VA Says Disability Claims Backlog Down by 44% Since March 2013
April 2, 2014 in News
The Department of Veterans Affairs has reduced a backlog of pending benefits claims by 44% since March 2013, according to the latest data released Monday, the Washington Post‘s “Federal Eye” reports (Hicks, “Federal Eye,” Washington Post, 4/1).
The Obama administration has set a goal of eliminating the backlog of disability claims by 2015.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has said that three major problem areas contributed to the backlog:
- Large amounts of paper-based claims and health records that need to be converted to electronic format;
- A need to sync VA’s records with the Department of Defense’s records; and
- A growing number of veterans who are qualifying for disability coverage (iHealthBeat, 2/5).
According to VA, the number of claims that have been pending for longer than 125 days has dropped to 344,000, from a high of about 611,000 last year.
VA in a statement said that claims also are being processed more accurately, adding that the accuracy rate in March stood at 91%, up from 83% in 2011. In addition, the average wait time for claims decisions has declined from 282 days in March 2013 to 119 days (“Federal Eye,” Washington Post, 4/1).