Veterans who suffer physical or mental injuries while selflessly serving our country are often entitled to disability benefits to help pay for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses for the future.
However, in the wake of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Department of Veterans Affairs could not keep up with the claims for benefits that were being submitted and an enormous backlog grew. As of last week, 751,000 claims were pending nationwide.
The worst part is that veterans who are undoubtedly entitled to benefits can be left waiting for months or even years before their claims are approved and they start collecting benefits. For some, the wait time results in financial ruin and difficulty even putting food on the table.
In response to national outcry over the issue, the VA reportedly hired more claims processors earlier this year and began chipping away at the backlog of cases. By late June, the VA reported that it had processed 97 percent of claims that had been pending for two years or longer.
The VA announced that it has set a date in 2015 by which it hopes to be able to process all claims within 125 days. The VA plans on using a new computer program, set to come out next year, to meet the goal. Currently, all of the disability claims are submitted and processed on paper, which seems archaic in this day and age.
Although this is an ambitious goal the VA has set, hopefully it is one that will be achieved for the sake of the veterans who are in need of benefits.
Source: Fox News, "Veterans Affairs does about-face, working OT to fix benefits backlog," Sept. 15, 2013