Visitors to this blog have read about the efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to deal with the massive backlog of disability claims. What gets much less coverage in the media is one of the reasons for the backlog in the first place -- the increasing complexity of claims from disabled veterans.
The head of the Department of Veteran Affairs, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, has made many promises to veterans. One of his most ambitious is his pledge to end the backlog of disability claims by 2015. This promise earned him many scornful remarks and calls for his resignation. The Secretary believes that his ambitious goal allowed the VA to obtain the funding it needed to get rid of its antiquated and inefficient paper-based claim system.
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, the crash project to give priority to the oldest veterans disability benefits claims has paid off. The VA reports that it has processed 97 percent of claims more than two years old. This means that 65,000 claims are no longer part of the backlog.
The significant backlog of veterans disability benefits claims at the Department of Veteran Affairs is partly the result of massive paper-based files that are required to make a decision on a veteran's disability claim. Efforts to digitize records and streamline the process are currently underway, but until the system is 100 percent automated, vets will experience the frustrations caused by the use of paper files.