Time to review the November 2021 veterans disability benefits statistics report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This report shows all VA disability, pension, and survivor’s benefits claims which are currently pending. We’ll explain what changed during the past 30 days and how the latest numbers may impact disabled military vets below.
November 2021 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics: Claims Inventory Status
The November 2021 veterans disability benefits statistics report lists active claims that need the VA’s disability rating or approval decisions. On November 6, there were more than 623,000 benefit applications listed in the claims inventory. In fact, November’s report shows this category holds 143,325 more pending claims than it did a year ago:
- As of November 6, 2021: 623,329
- As of October 2, 2021: 616,195
- Difference: +7,134
- Daily churn: +357 claims
To get a true sense of how the ongoing pandemic affects VA claims, we looked back at February 2020’s report. Back then, the claims inventory held just 413,032 claims. We’re less than two years into Covid-related VA office restrictions, yet it’s made a huge impact on veterans. There are now more than 210,000 additional claims the VA must get through now compared to before the pandemic. In other words, the claims inventory increased about 50% between February 2020 and November 2021. Until the VA can perform enough in-person C&P exams to get medical evidence for every claim, these numbers will just keep rising every month.
So, how might this increase affect your own wait time for VA benefits if you apply sometime this month? If you file online using the VA’s Fully Developed Claims (FDC) fast-tracking process, you’ll wait 107.1 days, on average. File your claim any other way, and you’ll wait about 129 days for the VA to finish their review.
November 2021 Veterans Disability Benefits Statistics: Claims Backlog Status
Any claims more than 125 days old automatically count as backlogged. We knew from the VA’s recent blog posts that the claims inventory would grow significantly at the end of October. Well, the new numbers are honestly not as bad as we expected (though still much larger than last month):
- As of November 6, 2021: 259,146
- As of October 2, 2021: 205,389
- Difference: +53,757
- Daily churn: +2,688 claims added to the backlog
Once more, let’s look back one year and the report that came out back in February 2020 for comparison. One year ago, the VA reported more than 203,500 backlogged claims in November 2020. But just nine months earlier, the backlog held a little less than 70,000 pending VA claims in February 2020. This means backlogged claims nearly tripled (+271%) during the last 21 months.
These restrictions limit the number of in-person exams where the VA gathers medical evidence required to rate or approve claims. Unfortunately, there’s currently no end in sight or extra staff available to help the VA process this backlog. For this reason, vets filing claims should expect a 4-to-6-month wait to receive any VA benefits they’re rightfully owed.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
At least 1 in 10 veterans filing claims get the wrong VA rating or mistakenly denied benefits every year. This means you may get lower monthly payments than you earned via military service, or nothing at all. Get the maximum monthly payment you deserve the first time you apply with help from a VA-accredited lawyer. Not sure you can afford a lawyer? All VA-accredited attorneys in our network offer free, no-obligation claim reviews to vets who qualify for legal assistance. Since they also work on contingency, you will never pay anything out of your own pocket for legal services. If you don’t win, then your attorney receives $0 in legal fees. 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 online benefits evaluation now!
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.