I received a note from Rick Maze over at Military Times this morning commenting on an assertion I made here that things might be improving for veterans’ benefits claims over at the VA. Maze, who took the time to note he’s “only been covering military and veterans issues for three decades,” says that things are getting worse over at VA in terms of processing veterans’ benefits claims.
The raw numbers he provides are these:
– November 2010: VA had 744,000 claims waiting to be processed with 235,000 delayed to over 125 days.
– November 2011: VA had 868,000 claims awaiting processing of which 531,000 had been in the stack for over 125 days.
So in 2010 the percentage of VA benefits claims waiting longer than the VA’s own goal of 125 days was just under 32%; in 2011 it was 61%.
There are a number of possible reasons for the backlog: among them, the huge influx of claims arriving for Agent Orange-related problems; the number of PTSD-related claims pouring in to the system following the July 2010 rule-change on documentation; the sheer number of returning veterans from OEF and OIF. For the record, I am an OEF veteran and my PTSD case took 470 days to conclude.
But regardless of the reasons, the result is that hundreds of thousands of veterans are stuck in Limboland and the lines are only getting longer.
Thanks for the correction, Rick.