The November 2020 veterans disability benefits statistics report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is out. This monthly snapshot report includes data on VA disability compensation, pension and survivor’s benefits claims. We’ll explore how VA claim data changed during the past 30 days and what it means for veterans.
November 2020 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics: Claims Inventory Status
The November 2020 veterans disability benefits statistics report lists all claims waiting on the VA’s determination decision. On November 7, the claims inventory held a little more than 480,000 unrated claims. This month, almost 1 in 3 unrated claims (31%) come from first-time VA disability applicants:
- As of November 7, 2020: 480,004
- As of October 3, 2020: 475,290
- Difference: +4,714
- Daily churn: +236 claims
For the first time since the program’s launch, FDCs (Fully Developed Claims) are taking longer to process. Today, filing your FDC directly through the VA’s online claims processing portal takes 117 hours total to process. But if you file that same VA claim through a local VA-accredited attorney, it takes 105 days total to process. Based on the latest VBA quarterly report, the VA’s prioritizing claims that don’t require in-person C&P exams. And in the last quarter of 2020, the VA’s accelerating claim reviews to complete them in 100 days or less! Here’s how long you’ll wait for the VA’s decision on your claim, depending on which type you file:
- Supplemental claims take 85 days to complete, on average
- Pension claims take 63 days, on average
- DIC (dependency indemnity compensation) claims for surviving spouses & children take 53 days to complete, on average
In addition, we have some good news to share! The federal government approved a 1.3% COLA increase for 2021. This should cause a modest rise in total VA claims for December, January, and February.
November 2020 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics: Claims Backlog Status
Once a claim waits longer than 125 days for processing, the VA automatically moves it into the backlog. The November 2020 veterans disability benefits statistics report’s backlog shrank minimally compared to October:
- As of November 7, 2020: 203,550
- As of October 3, 2020: 203,837
- Difference: -287
- Daily churn: -14 claims cleared from the backlog
Since rating exams are the biggest speed bump due to existing pandemic restrictions, what does that mean for veterans? Essentially, these types of claims are least likely to take longer than 125 days to process:
- Benefit adjustment requests
- Decision review requests
- Correspondence from vets already receiving some VA disability or pension income each month
Despite limited office openings, the VA still completed more than 28,000 field exams in August, September, and October of 2020. As much as nobody likes waiting longer to receive much-needed benefits, there’s one silver lining. Ratings accuracy is especially high right now, according to current VBA data:
- 96% accuracy rating individual health issues on claims in the past year
- 91% accuracy rating all claims filed during the past 12 months, on average, nationwide
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Need help with your claim, but can’t get an appointment to speak to someone at the VA in person? We can connect you with a local VA-accredited lawyer who’ll help you over the phone within one business day. This service is always free and doesn’t obligate you to do anything else.
All VA-accredited attorneys in our network offer contingency-based help. That means you pay $0 for legal assistance if the VA doesn’t pay you a cash settlement. And if you do 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.