The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee once again met with officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the VA, as well as disabled veterans across the country. As always, the two groups exchanged questions and information regarding the growing backlog of veterans disability claims – but that isn’t the only problem that demands a solution.
Let’s take a closer look at three of the biggest issues facing disabled veterans today:
- The claim error rate. The VA recently reported that they have an error rate of 16 percent when it comes to assessing veterans’ disability claims. In some cases, they admit, they do not assign the correct disability rating, while in other cases they wrongly deny a veteran the benefits they deserve. The VA has stated that the reason for the high rate of errors is threefold: more claims coming in from Iraq and Afghanistan, more complex claims than ever, and weaknesses in their employee training program. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has stated that he is working toward a 98 percent error-free claims process by 2015.
- Traumatic brain injury. One of the biggest differences between the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and previous wars is the huge numbers of military personnel returning from war with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These injuries are difficult to diagnose, hard to treat, and express themselves in a wide range of ways, including both mental and physical disabilities. In addition, the treatment of TBI is expensive and often requires a lifetime of care and resources.
- The veterans’ disability claim backlog. This is perhaps the most pressing issue facing the VA today. The backlog recently hit 900,000 – that’s almost a million former service men and women who need financial support to care for their families and help pay for their needs. The backlog, which has been caused by the large number of claims, the two recent wars, and cuts in the Department of Veterans Affairs, means that many are waiting months and even years to see their disability checks. The VA has set a goal of having all claims processed within 125 days by the year 2015.
Do you have a legal question about your veterans’ disability benefits or need the assistance of a Texas disability attorney? Call Morgan & Weisbrod today and get the help you need.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.