SSDI eHealth Exchange

Called eHealth Exchange, a new program now expedites veterans’ Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims by allowing access to electronic health records.

The agreement between VA and Social Security is purported to speed up veterans’ claims for SSDI giving immediate health record access to adjudicators. It removes the old requirement of waiting months for VA to ship a paper file to the agency.

Historically, Social Security has relied on receiving medical records through manual processes like US Mail and fax to receive medical records. The eHealth Exchange replaces the manual process with an automated process that does not require human intervention.

SSDI eHealth Exchange Benefits

According to Dr. David Shulkin, VA Under Secretary of Health:

“Currently, when eligible veterans apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, the average wait time for Social Security to receive paper records from VA can take months; this partnership allows Social Security and VA to share the veteran’s health information electronically in minutes. The Social Security and VA partnership allows VA to continue to be a leader in interoperability efforts among federal partners while improving overall quality of life for our veteran patients.”

There are two other Social Security programs that offer expedited processing for veterans: 1) Wounded Warriors; and, 2) veterans with 100% Permanent and Total disability ratings. These two groups of veterans get expedited processing.

We have seen many initiatives like this remove the need for human interactions while adjudicating claims. My guess is process improvements like this will have dramatic impacts on claims adjudication speed.

But the little-discussed impact of such policies is also to remove the need for humans. As we see artificial intelligence programs like IBM Watson come online, the need for federal employees will be reduced over time.

This program is part of a broader program called The Sequoia Project. It is a nonprofit, public-private collaborative chartered to advanced greater integration between various records systems.

Sequoia Project SSDI eHealth Exchange Initiative


(Vienna, VA – November 11, 2016) – The eHealth Exchange, an initiative of The Sequoia Project, celebrates Veterans Day powering the launch of a Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) health IT initiative to speed disability determinations for veterans by enabling all Social Security disability case processing sites to receive medical records electronically from all VA facilities.

“VA is currently improving quality of life by enabling Veterans to share their health information with federal partners and integrating their data into a safe and secure health-related consumer application,” said Dr. David Shulkin, Under Secretary for Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  “Currently, when eligible Veterans apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits the average wait time for Social Security to receive paper records from VA can take months; this partnership allows Social Security and VA to share the Veteran’s health information electronically in minutes. The Social Security and VA partnership allows VA to continue to be a leader in interoperability efforts among federal partners while improving overall quality of life for our Veteran patients.”

Earlier this year, the Department of Defense’s Military Health System (MHS) and the eHealth Exchange expanded cooperation to enable electronic health data sharing for more than 9.4 million active duty service members, veterans, retirees, and families served by the MHS. This initiative provides medical professionals at partner healthcare organizations in the private sector with a secure view of health records for all TRICARE beneficiaries to support better care decisions, unless a patient chose to opt out. Additionally, MHS patients do not have to hand-carry copies of health records when seeking care from partner providers.

“The military population has unique care needs due to their types of injuries as well as the mobile nature of deployments,” stated Michael Matthews, eHealth Exchange Coordinating Committee Member and Board Chair for The Sequoia Project.  “Regardless of what a patient is being treated for or where they are being treated, collaboration with the private sector via the eHealth Exchange helps deliver effective care for veterans, servicemen and women as well as their families.”

The largest health data sharing network of its kind, the eHealth Exchange network includes participation from nearly 50% of all U.S. hospitals, four federal agencies, more than 31,000 medical groups, more than 3,400 dialysis centers, and more than 8,300 pharmacies, such as Walgreens and CVS MinuteClinic. The eHealth Exchange is already the principal way that private sector healthcare providers are able share health information with federal agencies to support patient care and increasingly between and among federal agencies.

Being able to share health records with non-military health facilities is critical to effectively care for military personnel and their families. This is illustrated by the fact that in 2015, roughly one-third of outpatient and 40% of inpatient care for MHS beneficiaries was provided by private, non-military care providers. Approximately one-third of MHS prescriptions were filled in the private sector as well.


About eHealth Exchange

The eHealth Exchange is a rapidly growing health data sharing network for securely sharing clinical information over the Internet nationwide. The eHealth Exchange spans all 50 states and is the largest clinical health data sharing network of its kind in the US. Current eHealth Exchange participants include large provider networks, hospitals, pharmacies, regional health information exchanges and many federal agencies, representing more than half of all U.S. hospitals, tens of thousands of medical groups, more than 8,000 pharmacies and 109 million patients. For more information about the eHealth Exchange, visit Follow the eHealth Exchange on Twitter: @eHealthExchange.

About The Sequoia Project

The Sequoia Project is a non-profit, 501c3, public-private collaborative chartered to advance implementation of secure, interoperable nationwide health information exchange. The Sequoia Project supports multiple, independent health IT interoperability initiatives, most notably: the eHealth Exchange, a rapidly growing health data sharing community of exchange partners sharing under a common trust framework and a common set of rules; and Carequality, which is a national-level, consensus-built, common interoperability framework to interconnect and enable exchange between and among existing data sharing networks, much like the telecommunications industry did for linking cell phone networks. For more information about The Sequoia Project and its initiatives, visit Follow The Sequoia Project on Twitter: @SequoiaProject.

