Achieving Breakthrough Results at the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs

Colby Oliverson News, Success Stories

One of the goals of the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs (UDVMA) is to connect veterans to available federal, state, and local resources to help veterans live a successful life. This effort includes helping veterans process fully developed claims (FDCs) to receive compensation for various expenses. 

After applying the SUCCESS Framework to its claims processes, the department more than quadrupled the annual number of claims processed and facilitated the total compensation issued to veterans by 277 times by the end of 2019 compared to 2015.

Strategies

UDVMA’s strategy consists of removing duplicative efforts and unnecessary steps in the claims review process. Key changes include the following:

  • Created four regional outreach areas, with program managers to coordinate efforts with veterans and their families
  • Connected veterans according to their era of service, helping to assess and tailor to group-specific needs
  • Relocated some of the department’s contractors, making it easier to serve walk-in customers
  • Created a seamless process to send veterans a letter advising of possible benefits/information when UDVMA receives a military discharge document from the U.S. Department of Defense
  • Interfaced more closely with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to ensure that changes to VBA processes filter down to the correct people and organizations

Results

UDVMA processed 743 claims in all of FY 2015. After applying the SUCCESS Framework principles, in Q1 of FY 2021 alone, UDVMA processed 791 claims. Pre-COVID-19, the department processed even more claims (between 1,000 to 2,000 claims per quarter in 2019). 

Furthermore, the department now facilitates more compensation per average claim, increasing from an average of $29 to $920 per claim. In all of FY 2015, UDVMA facilitated only about $21,000 in compensation to veterans across 743 claims, or nearly $29 per claim on average. In contrast, looking at calendar year 2019 for a pre-COVID comparison, UDVMA facilitated $5.9 million in compensation to veterans over 3,181 claims, or over $920 per claim on average. Even with this significant progress, the department plans to continue making improvements moving forward. 

Congratulations to the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs for more effectively delivering our veterans their hard-earned and well-deserved benefits. And most importantly, thank you to all veterans and their families for their dedicated service to our nation.