Increase in Veterans’ Disability Claims Stress Doctors
Published October 16, 2014
According to experts, an increase in disability benefits claims by veterans over the past 5 years, has led to a tremendous strain on the ability of doctors to evaluate these claims, contributing to a tremendous backlog and slower processing of claims.
Between fiscal 2009 and 2013, the Veterans Benefits Administration estimates that the number of disability claims it received spiked by 44%. During the same year of time, there was no corresponding increase in the number of doctors, who were brought in to evaluate the claims. The number of doctors during the same period only increased by about 22%.
That means that there are fewer doctors who are being placed under increasing strain and pressure, when they are required to evaluate an ever increasing number of claims. The number of veterans’ disability claims that are being filed is growing at a pace that seems to be too high for the Veterans Benefits Administration to handle.
This has dramatically slowed down the processing of claims. According to one report released last year by the Government Accountability Office, veterans’ disability claims increased by 29% between 2009 and 2011. However, even though more number of claims were filed, the agency only managed to process 6% more number of claims. That has meant a much heavier claims backlog, and tremendous pressure on the system.
The increased number of claims has also meant that each claim that is filed gets less and less attention as the number of cases balloons. Insiders at the Veterans Department of Veterans Affairs say that it is simply not possible to whet each claim as stringently and strictly as earlier, because of the increasing influx of claims.