December 2021 veterans disability benefits statistics report

December 2021 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics Report

Let’s review the December 2021 veterans disability benefits statistics report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This report shows any VA disability, pension, or survivor’s benefits claims awaiting the VA’s review. See how these new numbers may impact veterans as well as any notable changes from the last 30 days below.

December 2021 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics: Claims Inventory Status

The December 2021 veterans disability benefits statistics report shows all applications currently waiting on approval for VA benefits. On December 4, the claims inventory held more than 629,000 such applications:

  • As of December 4, 2021: 629,574
  • As of November 6, 2021: 623,329
  • Difference: +6,245
  • Daily churn: +312 claims

What’s notable in December’s report is no surprise: The sudden increase in Agent Orange-related claims from Vietnam vets. December’s report shows the VA processed just 11 Blue Water Navy Agent Orange Nehmer review requests within 125 days. Today, more than 100,000 different Agent Orange-related claims are now pending the VA’s review. However, a little less than 68,000 of those claims are from changes we reported in October.

How are these increases affecting veterans? Here’s the average number of days the VA took to process each type of claim in YTD 2021:

  • Pension 40.3 days
  • VA compensation (i.e., disability, dependent or survivor’s benefits) — 130 days
  • BDD/Benefits Delivery at Discharge (filed 180-90 days prior to separation) — 76 days
  • QuickStart disability compensation (filed 1-59 days before separation, retirement, or release from duty) — 152 days

December 2021 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics: Claims Backlog Status

Once a benefit claim stays in the inventory more than 125 days, the VA automatically flags it as backlogged. For the second month in a row, December’s report shows fewer backlogged claims compared to the previous 30-day period:

  • As of December 4, 2021: 256,369
  • As of November 6, 2021: 259,146
  • Difference: -2,777
  • Daily churn: -139 claims cleared from the backlog

As we noted, Vietnam veterans are currently the most-backlogged group filing claims. Vietnam vets with Agent Orange-related claims make up 53% of December’s backlog. Just 2% of backlogged claims come from Korean War, World War II, or previous service-era veterans. The other 45% come from vets who served in peacetime, the Gulf War, and Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts.

The VA gives at least 1 in 10 veterans the wrong disability rating or mistakenly denies them benefits each year. Get the most money the VA rightfully owes you for your military service with help from a VA-accredited lawyer. Worried you can’t afford legal assistance? Every VA-accredited attorney in our network offers free claim reviews for vets who qualify for legal assistance. They also give free legal advice by phone and contingency-based help appealing denied VA claims, if needed. Here’s the truth: If a lawyer doesn’t win you benefits, then you pay $0 for legal assistance. But if you do win, then you only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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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, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity,, 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.