Public Relations Contact

Contact: Dawn Van Dyke
Phone: (571) 346-2439
Email: [email protected]


This is all well and good but: 1) Still must depend upon humans at the VA to fill-out required SSA documents that the VA Dr.’s have up to this point refused to even look at, let alone fill-out for a Veteran because the adversarial human part still remains; the VA employees. 2) Will this require that the VA’s databases to work the other way in which the VA cannot outright refuse to acknowledge a given Vet’s Independent Medical Opinion, which… Read more »
VETS FAKE RANGER BOB MC DUCK @ ALL HIS VA THUG RATS ARE TO BE FIRED BY POTUS TRUMP ASAP BUT THE RATS ARE JUMPING ship ASAP WORD REP JEFF MILLER FOR SEC OF VA ////////////////////////???????????????????????????????????????????????????????
I applied for and received SSDI on the basis of PTSD alone though ambulatory problems would likely have done it as well. I DID NOT include any VA medical records. I asked for, and obtained personal letters from my LCSW at VHA that was designated as my point of contact. He said simply that I was a patient of his that suffered from PTSD to the extent that it I am unable to maintain employment. He signed it on VHA… Read more »
My experience was I was filing simultaneously my VA claim and SSDI because of collective severity of health crap and I know my experience may be quite different from others but my SSDI claim was *much* harder to get through than my VA Service Connected P&T 100% claim. I was denied 3x and then sent to an Administrative Judge, whom in my State of Ohio, had a 3 year backlog before that judge would ever look at it…it took my… Read more »
VA victim
I have the opposite problem. The I am already in SSDI and the VA snatched my SSA records without my consent and without my knowledge when I filed a disability claim. Well Unknown to me the SSA records contained inaccurate and incomplete doctors statements about the etiology if my disability. So instead if my claim that my disability is from the military, the contracted doctor the state furnished to evaluate me for SSDI rather invited the military and his records… Read more »

Tell that to Health Net

Disabled Navy Veteran
Disabled Navy Veteran

Please excuse my cynicism but I am certain that this system will be hacked as well. It’s a train wreck waiting to happen.

Let me share a copied portion of the text that explains what constittutes a “no no” to a VA employee currently (from OSC dot gov); “Prohibited personnel practices (PPPs) are employment-related activities that are banne​​d in the federal workforce because they violate the merit system through some form of employment discrimination, retaliation, improper hiring practices, or failure to adhere to laws, rules, or regulations that directly concern the merit system principles. OSC has the authority to investigate and prosecute violations… Read more »
Crazy elf
Let’s see, “less government employees”! I like that. A 501(c)3. I wonder how much of the taxpayers monies will be utilized vs how much will disappear. As is the case with most nonprofits. We’ve seen this occur time and time again! “Cyber attacks” have increased dramatically within the past few years. When will we know its happening to this VHA/SSDI computer system? Will VHA employees, as namnibor pointed out, be more adversarial over this? Basically complaining they’re having to do… Read more »
Crazy elf
Here are a few articles out this morning. 1.) From: “” “Veterans Group Seeks To Delay Passage of Reform Bill” 13 Nov 2016 | Stars & Stripes | by Nikki Wentling (There’s two stories in this article. The second one is about a WWII Marine’s remains being found and identified. All due to a “Boy Scout’s Knife”! Interesting story!) In my opinion, Congress needs to NOT pass any bills. Until the new administration takes over! 2.) from: “” “Trump’s VA… Read more »
Note that the only way a Veteran can concurrently receive, with no offset, SSDI and VA Compensation is if the Veteran is 100% Service Connected and fully “vested” in SSA. How I know this is from my own journey and it gets hairy, but why this is a good thing to have is when a Veteran has multiple chronic health issues but say only 1/2 of them are actually Military Service Connected and others are just “life happens”, that means… Read more »

Note that SSA DOES take your VA Service Connected issues into consideration along with your submitted to SSA non-service health stuff, and there’s often to be overlap, it’s why it gets really hairy and no one case is exactly the same because, life happens.

Crazy elf

Let me get this straight. I’m also on Social Security, since I turned 62. I’m also 100% P&T from VA with multiple service connected disabilities.
Does this mean I’m also eligible for SSDI?


