Currently, there are 870,000 veterans across the United States waiting for their veterans’ disability claims to be processed. Two out of three of those claims are taking over 125 days to process. Despite ongoing efforts in recent years to shrink the backlog, reduce the number of claim errors, and make certain that all claims are heard within 125 days, the numbers are still going up, and veterans and their families are still being made to wait months and even years for financial relief.
What’s the cause of this huge backlog and why are more veterans than ever applying for disability benefits?
- Large number of new veterans. It’s no secret that we have been fighting two wars in recent years – and for a great number of years. Our military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq resulted in a huge number of veterans returning home with physical and mental disabilities – especially traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. These veterans need medical care, financial support, therapy, and services at an increasing rate.
- An aging veteran population. Veterans that served in Vietnam and the Gulf War are getting older – and many are discovering health issues that are related to their service in the military, such as diabetes, heart issues, and back pain. At the same time, the VA has changed some of their requirements for qualifying for benefits, making it possible for some older veterans to apply for benefits for the first time.
- An obsolete claims processing system. Even the VA admits that its claims process needs a huge overhaul – their claims counselors are not trained using a universal system and their process still relies on large amounts of paperwork instead of electronic forms. They hope to upgrade and streamline their process by 2015, but a tight budget and other issues may stall their efforts.
It’s also important to note that more veterans than ever are seeking treatment, support, and benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder and sexual assault – two very real problems that have been stigmatized in the past. It is commendable that more of our veterans are coming forward and seeking help for these serious issues.
Do you need the assistance of a Dallas veterans’ disability attorney? Call Morgan & Weisbrod today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.