VA Makes Progress in Reducing Claims Backlog

20 Jul 2013

The Veteran Affairs Department will cross an important milestone soon. The agency announced recently that it expects to go below the 800,000 mark in its veteran disability benefits claim backlog soon.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, it's been a while since the department has managed to go below the 800,000 mark, and excitement has been high at the prospect of crossing that important milestone. The agency now reports that it has a total of 833,130 pending claims. Out of these, more than 547,000 claims have been backlogged for more than 125 days.

Those numbers include pending claims that don't require a rating, and the total number of claims that require a rating currently stands at 801,931 claims. Just last week, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that there were now 808,074 claims that were awaiting ratings. The new numbers represent a drop of 6,143 claims awaiting ratings.

Also recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs admitted that in two months’ time, it had managed to process 65,000 disability claims that have been pending for more than two years. That comprises more than 97% of claims that have been pending for more than a period of two years. That progress was made due to a special initiative that was kicked off in April at the agency. Under the initiative, the Department of Veterans Affairs began assigning high-priority to older claims, and as a result, processing was finished much quicker, with faster speeding up of two-year-old claims.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been under tremendous pressure to speed up processing of claims. Back in March, the inventory was approximately 900,000. In fact, in May, the VA Secretary imposed mandatory overtime on claims examiners in order to speed up processing.