Veteran’s Administration (VA) is making progress toward its goal of eliminating all backlogged disability claims by 2015. According to the VA, since its peak of 611,000 claims in March 2013, the agency has reduced the backlog by 34 percent (down to 400,835) claims.
Other positive strides include completing 93 percent of the claims over a year old and improving the accuracy of disability ratings assigned to veterans. The VA also indicates that between 65 and 70 percent of the claims submitted have been approved for benefits, which it noted in a November 7 press release is “on par with historical averages.”
This progress is thanks in part to mandatory overtime (although, it was stopped for a period in October during the government shutdown) and is expected to continue through November 23. VA physicians have also been placed in regional offices to assist with claim decisions by reviewing medical records and other documentation.
Efforts to eliminate the backlog will continue in the coming months. Claims that have been pending the longest will be a particular area of focus.
The VA will also be working on prioritizing claims for certain groups such as:
- Medal of Honor recipients;
- prior Prisoners of War;
- homeless veterans;
- vets under extreme financial hardship; and
- terminally ill.
Also, those filing Fully Developed claims (FDC) will continue to receive faster decisions. This option is available when all necessary documentation is submitted at the time of application. Veterans looking to speed up the claims process can not only choose the FDC method, but may receive a quicker decision by filing electronically.
Since many denied claims stem from missing information or inadequate evidence, it might also be a good idea to secure help from an attorney at the start. Whether you are filing an initial application, an appeal or otherwise need assistance with your claim, contact the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group today.