Backlog of Disability Claims Reduced by 34 Percent since March, 93 Percent of Claims Over One Year Old Completed

The Department of Veterans Affairs has made significant progress in reducing the backlog of disability compensation claims – from 611,000 to 400,835 or 34 percent — since peaking in March.  Concurrently, VA improved the accuracy of disability ratings, and provided hundreds of thousands of claims decisions to Veterans who have waited the longest.

“Veterans shouldn’t have to wait for the benefits they’ve earned,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.  “This has never been acceptable, but we are executing our plans and moving in the right direction to meet our 2015 goal of eliminating the backlog.  We still have more work to do, but we are making clear progress and no one is more committed than our VBA employees, more than half of whom are Veterans themselves.” Backlog decline graph

Since the VA launched the initiative to eliminate the oldest claims first, claims processors at the 56 regional offices of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) have been focused on claims that had been waiting longer than one year.  As of Nov. 4, VBA has completed 93 percent of these older claims, resulting in over 476,000 decisions for Veterans since the initiative began on April 19.  The proportion of claims decisions that resulted in benefits being granted remained on par with historical averages—between 65 and 70 percent.

At the same time, the accuracy of rating decisions has improved.  The three-month average for decision accuracy when evaluating a complete claim file is 90 percent — a 5 percentage point improvement since 2011, and a 7 percentage point improvement since 2010.  The three-month average accuracy for rating individual medical conditions inside each claim has climbed three points to 96.7 percent since December 2012.

For more information, read the entire Department of Veterans Affairs press release here.

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24 Comments to “Backlog of Disability Claims Reduced by 34 Percent since March, 93 Percent of Claims Over One Year Old Completed”

  1. Robert James Klima says:

    I would suggest that you run all your claims thru Milwaukee, where Ebenizer Schrooge and his compatirots will deny them and cut back the backlog very quickly.

  2. Ronald F. Spano says:

    I think it’s admirable that the VA is catching up with their backlog of claims. The problem with the VA is hat it’s a bureaucratic mess. I’ve applied for disability and was rejected. I appealed and was also rejected. It was a long drawn out waste of time. The VA does not put the veteran first!

  3. I think it’s admirable that the VA is catching up with their backlog of claims. The problem with the VA is hat it’s a bureaucratic mess. I’ve applied for disability and was rejected. I appealed and was also rejected. It was a long drawn out waste of time. The VA does not put the veteran first!

  4. ernest womack says:

    Its been almost 2 yrs for mine, i have not heard anything.

  5. jeff burum says:

    The statistics are unbelievable. I had a claim over a year old and it got moved to complrted with no processing done. I have called about it, it was acknowedged as inexpicable, but yet it was not movedcto in process.

  6. Robert Moore says:

    Been 19 months for my claim. And just looked online and now says going to be another 17 months…..3 years really?

  7. Mori Fils says:

    Everytime you Guys say that your making headway you Deni alot of people like real fast. Makes one wounder what the Hell is going on. Please explain

  8. bruce j iannello says:

    My name is Bruce James Iannello, my claim number is. I have been appealing my claim for 14 YEARS with no success. I just read your e-mail dated 11-7-13 about reducing disability claims by 34% since March, 93% of claims over one year old completed. I probably will not get a response from this e-mail. Apparently I am in the 7% of claims over a year old that the VA seems not to care about, but I will not give up or stop appealing my claim.

  9. Bob says:

    Whatever VA puts out for releases about reducing backlogs – don’t believe it! Three different times in the last 3 years Waco has lost, misplaced and only partially pay me on my awards. Each time my claim had to be restarted. Not only does this cause unnecessary work, but also increases my retroactive award – talk about reducing cost!

    The one saving grace is the Texas Veterans Commission who have a 100 representatives trying to work with VA in processing claims. As with VA they are very protective of their little domains and TVC has been chastised for trying to resolve issues.

  10. Jerry Kortes says:

    I have been waiting since September 14 2010 when my original claim was filed. My claim for diabetes was denied and I appealled, since I had flown in and out of Vietnam for 4 years. 1964 – 1967. Still waiting.

  11. Of the 476000 decision,(476000 x .30) does that mean there is 142800 new claims to the board of veterans appeals? If so, is it true the board is three years behind at this point in time?, what will this do to the BVA time lines?.

  12. John Ensch says:

    They are reducing the claims all right, by denying them.

  13. Ed in AZ says:

    How are the thousands “Statements of Claim (SOC)” going to be addressed. Need the SOC to move on to the appeal. Most of us have waiting over 2 years and nothing form the RO’s. Who is tracking the SOC’s?

  14. Lambda5555m says:

    I really doubt that there has been such an uptick in the accuracy of the VA Disability Ratings. Given my almost 10-year journey to get my records corrected because the VA just disregards the information I give them and just deny my claim. They tell me to go away and not bother them because they have made their decisions and they are final. Well, if the had made the RIGHT decisions, I would go away, but they have denied so many times, even though I provided the information, that it gets to the point where you want to go “why bother?” but I am not giving up. There are other venues that can be used to include the media and while the VA has made great strides, the inaccurate ratings even though I am at 100% is shameful. They completely ignore the information I have given them in the form of a fully developed claim. There are claims that were denied that are service-connected, failure of the Army and the VA to properly diagnose and treat me, as well as their attitude of we gave you blah, blah, blah. I should have had the 100% rating years ago after I got off of active duty. The Army denied me a disability retirement and I am going back after it, and the VA denied many claims I made even though they know they are wrong. Just ask them the qualifications and training of their employees reviewing your claims and ask to meet with them. They say no to both because I have asked and did a FOIA to request the info, but they just say no. Well, I say no to their claim of having such a high accuracy rate. I flat out don’t believe it. I am just one example of them not rating mine accurately for years and finally got a few where they need to be, but they won’t give me the others because they would have to pay me retroactively, because it is their error, they just won’t admit to it. Maybe one day they will get it straight? If I were to get a 100% Disability Retirement from the Army, would the VA give me 100% Disability too? NO!!! Of course not. It’s because it costs too much. The Army didn’t want to give me and other disability retirements and the VA doesn’t want to admit that there are so many disabiities that I have and they were from active duty because they would have to pay out retroactively since it would be their mistake. They lied to my Senator and told him that one particular medical condition wasn’t in my medical records and it was. This was a serious medical condition and yet they just either don’t want to let me claim it or they just want to ignore it since it shows the incompetentency of the VA. Kind of goes along with the…

