Veterans Claims Backlog at 8-Year Low

veterans claims backlog

According to The Wall Street Journal, Veterans Affairs disability claims backlog has hit an 8-year low. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released a statement in August saying the backlog of 98,000 veterans claims is down 84 percent from its peak in March 2013.

Why the Improvement?

In 2010, a vast number of disability claims began pouring into the system. The surge came after Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange were encouraged to applying for disability benefits. By 2012, a severe veterans claims backlog began to take over the system. The former Secretary Eric Shinseki responded by creating an initiative to reduce the massive amount of claims by giving processors mandatory overtime and pushing veterans to digitize their claims records. In 2013, VA undersecretary Allison Hicky confirmed that the strategy was significantly reducing the backlog, and employees were able to handle more claims as they were submitted digitally.

What Is a Backlogged Claim?

A claim is considered “backlogged” when it has been inactive for over 25 days and there are several reasons why your claim may fall into this category. For example, if the VA receives a surplus of claims or if your claim was submitted in the form of a personal letter you find the process extended. To avoid this, you may consider submitting your application digitally. Digitized forms are often processed and returned to filers faster. Also, if you did not turn in all of the necessary documentation your claim may experience backlog and sit until proper paperwork for your claim is provided. To further prevent your disability claim from becoming part of the VA backlog, you should consider participating in the Fully Developed Claims program.

Fully Developed Claims

The VA created the Fully Developed Claims program as a way to provide veterans and survivors with quicker decisions on pension, compensation, and other benefit claims. Any veteran who has an injury, condition, or disability believe to have occurred or been worsened because of military service is eligible to file for an FDC. Those looking to file for survivor benefits or pension may be eligible as well. FDCs are often processed faster because they include all the information the VA needs to make a decision on the claim. If you file an FDC and the VA decides other records are necessary in order for the claim to be processed, the files will be removed from the FDC program and placed in the standard process. This does not penalize you in any way or affect the decision, it may, however, add time on to how long it takes for a decision to be made.

Many soldiers cannot afford delays in their application process. Attorneys familiar with veterans disability claims can help you get past the backlog, get benefits, and get everything you may qualify for, all in an easy process. See if you qualify for legal representation by clicking on the button below.

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