The Long Wait for Benefits

New York Times Article Regarding the “Backlog”

Last week the New York Times wrote a great article about what most veterans already know: The VA takes an incredibly long time to grant benefits:

“These are the faces of what has become known as “the backlog”: the crushing inventory of claims for disability, pension and educational benefits that has overwhelmed the Department of Veterans Affairs. For hundreds of thousands of veterans, the result has been long waits for decisions, mishandled documents, confusing communications and infuriating mistakes in their claims.

Numbers tell the story. Last year, veterans filed more than 1.3 million claims, double the number in 2001. Despite having added nearly 4,000 new workers since 2008, the agency did not keep pace, completing less than 80 percent of its inventory.”

The article describes some of the reasons behind the backlog: More veterans seeking benefits, not enough people working at the VA, and a generally dysfunctional benefits systems.

“We’re not gaining any ground here,” Eric K. Shinseki, the secretary of veterans affairs, acknowledged in an interview over the summer. “Am I impatient? Yes, but I’ve got a fix.”

The fix: Better training and paperless files.  That will probably help, but I don’t see the wait getting any better soon.

Here’s another story on the numbers.

Until the system gets straightened out, veterans need to keep pressing their claims if they have any hope of getting benefits within two years of the initial application.

I have currently have several veterans I am helping who are on year 8!

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