What’s new in the August 2020 veterans disability benefits statistics report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs? Keep reading to see how applications for VA disability and pension benefits changed during the past 30 days below.
August 2020 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics: Claims Inventory Status
All unrated VA claims appear in the August 2020 veterans disability benefits statistics report. On August 1, the claims inventory held 441,509 unrated applications. Since January, the VA claims inventory has mostly stayed above 400,000 unrated applications every month. In July, the VA re-started in-person C&P exams for 76% of pending claims across the country. Coronavirus closings delayed many claims in the August 2020 veterans disability benefits statistics report. Hopefully, reopening 112 office locations will result in a lower number in time for next month’s report:
- As of August 1, 2020: 441,509
- As of July 4, 2020: 425,370
- Difference: +16,139
- Daily churn: +807 claims
And while the pandemic’s partly to blame for this increase, it doesn’t tell the whole story. The VBA’s latest report shows they processed 42% of Blue Water Navy claims this year. Those claims grant presumptive VA disability benefits to anyone who served within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam. In addition, anyone who served in the Korean Demilitarized Zone may also qualify for Agent Orange benefits. Essentially, the VA assumes if you served during that period in that general area, you can get Agent Orange benefits. The VA assumes these 14 conditions are service-connected disabilities:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Ischemic heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Early onset peripheral neuropathy
- AL amyloidosis
- Porphyria cutanea tarda
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Prostate cancer
- Lung and other respiratory cancers
- Multiple myeloma
- Chronic B-cell leukemia
- Soft-tissue sarcomas (but not mesothelioma, Kaposi’s sarcoma, chondrosarcoma or osteosarcoma)
So, how have these Agent Orange claims affected the August 2020 veterans disability benefits statistics report’s claim-processing times? On average, supplemental claims take 74 days, higher-level reviews take 78 days and initial applications take 90 days to process. Pension applications take 86 days, on average, while claims from dependent spouses, parents and children take 75.3 days to complete.
August 2020 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics: Claims Backlog Status
Any claim the VA doesn’t complete within 125 days automatically moves into the backlog. The August 2020 veterans disability benefits statistics report shows another massive backlog increase this month. It now holds nearly 3x more unrated claims than it did in December 2019:
- As of August 1, 2020: 198,770
- As of July 4, 2020: 168,172
- Difference: +30,598
- Daily churn: +1,530 claims added to the backlog
Now, let’s look at what the August 2020 veterans disability benefits statistics report’s backlog category currently holds:
- 38% are supplemental claims for higher ratings or new conditions
- 27% are first-time VA disability claims for no more than 7 conditions
- 13.4% are decision review requests for AMA supplemental claims
- 10% are initial VA disability claims for at least 8 conditions
- 9% are Blue Water Navy Agent Orange claims
- 1.5% are first-time claims for survivor’s benefits
- .5% are initial or supplemental pension claims
This month’s report also shows that where you live makes a difference in how long you wait for benefits. For example: Almost 69% of VA claims in Cheyenne, Wyoming take more than 125 days to process. But in Indianapolis, it takes the VA just 58.1 days to process your claim!
You May Qualify for Free Legal Assistance
A VA-accredited lawyer can make sure you get an accurate claim rating as well as maximize your payments. Nearly 1 in 20 veterans don’t get all the benefits they deserve once they’re approved. Not sure if you need a lawyer to help you? Sign up for a free phone call to get confidential advice from the closest advocate available to help you today.
All VA-accredited attorneys work on contingency. That means you pay $0 for legal assistance unless the VA approves your claim or you win your appeals case. Since 2015, 4 out of every 5 veterans with legal assistance prevailed against the VA in court. If you don’t win, then you don’t pay your lawyer any fees. And if you win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.