In 2009, President Barack Obama announced his goal of not only reducing but eliminating the backlog of veterans’ disability claims in the United States. While improvements have been made over the last few years, the backlog has not yet been eliminated.
In July 2016, the Military Times reported that there were more than 70,000 veterans’ disability claims backlogged with Veterans Affairs. Approximately one in five claims takes more than four months to resolve, and cases that are appealed may take significantly longer to resolve.
Yet, the Improvement Is Significant
As recently as 2013, the number of backlogged veterans’ disability claims was more than 610,000. In three years, that number fell to 70,000 in part because of:
- Overtime for claims processors. Overtime was mandatory for a three year period that ended in December 2015; however, voluntary overtime is still available.
- Electronic records systems. Important information is readily available and more easily shared among offices.
- National work queue. This allows claims processors from around the country to step in and help a local office that has a sudden increase in filings.
However, 2016 is expected to be another record-breaking year for veterans’ disability claims and claims processors who are already responsible for thousands of claims a day may be overwhelmed with the influx of applications.
What Does This Mean to You?
Officials believe that some of the 70,000 cases that are backlogged are delayed because the applicant added additional information after the initial filing. While some backlog may always occur with the veterans’ disability process, you may be able to avoid having your own application delayed by providing a full and complete application the first time you apply.
You have served your country well; you deserve to get the benefits to which you are legally entitled. If you have any questions about how to get veterans’ disability benefits in a timely manner, please start a live chat with us now or call us directly at 800-800-6353.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.