For several years now, the VA has had a substantial backlog of VA Disability Claims waiting to be processed. A claim is considered “backlogged” if it has been pending for more than 125 days.
Well, we are happy to report that progress has been made!
We know, shocker!
According to a recent report, the VA has reduced the backlog from a high of 611,000 claims in March 2013 to less than 200,000 as of last week, a drop of 67%. The VA’s goal is to completely eliminate the backlog by the end of this year.
As we reported last April, many things can result in a claim being backlogged: it can sometimes take awhile for the VA to get all of the documentation it needs; the training of new claims processors can take a really long time (up to 2 years); standardized forms weren’t required until a couple of weeks ago, and that made it more difficult and time consuming for the VA to compile all of the needed paperwork (in recent years, claims processors handled over 5,000 tons of paper each year!); and more.
In the last 2 years, the VA has taken several steps to streamline the claims process to make it easier and faster for a veteran to receive benefits. Probably the most significant change has been the development of the online benefits portal, www.ebenefits.va.gov. Veterans are strongly encouraged to use the ebenefits portal to submit their application, upload any documentation and/or supporting evidence, and check their claim status. Once their claim is processed, the ebenefits portal can also be used to deliver their benefits.
In addition to the online programs, countless claims processors have worked nights and weekends to help reduce the backlog. The VA has improved their training and quality assurance programs, which has steadily improved not only the speed but also the accuracy of the decisions.
We are excited to hear that the VA is actually making progress, and we hope that it will continue so that our vets can get the benefits they need.