A recent count of veterans’ disability claims waiting in queue to be processed stood at 853,831 on January 27, while it was about 100,000 claims lower in 2011 and 500,000 claims lower in 2009. This number is only expected to rise in the coming months.
According to Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House VA Affairs Committee, at least half of the disabled veterans, with claims already filed, wait at least 6 months just to get into the initial processing stage. This may be due to the mixed regulations for disability ratings seen in the Department of Defense (DoD) and VA’s application systems, and also the increased eligibility for Agent Orange cases. Furthermore, of the estimated 2.2 million troops from the Iraq and Aghanistan Wars, nearly 624,000 have filed veterans’ disability benefits claims and more are anticipated.
Current efforts to combat the increasing backlog focus heavily on budget increases and switching to a paperless system for claim processing. The system was recently tested in Utah and Rhode Island and is set for a national launch this summer through 2013. For 2012, the VA’s budget was increased 20% to nearly $2 billion to help fund claim processing efforts.
Considering the disability ratings systems hasn’t been modified since it was created, which was at the end of WWII, one of the biggest challenges faced is the discrepancies between disability ratings from the DoD or the VA.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from Veterans Help Group is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veteran’s disability rights firm today – 1-855-855-8992.