Disability Claims Backlog for Veterans: An Update

It’s been several months now since the Veterans Administration (VA) announced it was authorizing overtime to finally make headway on clearing the huge backlog of disability claims by veterans. As we discussed in our May 17 post, the VA has already committed itself to working more closely with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to coordinate efforts and expedite disability claims by injured vets.

In this post, we’ll update you on the status of these efforts to reduce the backlog. The bottom line, of course, will be to not only reduce, but actually end, the excessive waits for benefits experienced by veterans in Southeast Michigan and across the nation.

The good news is that there is now some evidence that the big backlog is finally beginning to diminish in size. At the VA, there are more than 10,000 claims processors who are working overtime this summer. And the agency says it is making headway at clearing out the backlog. The VA says the size of the backlog has been reduced by 17 percent since March of this year.

But there is still a long way to go. Overall, the number of disability claims that have not been processed is still around 900,000. And it still takes many months to process most claims. Some veterans have to wait more than a year.

That is why Congress is considering a bill called the Veterans Backlog Reductions Act. The bill would provide provisional benefits for veterans if their claims have not been in a designated period of time. Under the proposed bill, that period would be 125 days.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat, “Enyart: Backlog of veterans’ disability claims starting to shrink,” August 1, 2013