Congressman Pushing for Speedier VA Benefit Claims

Florida Cong. Jeff Miller (R) being interviewed at a south Texas VA summit.

Florida Cong. Jeff Miller (R) being interviewed at a south Texas VA summit.

Despite the VA’s goal of clearing the disability claims backlog by 2015, the chairman of the House Comittee on Veterans Affairs said that’s still not good enough.

It currently takes 260 days on average to process a disability benefits claim. The VA plans to cut that to 125 days for processing within two years.

Florida Cong. Jeff Miller told Florida Today that batting.500 is “pretty damn good” for baseball but it’s not a good enough for veterans.

The  backlog is attributed to several items such as the complexity of injuries suffered by Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Also in 2010, the VA expanded eligibility for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange which swelled the number of claims.Miller said it was the “right thing” to do.

“But I don’t think VA planned,” Miller said. “They had an idea of the numbers of people that would be coming through the system, and that’s where I fault VA.”

It’s estimated that 260,000 Vietnam veterans were added to the benefits backlog of an estimated 1 million total claims. The VA currently processes about 1 million claims a year.

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