The VA Backlog is Really, Really Big
Have you heard there is a backlog for processing claims at the VA?
Just kidding. By now, almost everyone in the country knows about the problem. But a recent investigation by the Center for Investigative Reporting quantifies how serious it is.
The CIR's report also showed that the average wait time for a disability claim to be resolved is 279 days. First time claims take longer, averaging 318 days, and the wait time has grown 2,000 percent in the past four years.
The data, previously unavailable to the public, reveals a department increasingly unable to respond in a timely manner to more than 822,000 veterans’ claims of disease, injury or illness sustained while serving the U.S. military. Altogether, more than 900,000 veterans are waiting for disability, pension and education benefits. The data also is viewable on CIR’s interactive map.
A PBS Newshour story Tuesday spotlighted one VA center, a regional office in Winston-Salem, N.C., that had so much paper that it "created an unsafe workspace for (VA) employees and appeared to have the potential to compromise the integrity of the building."
This is what it looks like in that regional office:
The CIR report marks the first time the public can view the information for all 58 regional VA offices where claims are processed. New data points, available on a monthly basis going back to late 2010, include:
- The number of veterans waiting a year or more for a response to their claim
- The average wait time for veterans filing their first claim
- The average number of claims completed per VA employee
- The number of new claims
Prior to the reports’ release, the only data about the backlog was published by the VA on a weekly and monthly basis and offered little insight into productivity and wait times.
Have you been affected by the VA backlog? Many Guardmembers have a harder time dealing with the VA for a number of reasons.