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Robert Longley

VA Hopes to Speed Benefit Claims Processing

By February 22, 2012

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Veterans Day ObservationIn its fiscal year 2013 budget request, the Veterans Administration (VA) says that about 60% of claims for benefits filed by veterans take more than 125 days to process. Many veterans say it often actually takes much longer than 125 days. Maybe the $2.164 billion the VA is requesting for improved benefits processing will help.

According to the VA, the $2.164 billion is $145 million more than it is spending on claims processing now and will be used to speed-up the process by increasing staff, improving its business practices and applying information technology enhancements.

High on the list of those technology enhancements will be an expansion of the VA's eBenefits service which allows servicemembers, veterans and their families to apply for benefits online.

The VA hopes that by the end of 2013, that 60% rate of claims taking more than 125 days to process can be reduced to less than 40 percent.

Why so slow? The main reason it takes the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) so long to process benefit claims is that there are simply so many of them. During fiscal year 2013, the VBA expects to receive about 1,250,000 claims for veterans disability benefits alone, about 4% more than 1.2 million expected this fiscal year.

According to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, claims for disability benefits from veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan average 8.5 different disabilities per veteran, nearly double the rate claimed by veterans of earlier wars. Since each disability claimed by each veteran requires the VBA to consider evidence, such as medical or military personnel records, the increased workload for VBA employees results in slower processing times.

See: Outsourcing: Has the VA Gone AWOL on Hiring Veterans?

Of course, disability compensation is just one of many benefits for which veterans might apply. A report from the VA's Office of Inspector General shows that during fiscal year 2008, approximately 3.2 million claimants received veteran's compensation benefits totaling about $36 billion.

The VA's total budget request for fiscal year 2013 is $140.3 billion, an increase of $2.7 billion or about 4.5% over 2012. The 2013 VA budget request includes $64 billion in discretionary funds, mostly for medical care, and $76 billion for mandatory funds, mostly for disability compensation and pensions.

"As we turn the page on a decade of war, we are poised at an historic moment for our Nation's armed forces," VA Secretary Shinseki said. "The President has charged VA to keep faith with those who served when they rejoin civilian life."

Also See:
Tax Credits: Getting Veterans Back to Work
GAO says VA Failing Homeless Women Veterans
VA Details Plan to End Veteran Homelessness

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Comments

February 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm
(1) Robert says:

I’m just wondering why we (VA) are telling veteran we are going to work claims faster, while letting 100 day old dependency claims stay pending, while we work ebenefits claims that are, for example, 9 days old? Being a veteran, and VA employee….what are we doing? I connot beleive congress and our leadership have promised such an unsermountable task to our nations veterans. Just be honest…and let everyone know why we are soo behind is the amount of claims ( to include frivolous claims). The VA is trying to jugle too many balls at once, and too worried about #’s (oh I’m sorry, veterans).

February 24, 2012 at 7:00 am
(2) Just Saying says:

We filed 3 years ago and our case is still pending.

February 25, 2012 at 9:29 am
(3) Donna says:

Regarding “Robert’s” remarks: You, my friend, are one of the reasons the claims are so slow in processing. I can’t believe the numerous spelling errors and grammatical errors in your short message. And you will be the one processing claims involving complex medical issues? Let’s get real here: It took me over 15 months of submitting expert medical reports to even get the the VA to look at my relative’s claim. After getting DAV and American Legion involved in this that relative is now rated 100% unemployable, and said relative was injured in Vietnam conflict. The man should have been receiving benefits long before this time, but had to wait for the VA to “acknowledge” such injuries at TBI in order for anyone to even consider there was a problem. And this is how we thank those individuals who are willing to go into harm’s way for us?

February 28, 2012 at 12:16 am
(4) earl comins says:

I was a combat medic with almost 14 years and my claim began in 1986. 26 years for me so far. It is still pending. I know veterans who have been waiting longer. It is an unofficial policy of the VBA to delay and deny until the veteran gives up or dies. A claim closed because the veteran dies or commits suicide before the VA gives them any benefits is considered a positive outcome. I personnaly know four veterans that have commited suicide while still having open claims.

October 20, 2012 at 11:17 am
(5) Steve says:

Although I applaud the VA for “improving” the process with E benefits, the system is useless. The breakdown in the system lies in the lack of communication with the customer. Most claims such as my simple dependency claim could be solved by a simple phone call, a fax and a caring representative that would listen.

November 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm
(6) chuck says:

How in the world can it be done? You ask any Veteran if he or she feels satisfied with the VA. Sure they will say no, but the VA expects this anyways. The VA feels the Veterans can care less if they make improvements. The VA thinks the Veterans look for all the bad in the VA, and never look at the good the VA tries to overcome. When I read news articles like the one printed in Oct. 2012, about how the VA spent 100 million on lavish meetings, conferences, and other things. The Congressional hearing which the VA was asked to bring up a list of the spending’s on the money has not happened as of today. One has to wonder when, where, and how it is these claims will get completed.

Some VRS’S do the best they can to help the veteran, and the more they tries to help the more it seems a VA rep will take longer on a claim out of spite. The VA Secretary tries to make lies for them, but he is just another Gov. Employee like the others. I have heard all I can take from the VA. Lying, deceit, and abandonment for the heroes of America. Can someone tell me if the VA actually hires veterans as managers? I just cannot sit back and see another veteran allowing these claims to pile up like this.

February 7, 2013 at 10:30 am
(7) Carolyn says:

The head of the VA needs to step down and take his worker bees with him. He was chosen for the position because he stood out and could handle the job. Do these Gov employees get to work by a different set of rules? If indeed he was so smart then why does he not think outside the box and see all the figures in front of him that state …get ready with a plan for claims will increase. How come he gets to just say, well we had many many more claims than expected?????????????? Someone needs to head the cold claim files and give these Veterans their benefits.

