The VA recently unveiled its 2016 budget. As a veterans disability lawyer I usually find interesting details hidden within VA’s budget proposals. This year’s proposed budget is no different. Although I am often critical of VA’s ability to expeditiously resolve appeals, I do have to offer commendation where it is warranted.
Here, the 2016 budget includes funds to further the critical information technology investments to support VA’s continued transition from paper files to electronic files. I know that I can speak for many other veterans disability lawyers in saying that we appreciate the recent trend towards receiving claims files on computer disc.
For a number of years now our veterans benefits law firm has employed one person whose primary job has been to scan claims files and convert them to pdf format. The process was time-consuming and required a very large and expensive scanner. We did this because years ago we made the commitment to going paperless. All of our office files are electronic and are combined with sophisticated legal case management software. Our system allows for multiple people to work on one file simultaneously.
It also provides a huge benefit when it comes to storage. If we had to store all our files in paper format, we would need a small warehouse.
Although our VA appeals law firm has experienced the benefits of electronic files for the past 5 or 6 years, the VA is only recently transitioning to this approach. I commend them for making this transition.
We are experiencing the immediate benefits of VA’s efforts to transition to paperless files. Instead of receiving boxes of paper files that have to be scanned by our staff, they often receive files on one small computer disc that can easily be saved to our server. While some files still come in paper format, the increase in the number being received on computer disc has been a huge benefit. This has increased our efficiency here at our New York and New Jersey-based veterans disability law firm.