If you are a veteran or the loved one of a veteran who has recently received a letter from the VA Evidence Intake Center (EIC), you might be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do next. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to navigate this process with confidence. We will delve into the purpose of the EIC, explain the intake process, outline the steps you should take upon receiving a letter from the EIC, and offer helpful tips for dealing with the EIC.
Understanding the Evidence Intake Center (EIC)
The Evidence Intake Center (EIC) is a centralized mail processing facility specifically designed for handling disability compensation claims. If you need to submit medical evidence, disability compensation applications, service records, statements in support of your claim, or any other relevant information related to your claim or appeal, you will send them to the EIC.
The implementation of the EIC aims to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the VA disability claims process by centralizing the handling of evidence. By streamlining this process, the VA can more effectively review and make decisions on claims.
Everything You Need to Know about the EIC
The EIC was established to reduce the processing times associated with paper-based applications. In the past, the regional offices received a significant volume of applications and paper evidence, leading to inefficiencies, delays, and lost documents. With the EIC, all paper applications are directed to one location, specifically in Janesville, WI, resulting in streamlined applications and reduced processing times.
It’s important to note that the EIC only handles compensation-related claims. If you are seeking other benefits from the VA, you should not send your paper application to the Janesville, WI EIC. Education claims, home loan applications, readiness and employment matters are still handled by your local regional office. However, the EIC can handle dual pension and compensation claims. To ensure your compensation application is directed to the correct place, consider working with a veterans support advocate. Failing to do so may lead to delays in processing your claim for VA disability benefits.
The EIC Mailing Address
When sending documents to the Evidence Intake Center, use the following mailing address:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 5347-4444
You can also fax documents to 844-531-7818 & 248-524-4260.
The Claim Process at the EIC
Once your compensation application reaches the EIC, it goes through a series of important steps:
- Received: Your application is received by the EIC.
- Logged and Prepped: The application is logged and prepared for further processing.
- Image Processing: EIC workers ensure that the application is ready for imaging and digitizing.
- Image Processing and Indexing: The application undergoes image processing and indexing for easy retrieval.
- Document Typing: The application is typed for documentation purposes.
- Quality Assurance: The application undergoes a quality assurance process conducted by the VA.
- Sent to Regional Office: The digital file is sent to your regional office for further review and decision-making.
- Paper Copy Filing: A paper copy of the application is filed for record-keeping purposes.
Additionally, the EIC may send letters to you as part of the process, so it’s essential to stay vigilant and open any correspondence you receive from them.
Next Steps after Receiving a Letter from the EIC
If you receive a letter from the Evidence Intake Center, it is crucial not to discard it. The EIC may include important information regarding your compensation claim. For example, you might receive decisions on your claim, eligibility information for additional dependents or a spouse, as well as general updates and information.
The notification packet, which contains the VA’s decision on your compensation claim, is particularly essential. Review this packet carefully, as it provides comprehensive insights into how the VA arrived at its decision. If your claim gets approved, the packet will include an award letter, which you will need for applying for additional benefits or seeking healthcare services. On the other hand, if your claim is denied, the packet will contain a notice of disagreement (NOD) and instructions on how to appeal.
The notification packet should also include information on the evidence used by the VA to reach its decision, how to request additional or missing evidence, and what steps to take if you disagree with the decision.
If you find yourself confused about any of the correspondence received from the EIC, do not hesitate to contact the EIC directly at (877) 345-0891 or reach out to your Regional VA office for assistance.
Helpful Tips for Dealing with the Evidence Intake Center
To ensure a smooth experience with the EIC, consider the following helpful tips:
- Label Your Documents: Before sending any documents to the EIC, label them with your name, social security number, and date of birth to facilitate easy identification.
- Make Copies: Keep copies of all your original documents in case something happens to the originals during transit or processing.
- Avoid Sending Originals: Unless specifically requested, refrain from sending original documents. Use copies instead.
- Directly Send Additional Information: If you need to add more information to your claim or if the VA requests additional documents, send them directly to the EIC.
- Use Certified Mail: To ensure a secure delivery, consider sending all your communications to the EIC via certified mail. This may be more expensive but provides you with a receipt of delivery.
- Appeals Process: If you are initiating an appeal, make sure to send your VA Form 20-0995 and supporting documents to the EIC. Similarly, if you wish to request a higher level of review, send VA Form 20-0996 to the EIC.
- Avoid Regional Office Submissions: To avoid potential delays in your claims process, do not send your documents directly to your regional office.
The Evidence Intake Center plays a vital role in the VA’s claims process. Understanding how it operates and what steps you need to take when receiving a letter from the EIC can help alleviate any confusion or uncertainty. Remember to send all relevant information directly to the EIC and keep track of any correspondence you receive from them. If you have any questions along the way, do not hesitate to contact the EIC or your regional VA office for assistance.
Why Did I Receive a Letter from the VA Evidence Intake Center?
Receiving a letter from the Evidence Intake Center can be daunting, but it is crucial to open each piece of mail to understand what is happening with your claim. There are several reasons why you may have received a letter, including:
- Decision on your compensation claim
- Request for additional information
- Information about other compensation benefits you may be eligible for
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to the EIC or your regional VA office.
What Is a VA Evidence Intake Letter?
A VA evidence intake letter refers to correspondence received from the VA Evidence Intake Center.
How Long Does the VA Review of Evidence Take?
There is no specific timeline for the VA’s review of evidence. In most cases, it takes around 125 days to receive an initial decision.
What Is the VA Five-Year Rule?
The VA five-year rule states that the VA can only award benefits for disabilities that began or were aggravated within five years of the veteran’s military service. However, this rule does not apply to claims for individual unemployability (IU).