The January 2021 veterans disability benefits statistics report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is here. This monthly VA statistical report covers unrated disability compensation, pension and survivor’s benefits claims. We’ll explain how VA claims data changed during the past 30 days and what it means for veterans.
January 2021 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics: Claims Inventory Status
The January 2021 veterans disability benefits statistics report lists all claims waiting on the VA’s determination decision for benefits. On January 2, the claims inventory held more than 483,300 unrated claims. While these numbers have been trending up for several months, at least the increases are growing smaller. In fact, according to the VBA’s latest report, the agency processed more than 304,000 claims in the last 3 months.
- As of January 2, 2021: 483,302
- As of December 5, 2020: 481,752
- Difference: +1,550
- Daily churn: +77.5 claims
What’s interesting to note in this month’s report is the overall increase in VA ratings accuracy. In recent years, on average, the VA assigned the wrong disability rating to 1 in every 8 veterans. This led to a massive spike in supplemental and appealed claims. However, those claims didn’t increase backlogged claims at the same rate (we’ll get to that in a minute). During the past year, however, claims rating accuracy at the 3-month and 12-month levels rose above 90%. It’s a fantastic achievement that ensures more vets now receive the maximum compensation they’re owed for military service!
Unfortunately, the VA’s inability to conduct in-person C&P exams through most of 2020 did dramatically increase backlogged claims.
January 2021 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics: Claims Backlog Status
Any unrated claims more than 125 days old automatically move into the VA’s backlog category. While the January 2021 veterans disability benefits statistics report shows a larger backlog, these increases are gradually slowing down:
- As of January 2, 2021: 211,608
- As of December 5, 2020: 208,047
- Difference: +3,561
- Daily churn: +178 claims added the backlog
More than half of all VA benefits claims moved into the backlog category during the last two quarters. So, which veterans face the longest wait to receive benefits due to these rising backlogged claims? Here’s what we noted in January’s report:
- Higher VA ratings and claiming new conditions. If your service-connected disability got worse, or you developed a new injury or illness, those claims take longest to complete. This accounts for 38% of this month’s backlogged claims.
- Initial VA disability claims that list no more than seven conditions. Why does the number of medical issues on your claim matter? The VBA prioritizes payments for veterans that have the most service-connected disabilities. These vets are more likely to receive a 100% P&T rating and/or or qualify for VA unemployability benefits. As a result, veterans with fewer service-connected health issues account for more than 1 in 4 backlogged claims (26%).
The good news is that VA applications for pension, survivor’s and dependent benefits are less likely to become backlogged. In addition, vets that require hospitalization for their health issues typically get those benefit claims approved much faster.
You May Qualify for Free Legal Assistance
Have questions about the claims process, or need advice about maximizing your VA benefits? Many veterans benefit from speaking to a local VA-accredited lawyer for free over the phone. This service is completely free and doesn’t obligate you to do anything else. Since most VA offices are closed due to the ongoing pandemic, why not have a lawyer help file your claim?
These lawyers always work on contingency. That means if the VA doesn’t award you cash benefits, you pay $0 for legal assistance. And if you win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free 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 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.