Mock sample for your project: Benefits Intake API

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Benefits Intake

Version: 1.0.0

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The Benefits Intake API allows authorized third-party systems used by Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs), agencies, and Veterans to digitally submit VA benefits claim documents directly to the Veterans Benefits Administration's (VBA) claims intake process. This API handles documents related to the following benefit claim types:
Pension/Survivors Benefits
Veteran Readiness & Employment (VRE)
Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA)
This API also provides submission status updates until documents are successfully established for VBA claim processing, eliminating the need for users to switch between systems to manually check whether documents have been successfully uploaded.
This API provides a secure, efficient, and tracked alternative to mail or fax for VA benefit claim document submissions. Documents are uploaded directly to the VBA so they can be processed as quickly as possible.
Technical overview
The Benefits Intake API first provides an upload location and unique submission identifier, and then accepts a payload consisting of a document in PDF format, zero or more optional attachments in PDF format, and some JSON metadata.
The metadata describes the document and attachments, and identifies the person for whom it is being submitted. This payload is encoded as binary multipart/form-data (not base64). The unique identifier supplied with the payload can subsequently be used to request the processing status of the uploaded document package.
To avoid errors and processing delays, API consumers are encouraged to validate the zipcode,fileNumber, veteranFirstName, veteranLastName and businessLine fields before submission according to their description in the DocumentUploadMetadata model and use the 'businessLine' attribute for the most efficient processing. Additionally, please ensure no PDF user or owner passwords are used in submitted PDFs.
Attachment & file size limits
There is no limit on the number of files a payload can contain, but size limits do apply.
Uploaded documents cannot be larger than 21" x 21"
The entire payload cannot exceed 5 GB
No single file in a payload can exceed 100 MB
Date of receipt
The date that documents are successfully submitted through the Benefits Intake API is used as the official VA date of receipt. However, note that until a document status of received, processing, success, or vbms is returned, a client cannot consider the document received by VA.
A status of received means that the document package has been transmitted, but may not be validated. Any errors with the document package, such as unreadable PDFs or a Veteran not found, will cause the status to change to error.
If the document status is error, VA has not received the submission and cannot honor the submission date as the date of receipt.
Authentication and Authorization
API requests are authorized through a symmetric API token, provided in an HTTP header with name 'apikey'. Request an API key.
Testing in the sandbox environment
In the sandbox environment, the final status of a submission is received and submissions do not actually progress to the central mail repository or VBMS.
Progress beyond the received status can be simulated for testing. We allow passing in a Status-Override header on the /uploads/{id} endpoint so that you can change the status of your submission to simulate the various scenarios.
The available statuses are pending, uploaded, received, processing, success, vbms, and error. The meaning of the various statuses is listed below in Models under DocumentUploadStatusAttributes.
Test data
We use mock test data in the sandbox environment. Data is not sent upstream and it is not necessary to align submitted test data with any other systems' data.
Upload operation
Allows a client to upload a multi-part document package (form + attachments + metadata).
Client Request: POST
No request body or parameters required
Service Response: A JSON API object with the following attributes:
guid: An identifier used for subsequent status requests
location: A URL to which the actual document package payload can be submitted in the next step. The URL is specific to this upload request, and should not be re-used for subsequent uploads. The URL is valid for 900 seconds (15 minutes) from the time of this response. If the location is not used within 15 minutes, the GUID will expire. Once expired, status checks on the GUID will return a status of expired.
Note: If, after you've submitted a document, the status hasn't changed to uploaded before 15 minutes has elapsed, we recommend retrying the upload in order to make sure the document properly reaches our servers. If the upload continues to fail, try encoding the payload as Base64 (See below).
Client Request: PUT to the location URL returned in Step 2.
Request body should be encoded as binary multipart/form-data (base64 also available - see details below), equivalent to that generated by an HTML form submission or using “curl -F…”. The format is described in more detail below.
No apikey authorization header is required for this request, as authorization is embedded in the signed location URL.
Service Response: The HTTP status indicates whether the upload was successful.
Additionally, the response includes an ETag header containing an MD5 hash of the submitted payload. This can be compared to the submitted payload to ensure data integrity of the upload.
Status caching
Due to current system limitations, data for the /uploads/report endpoint is cached for one hour.
A request to the /uploads/{id} endpoint will return a real-time status for that GUID, and update its status in /uploads/report.
The updated_at field indicates the last time the status for a given GUID was updated.
Optional Base64 encoding
Base64 is an encoding scheme that converts binary data into text format, so that encoded textual data can be easily transported over networks uncorrupted and without data loss.
Base64 can be used to encode binary multipart/form-data it in its entirety. Note that the whole payload must be encoded, not individual parts/attachments.
After encoding your payload, you'll be required to preface your base64 string with data:multipart/form-data;base64, in order to allow our system to distinguish the file type. Your final string payload would look something like data:multipart/form-data;base64,(encryption string)== and close with the standard == marker. Note that the multipart boundaries i.e. -----WebKitFormBoundaryVfOwzCyvug0JmWYo and ending ------WebKitFormBoundaryVfOwzCyvug0JmWYo- must also be included.
Consumer onboarding process
When you're ready to move to production, request a production API key.