinations overseas, but these trips allow VA practitioners more familiar with VA
protocols and requirements to provide the Veterans’ examinations.
VA’s C&P examination program includes providing
a medical assessment to evaluate Veterans’ current disabilities that may be related to their military service. If VA
has previously determined a Veteran has a service-connected medical condition, the examination helps determine the current
severity of the condition, which could affect the amount of VA disability compensation payable or entitlement to additional
benefits. One Veteran can require separate examinations for various conditions. On average, Veterans receive four examinations
during the VA C&P process.
In addition, VA conducted its first international
C&P examination in Okinawa using telehealth technology on April 13. To date, six Veterans have participated in remote
C&P examinations between VA’s National Telemental Health Center location and the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa.
VA is using telehealth technology to reduce the number of Veterans awaiting examinations overseas and to ease their burden
of travel.VA plans to explore other opportunities to provide similar services to
additional destinations in Europe and Asia where U.S. Veterans live.