As a veteran, you may have received a letter from the VA Evidence Intake Center (EIC). It’s important to know that these letters don’t necessarily mean good or bad news. However, you should never throw them away. They can provide a lot of helpful information about your disability claim.
Understanding the right way to send documents and respond to letters from the EIC is critical to getting your claim approved. You’ll need to know where to send your documents, what to expect once they’re received, and what to do if you receive something in return.
This post will cover all the essential information you need to know to understand how the EIC works and what you should do when sending in documents.
- What Is the VA Evidence Intake Center?
- Why the VA Created the EIC
- The EIC Claims Process
- Best Practices When Mailing Documents to the EIC
- What To Do When You Receive Communication From the EIC
- What Not To Send to the EIC
- The EIC Is a Central Part of Your Disability Claim Process
- NEED MORE ASSISTANCE?
What Is the VA Evidence Intake Center?
The VA Evidence Intake Center functions as a centralized mail processing center for all veteran disability claims. Instead of sending any of your important documents to a regional office, you’ll send them to the EIC.
The VA established the EIC to make the disability claims process much more efficient. Instead of managing several locations where paperwork is received, it’s all sent to one convenient place. This speeds up the process of your claim being processed.
The types of documents you may be required to send to the EIC include the following:
- Medical evidence
- Records of service
- Any VA forms that relate to your claim or appeals
- Any other related documentation for your claim
While your claim is being processed, you can expect frequent communication with the VA Evidence Intake Center. We recommend you set up a box or folder to easily access all documents received as needed. It’s essential to keep these letters even after you’ve received compensation.
Communication from the EIC can include many things. You’ll receive documents discussing claim decisions, case notices, and any important changes to VA procedure. You’ll also want to watch for mail from your regional office related to your claim. You should file these with your EIC documents.
Why the VA Created the EIC
Before there was a centralized VA claims intake center, the process for getting claims approved took a lot longer. You would have to send your documents to a regional office. After sorting, the claims would then be sent to the VA. The VA would then begin processing claims and send information back to the regional office.
You can see how this was very time-consuming, resulting in an extended processing period. Another problem was the frequent loss of paperwork. With the establishment of the VA Evidence Intake Center, your claim’s processing time is nearly cut in half.
The EIC Claims Process
When working with the Department of Veterans Affairs Evidence Intake Center, your claim will go through several important steps:
- Your claim will be received at the EIC. The first step is for your claim to be physically received by the EIC. This includes any additional documentation you have submitted.
- Your application is logged and prepared for processing. At this stage, the EIC will sort each part of your application by document type. Any paper clips and staples will be removed.
- Your documents are prepared for imaging and digitizing. All sorted documents must be scanned for imaging and digitizing. This step prepares them for uploading to the Veteran’s Benefits Management System (VBMS).
- Your documents will be processed and indexed. After the documents are scanned, they are processed and indexed. Indexing is essential because it allows your documents to be tracked through the entire process to see who has handled them. This provides the VA Evidence Intake Center with the means for accountability and quality assurance.
- Your documents will be typed. In this stage, the EIC will sort your digitized documents according to what they are. Essentially, they are broken down into broad categories: medical evidence, claims application, appeal application, lay evidence, VA forms, and others.
- Your documents will go through independent quality assurance verification. The evidence intake center VA has a team of independent inspectors who perform quality assurance. They specifically review the work performed by Image Processors, Image Indexers, and Document Typers. These inspectors guarantee the appropriate identification of document types, the veteran submitting the documents, and which regional office they’re going to.
- Your digital file is sent to your regional office. Once the first six steps are completed, the VA Evidence Intake Center will upload your digital files to your regional office’s portal. This process is generally completed within 3-5 business days, but delays can be expected.
- Your paper copies will be stored. Once the EIC has finished uploading your digital files, all paper copies are stored. Each document uploaded to VBMS is given a unique identifier. This identifier will let you know what happened to your documents during every process stage and where your hard copies can be found.
Best Practices When Mailing Documents to the EIC
When you send anything to the VA Evidence Intake Center, you’re hoping for a fast response. To make sure this happens, we have a few recommendations for ensuring your mail gets there quickly and is processed correctly.
The first thing you should do is make copies of everything. You never want to send your only copy of essential documents anywhere without having a way to get them back. If something were to happen in transit, you risk losing the only copy you have. Unless specifically requested, don’t send any originals.
For peace of mind and proof of delivery, only send documents with certified mail. You’ll get notified once delivery occurs. You’ll also know if something happens to your envelope. If you had a due date for documents, you’d have proof of delivery.
Don’t be afraid to double and triple-check the address for the EIC when you fill out the envelope. You want to ensure you have the correct address for the facility before you ship your documents off.
VA Evidence Intake Center Address:
Need to follow up on the mail you sent?
VA Evidence Intake Center Phone Number:
Also, do not send any documents to your regional office, as this can slow the EIC’s processing time. This includes sending copies to both locations.
What To Do When You Receive Communication From the EIC
While you’re in the process of filing a claim with the VA, you’ll often receive communication from the EIC. Knowing what to do with it is important to stay on top of your claim. They may send you decisions on your claim, information on your eligibility to add dependents, and any updates.
One of the most important things you are waiting for from the VA Evidence Intake Center is their decision. It generally takes approximately six months to receive the initial decision. However, this isn’t set in stone. This notification packet will give you all the information you need on how the VA decided about your claim.
If your claim is approved, the packet will include your award letter. You must keep this letter to apply for additional benefits or find healthcare services. If your claim is denied, a notice of disagreement will be included instead. The packet will also include instructions for appealing. To learn more about applying for Supplemental Benefits, you can read our post, New and Relevant Evidence? How to adequately support your VA Supplemental Claim.
What Not To Send to the EIC
It’s important to remember that the VA Evidence Intake Center doesn’t process anything other than disability claims. The one exception is a dual compensation and pension claim. If you need to process any other type of claim, ensure you are communicating with the correct office. A short list of common contacts includes the following:
- Educational claims: You will need to use your appropriate regional office.
- Pension claims: Refer to the Pension Management Center (PMC) serving your state.
- Home loans: Contact your Regional Loan Center.
- Employment: Reach out to the regional office at its physical address.
The EIC Is a Central Part of Your Disability Claim Process
The VA Evidence Intake Center is central to processing your disability claim. Without it, the process would take even longer. Following the proper steps when filing your claim will ensure the most timely response.
NEED MORE ASSISTANCE?
Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and, therefore, not getting their due compensation. At VA Claims Insider, we help you understand and take control of the claims process, so you can get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law.
Our process takes the guesswork out of filing a VA disability claim and supports you every step of the way in building a fully-developed claim (FDC)—so you can increase your rating FAST! If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us! Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation YOU DESERVE!