Backlog Mounts As VA Is Flooded With Disability Claims

According to an article in the July 14th edition of the New York Times, a flood of veterans, young and old, are seeking disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for psychological and physical injuries connected to their military service. The backlog of unprocessed claims for those disabilities is now over 400,000, up from 253,000 six years ago, the agency said. The VA has admitted that the agency has a major problem, with some claims languishing for many months in the department’s overtaxed bureaucracy.

A number of factors has lead to the backlog: The influx of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan; aging Vietnam veterans with new or worsening ailments are requesting care; Layoffs are driving unemployed veterans into the department’s sprawling health system for the first time; Congress has expanded certain benefits; and, improved outreach efforts by the department have encouraged more veterans to seek compensation or care.

Veterans advocates say the actual backlog at the VA is nearing one million unprocessed claims. The sprawling veterans compensation and pension system is expected to pay $44 billion in benefits to about three million people this year, the largest group of whom served during the Vietnam War.

The article can be found here – veterans-affairs-faces-surge-of-disability-claims