You are eligible for SSDI only if you paid into the program through an employer.

and my understanding is that once I reach retirement age it converts into social security but I am 52 -with a body of an 82 yo man….so I never really looked into what happens when I fet that age because I do not figure I’ll make it (don’t release that last part to VHA – they have sent police seven times to my home on “safety checks” when I complain in writing like this). Street dealer NEVER send police on… Read more »
Dennis- I am 53 going on 82 body as well. Yes, the SSDI converts upon retirement age to regular social security, at the same pay-out rate currently receiving. Crazy elf- Dennis answered those SSA/SSDI questions very well. I suggest people conduct google searches on SSA/SSDI/SSI and VA Benefits as to know the differences and similarities and various requirements. It’s Federal, so it’s one huge ball of sticky red tape but if a Vet is going through applying for benefits at… Read more »
SSDI is an insurance program that you pay into when you are employed. The reaulting payout from SSDI is in like kind the same as an insurance policy elsewhere and is based on the premiums you paid. Those receiving SSDI are collecting on an insurance policy. SSA is not a program the recipient ever paid into and is not insurance. It is a society’s safety net in theory that was impemented in hopes of keeping people alive (and winning votes)… Read more »

In those places they do not need a DBC – they have Frank. Frank is persuasive and only corrects the patients who violate the mafia PPPs. Truly disruptive patients are warned by placing a fresh horse head in your bed… VA could learn so much from these people to improve the care!

Crazy elf

From: “Amicus Generis YT”
Nov. 13, 2016 on Utube.
(01:27 minutes)

“Jason Chaffetz Harsh Warning To Democrats “You Guys Did Nothing!”

In Obama’s first term, the Democrats held both houses AND the Presidency. Did they accomplish anything? Answer;
Not only NO! BUT HELL NO!
The did NOT do anything!
They deserve everything that’s getting ready to fall right into their incompetent laps!

I am wondering how DC transitions from a Chicago style politician to the very different value system of a man and family that worked their way up from the bottom in New York City under the thumb of a mafia that has a MUCH different regional accent? Will D.C. even understand the dialect? I suppose a man that bucked the mafia (turning run down properties into pillars of commerce) instead of getting elected by the Chicago mafia might just find… Read more »

Note to Vinnie and Frank from Chicago;
When you come to break my knee caps, please bring me a chili dog from Eddies Place on 7th and Jason St, Ok? Those things are great!

Arnold Cabral

Rise and Shine VETERANS called your Senators and Representatives how to improve Veterans Benefits and Spread the word please i can’t do myself yes i am a Veteran.


Even if you do not like or agree with Pres. Elect Trump, he did make an official website other day to give such ideas: “”

Sue Frasier
I would just say here that every idea they come out with at the VA is for the convenience of NEW and FUTURE cases entering the system and with a complete disregard for OLD and BACKLOGGED cases. If you design new forms for modern day troops, then design a VA website around the new forms, and then you design SSD filings around the VA website, then it makes perfect sense that only NEW cases will benefit from all this. Meanwhile… Read more »

I’m stuck there also

Obama right now is giving a ‘Post-Election News Conference” and I just heard Obama refer to the Scandals at the VA in a very PAST TENSE way, as if it was SOLVED!! (Obama said, am paraphrasing, “You may remember there were a few problems at the VA…but we brought in over a million more people getting VA healthcare…”!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTF? Obama is clueless or conveniently blind or he totally believes what he is being fed to him from Sec. McDonald. WTF?… Read more »
Crazy elf
namnibor, Obama knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s trying to make it look as though everything is wonderful in VA. He doesn’t want veterans upset more than what we are! On a side note. Down here in Tampa, Florida about 100 Marines, celebrating their birthday, ran across about 150 protesters. Nothing happened, just a bunch of yelling and cursing. Until local law enforcement showed up. But, as the owner of the Irish bar said, “It could have gotten worse!” Maybe… Read more »
So, as I understand it, the VA is going to be sending Social Security are medical files ? But Social Security isn’t sending the VA our medical files ? It’s a confusing one Ben. Didn’t the VA just commit billions of dollars for some kind of computerized crap ? I was put on Social Security disability right out of the national Center for PTSD . Instead of PTSD , they told Social Security I was bipolar . Over the years,… Read more »

Not so. SS sent my file to the VA.

Unless that was changed, and that was indeed 9 years ago, when I was filing both claims, I had to do double/quadruple the work because neither would communicate with each other. Personally, I would not want the VA having any remote ability of tampering with Soc Sec records. If they can figure out how to manipulate wait times on a national scale, not just Phoenix, then the VA could easily change PTSD to ‘Adjustment Disorder’ or MS or say that… Read more »
Don Avant

It’s a crap shoot…If there’s any wy for the VA to screw it up…they will

I know I’m not excited about any of it, especially, that I know that some VA providers outright lie, plus doubt it’s going to help vets. I haven’t figured out if my pcp is simply too lazy to type on her computer, or is there an ulterior reason, which I’m not privy to. Just today I went checking on myhealthevet for meds., appointments, and any updated medical notes. HA! I was seen, recently, for my medical pcp visit. One would… Read more »

The biggest single problem in my being miss diagnosed for 47 years is history taking by both physicians and intake personnel.

cellular phone
I hardly comment, but after reading a great deal of remarks here SSDI Veterans Day Initiative Speeds Up Veterans Disability Insurance. I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be only me or does it seem like some of these responses come across as if they are written by brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional online social sites, I’d like to follow everything new you have to post. Would… Read more »