February 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm
(8) Larry A. Gombos says:

The dependency claim delay solution is simple. Rather than open a new dependency claim after the initial rating decision, redesign the claim form to include dependent information and process both claims at the same time when dependency compensation is indicated. It should be possible to verify dendency information through DEERS. In addition to vets getting their entitlement sooner, the VA’s workload should decrease.

April 12, 2013 at 2:25 am
(9) dd214 says:

I have been under so many lies with military before i even got out and they didnt give a sht whether we vets or myself get the right things done…….I got out in 87 and now its 2013……I just got my disability last year raised from 10% to 70% and still havnt got what i deserve and i think the V A doctors and V A regional offices and all the higher up places work together…….thats what it must be for sure, so the GOVT even screws us all out of more money to and all of us disabled vets should be getting way more money also……….you all know this to……..I never did give up, but almost did before…..Im getting so tired of it all……sometimes i just know that one day hopefully before i get to old and eventually die that I can get what i deserve or well at least get the 100% disability……….look at how much things cost ……when your disabled so bad and cant work then wtf is the govt thinking and not paying way more to us vets………its all a big mess and has been also social security and it’s all a big rip off……………..so as we always say us americans well at least you got something …………..yah something?????………..what a big ass joke……..I was even lied to in military…………….ok thats good for now cya…………………….

April 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm
(10) Rob says:

I have had an active claim that just started “Review of Evidence” stage. These claims have been active for one year. The biggest problem with the VA is they higher people are not qualified to process claims because they are never trained. Look at the LA processing center that was shut down for two months so the staff could be trained. Its an never ending story with the VA. They promise faster claims but if you send the more evidence then you claim file is moved to the bottom of the stack. They LIE big time. And all those TV Ads are so wrong because they have lied. If the VA would do their jobs on the medical side of things many people wouldn’t be in the situation they are in. I have DDD in my WHOLE SPINE. If they would just do surgery on my cervical spine to correct the pinched nerves I wouldn’t even bother filing a claim for radiculopathy. I have been having these issues for 31/2 years and the VA hasn’t done one treatment accept to give me meds that don’t help one bit.

April 18, 2013 at 2:42 pm
(11) Rob says:

BTW IMOs will always trump any C&P examiner because the VA uses PAs and Nurse Practitioners to conduct C&P exams. Really think about that for a minute. PAs and NPs are not specialists and they do C&P exams on people’s spines or some other area. They 99% of the time deny people because their “journals” doesn’t say this or that is a progression of an injury when in fact medical journal do say it does.

April 25, 2013 at 9:57 pm
(12) lattie says:

VA is taking to long for all of the vets, I have been waiting on mine for 10 years and it just blows my mind as if it took the private market that long, boy what a mess the insurances companies would be in.

May 16, 2013 at 7:06 pm
(13) VSO .... says:

.I work for a VSO, and to be quite honest. I say about 90 percent of these veterans that come in to our office are filing claims just for the hell of it. I had a guy come in today who wanted to file a claim for his eyes, I said whats wrong with your eyes? he says “they got worse” (while wearing glasses), mind you he’s been out for 10 years. So I say what are you service connected for ? he says back 10%. So i explain to him that Uncle sam is only going to compensate you for injuries or aggravations to pre-existing injuries that occurred in service. he says i dont care i still want to file for my eyes. <—— this guy right here!, is the reason why the VA is backed up. SO PLEASE STOP BLAMING THE VA. Because the real ppl that should be blamed are your so-called veterans.
STOP FILING FRIVOLOUS CLAIMS

START FILING THROUGH EBENEFITS!

FILE FDC CLAIMS THEY TAKE 3-6 MONTHS FOR A DECISION
BUT YOU MUST SUBMIT ALL EVIDENCE AT THE SAME TIME.

FOR VETS THAT GET A FAVORABLE DECISION AFTER DEATH, LEAVE THE PROCEEDS TO A FAMILY MEMBER IN A WILL – DUH
ITS BETTER THAN THE VA KEEPIN IT RIGHT?

thats the cure to the back up

ps not a day goes by (with the exception of the weekend) that i dont hear this line:
"Whats the worst they can do, deny me?" SMH

May 31, 2013 at 9:01 am
(14) Terry says:

It’s been 2 years since i filed and have requested 3 inquiries with not 1 response. The VA has spent all this time and money on eBenefits which provides inaccurate information even after numerous calls to tell them.

The VA is a total joke and ALL veterans with claims over 1 year old should continuously send a copy of their claim and a letter to the White House (monthly) asking the President to do something about it until their claims are completed. If the White House received millions of claims every month maybe they just might get on the VA’s butt to do something about it!

May 31, 2013 at 6:43 pm
(15) James Huggins says:

The VA has a back log of claims because it’s job security. Most of the claims go around in a circle and and don’t get resolved for years. My claim for a PTSD increase and Unemployability was out there 3 years, before being denyed. I waited a year for an appeal hearing and on the day of the hearing (after waiting 3 hours) the DAV rep. came out and told me the judge said there was ‘no need of a hearing’ and he could make a decision without talking to me. That was not the truth !!!! He sent it back to the local office that denied it originally , and of course it was denied again. Even thought the VA doctor and 2 other Drs. said in writing that I could not work. It was denied because a nurse said I could do work setting down. The VA is out of control !!!!! Dumb things like this is what causes the so called ‘back log’. I was not allowed Due Process or Benefit of the Doubt. Hired an attorney.

March 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm
(16) John Q. Public says:

We should have all showed up for service the same way the resources are being allocated and managed to handle veterans claims. Can you imagine? “Form it up men!!!!” And one or two men trickle in while the CO is told that the rest of the men are in PENDING status and should arrive in 125 days!

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