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Veteran disability backlog, wait time grows larger

Although there have been promises by the United States Department of Veterans Association to shrink the amount of backlog claims that are building up, NBC News is reporting that the average wait time has grown grown larger. Currently, the news source is saying that the wait is 262 days, or about nine months. The VA’s benefits-aspiration page shows that the process time was 223 days in October 2011, 246 days in April 2012 and 260 days in August.

NBC said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki promised to shrink the backlog to 125 days by 2015 as the agency was trying to move more to an online environment, but the backlog only seems to be getting bigger. A report from Congress shows that the backlog has in fact doubled since 2008. In a statement given to the news company by VA, it was stated that there were 1 million claims completed in the last three years, a record for VA.

“Yet too many Veterans have to wait too long to get the benefits they have earned and deserve,” VA said in the statement. “That’s unacceptable, and VA is building a strong foundation for a paperless, digital disability claims system — a lasting solution that will transform how we operate and eliminate the claims backlog. This paperless technology is being deployed to 18 regional offices in 2012, and it will reach all 56 VA Regional Offices by the end of 2013 to help deliver faster, better decisions for veterans.”

VA said there was $5 billion paid in compensation to veterans in 2011, with increased demand, more being paid for Agent Orange exposure and better outreach to benefits being the reason for the rise.

There are numerous deadlines that veterans must be aware of to maintain a claim before VA. It is always better not to wait to file a claim and to appeal an unfavorable decision well before time periods to file a claim expire.The sooner a veteran pursues their claim, the sooner the benefits will be paid. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates are available to assist the veteran in successfully obtaining their benefits.