Veteran Disability Lawyer
For those seeking justice through the Veterans Affairs Department, patience might need to be a bit more than just a virtue. In a statement last week the VA announced it’s facing a backlog of 897,566 disability claims, with more than 65% pending for more than 125 days. Since 2008, the VA has seen a 48% increase in claims and its most recent error rate was listed at 16%.
Unfortunately, the situation is only expected to get worse. Officials believe that by the end of year the backlog number will have grown to over 1.2 million and they expect an additional 50,000 claims to be added in 2013, due to the veterans returning fromIraqandAfghanistan.
Although the backlog numbers demand attention, some believe there are other, more important things to focus on, including VA training, the error rate, and improving the VA’s rating decisions. Jeffrey Hall, assistant national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans, told House lawmakers last week….
“While the elimination of the backlog will be a welcome milestone, we must remember that eliminating the backlog is not necessarily the same goal as reforming the claims processing system, nor does it guarantee that veterans are better served.”
Assuring the public the VA was focused on these issues as well, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki vowed that by 2015, the error rate would be down to 2% and all claims would be handled in fewer than 125 days. Shinseki stated to reach these goals, the VA will roll out its paperless Veterans Benefit Management System to 16 regional offices by September, with installation in all offices by 2014. The VA has also announced plans to streamline disability claims by segmenting claims and allowing those that are more complex to be handled by more experience and skilled employees.
As 2015 quickly approaches, only time will tell if Shinseki’s projected goals are met. While some are optimistic, budget cuts and the growing backlog keep many skeptical.
To learn more or see the original article, please visit: http://www.nationaljournal.com/congress/va-s-disability-claims-backlog-pushes-900-000-20120419?mrefid=mostViewed.
If you have questions on VA disability claims, contact Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC at 800-693-4800.