The Department of Veterans Affairs has recently made significant progress in reducing its huge backlog of claims for disability compensation.
Since it peaked in March 2013, the backlog has been reduced from 611,000 to just under 401,000 — a 34 percent decrease. The agency also reported that it has concurrently increased its decision accuracy. The three-month average accuracy rate for complete claim files stands at 90 percent, an improvement of five percentage points and seven percentage points over the accuracy rates for 2011 and 2010, respectively.
In April 2013, the VA announced an initiative to expedite decisions on claims that had been pending for more than one year. The following month, the agency mandated 20 hours of overtime per month for all claims processors through the end of 2013. If funding permits, the VA anticipates a continuation of the mandatory overtime policy into 2014.
Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, reiterated the agency’s goal of eliminating its claims backlog by the end of 2015 and praised VA employees for their hard work.
The VA said that as it works to reduce its backlog, it will continue to focus on those veterans whose claims have been pending longest, who are homeless or terminally ill, who are former POWs, who are Medal of Honor recipients and on those who file fully-developed claims.
It is encouraging to see a coordinated effort to get benefits to our deserving veterans in a timely manner.
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