VA’s Backlogged Claims Falling Fast

Washington Report

(April 1, 2014) It may not seem like good news for a veteran waiting—and waiting—for a disability claim to be processed, but the Department of Veterans Affairs says it has reached an important milestone in its effort to reduce the backlog of claims in 2015.

Army Times is reporting that the number of claims that have been waiting at least 125 days has fallen below 350,000 for the first time since February 2011. It is also the first time the number has been so low since additional illnesses linked to Agent Orange exposure became eligible for benefits. That move in 2010 added tens of thousands of claims to the backlog.

The VA is crediting new technology, better training of workers who handle the claims and improved communications systems for the rapid reduction of the backlog, which has fallen by more than 250,000 in the last year.

Some lawmakers remain unconvinced that the drop can continue. Legislation in the House will join that in the Senate that seeks greater inter-agency coordination and communication with veterans to further reduce the backlog.