WhatDisability.com - Information, News and Resources for All Types of Disabilities
Our goal is to provide disability information, news, resources and encouragement that enriches the disabled community. We hope to reach persons with all types of disabilities and limitations and those who would like to learn more.
Backlogs and Slow Processing: How America Treats its Disabled VeteransA recent hearing before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs (VA) discussed the backlog of 897,566 disability claims faced by the Veteran Affairs Department. In addition, it was revealed that 65 percent of claims remain unprocessed for more than 125 days and the average error rate in processing is 16 percent. The worst is Oakland, CA where eighty percent of veterans wait at least 125 days and the average wait time is 313 days. The regional office in Baltimore has the worse error rate in the country at 29 percent. Quality issues have been sighted as the main reason for the delay, with claims having to be reevaluated multiple times or by senior members before a decision can be made.
There has already been a 48 percent increase in claims since 2008. This number is expected to increase even more as veterans continue to come home from Afghanistan and Iraq. The backlog is expected to grow to 1.2 million by the end of this year.
The American Legion's service officer for the state of Kentucky, Randall Fisher, said it was necessary for training to be made a priority and the hiring of more veterans. Budget constraints have caused VA to stop using its national training academy forcing training to be done locally.
The hearing in Washington focused on the announcement made by VA that there would be a reorganization of operations at 12 regional offices, including the use of a new computer-based program and quality-control teams. The program was tested for about a year to ensure it could effectively process claims in 90 days or less. It includes the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal which will allow veterans to complete forms online such as applications and those to appoint a representative.
Unfortunately, the list of offices to be reorganized did not include Seattle or Oakland, the two slowest claims processing offices in the country.