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In Zach Goldfine’s view, the fact that it was taking approximately 100 days for veterans to get word that help was coming to process their benefits claims – let alone the time to actually receive help – was unconscionable.
But that was the reality before the Department of Veterans Affairs launched its Content Classification Predictive Service Application Programming Interface last year. More than 1.5 million claims for disability compensation and benefits were submitted annually, and 65%-80% of them came via mail or fax. And 98.2% of attempts to automate the language in those claims were failing.
“A veteran can write whatever, however they think about the injury they suffer. So they might say, ’My ear hurts and there’s a ringing noise constantly’ … but VA doesn’t give a benefit for ‘my ear hurts and I have ringing constantly’ – it gives a benefit or gives a monthly payment for ‘hearing loss,’” said Goldfine, deputy chief technology officer for Benefits at VA. “So the problem was that veterans were facing an extra five-day delay in getting the decision on their benefits because there was this back-up of claims at that portion of the process where it required a person to make that translation.”
After deploying …
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