Is the VA’s backlog elimination promise unreachable?

The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) made a promise to eliminate the backlog of VA benefit claimants awaiting a decision by the end of 2015. Military Times recently reported on the VA department’s progress, and it now seems unlikely the agency will reach its goal.

The VA Backlog

The backlog refers to the list of first-time VA benefits claims that have been unresolved for four months or longer. The backlog peaked at 610,000 claims in March of 2013. This meant that hundreds of thousands of veterans were left idly waiting for a reply for their benefit claims.

The VA promised to add staff and improve its methods and cut the backlog down to zero by the end of this year. However, the backlog still sits at about 245,000 cases – a number that is potentially unsurmountable by the deadline.

Granted, the VA has made some improvements. Last year was a record-breaking year for the department in terms of claims resolutions; it completed more than 1.3 million compensation and pension claims, its highest figure ever in a single year. Even still, the enormity of the workload and the rise in the number of claims and appeals being made, is making “zero an elusive goal,” reports Military Times.

Even though VA Secretary Bob McDonald stands by the VA’s promise to tend to all the claims on the backlog by the end of the year, industry experts are doubtful. This is quite disheartening news for veterans. Jackie Maffucci, a research director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, explains: “[G]etting to zero is still important, because it’s a promise that was made to veterans. Our members still tell us this is one of their top concerns. Keeping that promise still matters.”

Help with Your VA Benefits

If you are having difficulties with your disability benefits, call our team at Veterans Help Group®. Contact our firm to learn about our services or to schedule a free consultation at 1-855-855-8992.