Some Reductions Made in VA Benefit Claims Backlog

The 2010 Homeless Stand Down was held September 18, 2010 at the National Guard Armory in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. The Stand Down is an annual event designed with the Homeless Veteran in mind. Courtesy Miami VA.gov

The 2010 Homeless Stand Down in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Courtesy Miami VA.gov

Less than three months ago, the VA began expediting disability claims of veterans who have been waiting for more than a year.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has made progress resolving more than 65,000 claims in less than two months thanks in part to mandatory overtime for VA benefits claims workers.

Other progress that has been made includes: 97 percent of all claims over two years old are gone from the backlog and the backlog now has the lowest number of claims since August 2011.

“Any progress toward eliminating the backlog is welcome news,” Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, state in a news release.

“But we cannot forget that the department is still far short of its own backlog performance benchmarks for 2013. Additionally, one can’t help but question how the department was able to process most of its two-year-old claims in just 60 days. If two months was all VA needed to adjudicate these claims, why did the department let them sit for two years or longer?”

Miller concludes by stating that “this problem won’t be solved unless the backlog is at zero by 2015, just as VA leaders have promised.”

The VA focus is now on claims from veterans waiting more than a year.

Wounded warriors’ claims are a priority and those separating from the military for medical reasons are not part of the VA backlog. Their claims are handled separately.

Other disability claims prioritized at the VA:

  • Homeless veterans
  • Those experiencing extreme financial hardship
  • The terminally ill
  • Former Prisoners of War
  • Medal of Honor recipients
  • Veterans filing Fully Developed Claims

According to a news release, VA’s backlog is comprised mostly of supplemental claims from Veterans already receiving disability compensation who are seeking to address worsening conditions or claim additional disabilities.

Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense/VA web portal eBenefits at http://www.ebenefits.va.gov.

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