It's my pleasure.
Good afternoon. I'm going to talk about our integrated disability evaluation system and give you a bit of an overview.
Prior to 2007, if a service member became wounded, ill, or injured during the course of active duty, the United States military would perform its own disability evaluation prior to the service member's separation from service. Subsequent to discharge from active duty, VA would accept the claim from the now veteran and basically re-adjudicate the disability. The veteran would have to undergo a new set of medical evaluations and a new disability rating by VA. It was a sequential process.
In 2007 we partnered with the defence department to integrate those two disability evaluation processes. It was a pilot in 2007, with three medical treatment facilities in the Washington, D.C., region. Based on the results of the pilot, we began expansion to all military treatment facilities during the course of 2011. As of the end of last fiscal year, September 2011, we have expanded this integrated disability evaluation system to 139 treatment facilities worldwide, and that covers 100% of the wounded, ill, and injured service member population. We anticipate an annual caseload of approximately 27,000 service members a year.
On the benefits of the combined or integrated program, as I mentioned, we combine a single disability examination process that is used by both the Department of Defence and VA. It's used by the Department of Defence to determine the service member's fitness for continued active duty, and it's used by VA to assign a disability rating percentage for all disabilities determined to be related to active military service.
The legacy sequential processes on average took about 540 days to complete. Our goal under the integrated process is to complete the process within 295 days. We are currently averaging 396 days on the integrated process.
In addition to combining the two disability evaluation processes, we offer other non-medical support to the wounded, ill, and injured service members. VA has military service coordinators assigned to the service members to help them with their transition from military to civilian life. We have vocational rehabilitation unemployment counsellors, which Margarita will discuss in more detail. We have Vet Center readjustment counsellors, which will also be discussed shortly.
We also have OIF/OEF case managers, who put injured service members and veterans in touch with other community resources; they research and provide access to other federal, local, and state programs that are available. These VA personnel work in coordination with other case managers assigned by the Department of Defense. VA also has a federal recovery care coordination program, and that assigns specialists to the most severely injured, wounded, and ill to provide one-on-one support to the service members and their families during transition, and after transition from military to civilian life.
Another benefit of the integrated process is that it introduces the active duty service member to the health care services available by VA prior to them actually becoming a veteran. They can establish primary care and register to be enrolled in the VA health care system while on active duty.
Finally, we have a transition assistance program that is available to every service member who is transitioning from military to civilian status. Transition assistance program, or TAP, is a partnership between the Departments of Defense, Labor, Homeland Security, and VA. Through TAP, we provide pre-separation counselling, VA benefits briefings, employment workshops, and medical support for those with disabilities.
For those service members with disabilities, we also have a disabled transition assistance program, or D-TAP, which is more focused on the vocational rehabilitation and employment services.
Pending your questions, that is all I have prepared in advance.