At the end of February 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had over 600,000 veterans’ disability claims sitting in their regional offices waiting to be processed. While this is a significant drop from the 800,000 mark at the end of 2012, there is still a long way to go to reduce this number to a more manageable level.
Currently, the average benefits claim for veterans’ disability takes about 270 days to process. This is a far cry from the goal of processing all claims in 125 days or less and eliminating the backlog by 2015. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki claims that nearly 200 days of the current average processing time is due to waiting on documentation from the IRS, defense department, and outside doctors, according to Stars and Stripes.
The VA has taken steps in recent months to help improve inter-department communication with the IRS and defense department to obtain these records more quickly. In the meantime, it is still a lengthy process for the VA claims processing teams to evaluate a claim for completeness, request the necessary records for processing, and re-evaluate the new evidence once it is obtained.
What can veterans do to speed up the process?
One of the things that disabled veterans can do that may help expedite their claims is to ensure they are filing a completely documented application for veterans’ disability benefits. The more records a disabled veteran is able to provide with their application, the better chance they have of getting their case processed with the new expedited claim processing system.
The new system segments claims into categories determined by their level of completeness and complexity. Claims that are well-documented and have all the necessary paperwork may be expedited through the approval process. One way to ensure your claim is handled properly is to work with a veterans’ disability attorney and case manager.
The veterans’ disability claim team at The Law Offices of Veterans Help Group is ready to help disabled veterans obtain the right documentation for their case. For assistance with collecting medical records, military service documentation, and financial approvals, contact our veteran’s disability firm – 1-855-855-8992.