Improved Intake Services Increase Veterans Benefits Administration Responsiveness

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Improved Intake Services Increase Veterans Benefits Administration Responsiveness

Posted on 12.17.22

Manual processes delay services for servicemembers, Veterans and their families

More than 1,000 VBA employees were manually processing over 1,000 different types of claims documents daily. Furthermore, because many documents were completed by hand, VBA staff sometimes struggled to decipher handwriting, which slowed the process even more. As a result, applicants experienced significant delays trying to access care and benefits.

To better serve Veterans and their families, VBA decided to transform its intake process to receive and handle mail on the same day, thereby increasing agency efficiency, accuracy and  responsiveness—and decreasing customer wait time.


Automated processing and monitoring reduce document delays and input errors: With expertise in cloud technologies, machine learning and project management, Aptive and team partner IBM were well-positioned to overhaul VBA’s claims processing system.

New and emerging technologies

VBA adopted cloud-based services and emerging technologies like machine learning and robotic process automation to streamline VBA and claimant communication and data handling, interpretation, classification and predictive analysis. For example, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) uses machine learning and AI to scan handwritten documents and translate characters into digital text. OCR reduces human error because it can often decipher handwriting better than humans. Turning handwriting into digital code that is entered into a database significantly improved document entry time. This automated process can input documents in a matter of hours instead of days.

Fully automated monitoring

Using Slack and Amazon Web Services, VBA can continuously monitor data processing and be notified through Slack channel alerts when any data processing issues arise. A host of additional integrated services also completely automates user story capture, training and communications materials, data migration specifications, frequently asked questions and common problems and resolutions, reducing defects and slowdowns caused by manual or semi-automated processes.

Swift document processing with quality assurance

Aptive developed software to review and store newly scanned documents and send them for processing. Hundreds of documents can run through this software while quality assurance testing confirms accuracy for each one.

With this approach, VBA can automatically process incoming documents the same day they arrive using AI and robotic process automation. Meanwhile, Aptive leads the deployment and integration of these processes, continually tests products, deploys features and enhancements to ensure consistency and quality of VBA services, and has regular strategic planning sessions with VA leadership.


Greater efficiency and accuracy increase services to Veterans

VBA improved its document and claims processing capacity, speed and accuracy. Embracing automation technologies led to:

  • Over 95% data quality with machine learning-based systems from over 500,000 auto-extracted form fields, far higher than former manual processes allowed
  • Successful processing of 25 different types of VBA forms
  • A 20% increase in mail automation of inbound VBA mail packets
  • Continued increases of 2–3% with weekly enhancement deployments
  • Auto-processing of over 10,000 Form 21 –22s (Appointment of Veterans Service Organization as Power of Attorney)

As of June 2020, 45% of inbound VBA mail is processed automatically. Veterans and claimants can enjoy same-day processing and updates to their records within VBA’s management system. With improved systems, about 200 VA claims assistants took advantage of training and professional development that resulted in their promotion. These solutions provide cost savings to VBA but, most importantly, Veterans receive the services they need faster than ever before.