  15. Anthony J. DeCarlo says:

    Veterans should not be denied benefits they’ve earned by a culture based on denying or reducing benefits if at all possible. It is unconscionable that veterans should have to hire lawyers to get benefits that had been previously been denied.

  16. Frederick j Scheffler says:

    Yes…the VA can claim that 93% of the claims over one year were”cleared”. It makes a great press release for Public Relations purposes.
    The real story was that Claims were cleared by issuing”Provisional Decisions” putting Veterans back into a queue that may last a lot longer than the period already waited.

    In my case the Raters issued decisions cited a QTC examination that had not YET BEEN PROVIDED TO THE VA RATER.
    The “RATER” claimed that medical records in the possession of the VA had been reviewed . FALSE.

    A VA medical determination of service connection was made and in the medical record BEFORE application for benefits and WAS NEVER reviewed. Yet a “RATER” stated there was “NO EVIDENCE” and cited an exam that had never been reviewed because it had not yet been provided. The exam was conducted 3 days BEFORE the “Provisional” rating was issued. It was not completed until 21 days AFTER the PROVISIONAL rating was issued.
    The RATER cited both the EXAM and “evidence in possession of the VA.

    FALSE.

    NEITHER OF THESE WERE TRUE.

    The facts?
    Determination of SERVICE CONNECTION was cited in my Medical record months before the application.
    A QTC exam was conducted and HAD NOT been provided to the VA at the time of the “RATING”decision.

    A PROVISIONAL decision that “cleared” the backlog by requiring me to “appeal” the PROVISIONAL decision with medical evidence …ALREADY arrived at by VA medical personnel and already in my records.
    This is not unique. The story is repeated across the nation and should be the topic of an investigation by the VA IG
    Many Vietnam Veterans have voiced the opinion that the VA strategy is to DENY Vietnam Veterans long enough that they will die off and the VA can “close” the file. I am active in Veterans advocacy with the American Legion and it would be a serious breach of TRUST if Veterans cannot trust the VA because some of the best medical care in the country is available at the VA. The medical staff are dedicated and genuinely committed to the well being and interests of Veterans. I cannot say enough good things about them.
    It ends there.
    The bureaucracy of the VA..not the medical arm…has proven that they are just that…bureaucrats…. without any concern for their actions. They will never be fired…they will NEVER be called up for their actions. Regrettably… it is the VETERANS who pay the price for this and this does not bode well for future Veterans.

  17. joseph grove says:

    Waited nearly a year. Submitted all papers no special exam was requested. Nor did they read all papers showing that my sc caused me to miss 3 months of work. Only paid for 1 month of temp 100%. Then I had sent a letter of disagreement. Now waiting close to another year I guess. Hurry up and wait government never changes. Look good on paper who cares if we get it wrong.

  18. Richard johnson says:

    The people reading the claims Are using some personal reason to turn down lots of claims. stop merit awards and performance awards because this is one of the main problems of the backlog reasonable doubt and clear and on mystic mobile era these problems need to be addressed.

  19. Richard johnson says:

    I meant clear and unmistakable era And reasonable doubt

  20. Melvina love says:

    My husband, Frank love has a compensation claim submitted. And today Nov 12, 2013 his claim is at 377 days with no movement. His ebenefits has his claim in gathering of evidence phase since April. He’s clearly passed the St petersburge ave. I would like to know if his claim will be completed any time soon.

  21. Walter Kirsten says:

    Ref: Agent Orange claim – made abt 2009, all relevent info submitted , several qualified medical conditions related to agent orange. Pittsburgh VA denied twice. They forwarded this to D.C. in 2011. Now it’s in limbo. They say they are trying to “catch up” I guess they’re
    waiting for us all to die of old age. All this “honor the veteran” stuff sounds like more political correctness to me.

  22. Johnny T. says:

    I get the backlog bit. There are a lot of veterans and there are a lot of claims. I just hope the modus operandi for dealing with the overage is not ‘deny everybody everything’. For the way things are set up within the VA based on what I’ve seen, of course things move at the speed of government; but with any luck whatever new strategy has been implemented to deal with the requests is both efficient and not just because the VA is writing claims off. We can harp all day about how veterans deserve it – that’s rarely up for debate – but providing the services to deliver these benefits is a ridiculously complicated process and the VA’s pace is the result of processes which need overhauling, not necessarily the people within it.

  23. Andrew C says:

    I greatly appreciate all the VA is doing to speed things up, particularly now that we have just created a new batch of disabled veterans that will seriously need the help.

    But, I have to be a bit more concerned with my own situation as well. See, I’m a 70% disabled veteran with Individual Unemployability who has been without income for 5 1/2 years due to a mistake (I’m choosing to believe it was a simple mistake) made by the state of Tx. One year ago last September, I discovered that they fixed their mistake 3 years before (so, just over 4 years ago now) and immediately started trying to get the situation resolved and get my income back. My claim was filed, the paperwork turned in, everything done… And I’m sitting here, in Prague, with no income and seeing the words “…unable to provide an estimate…” on the va.gov site for over a year.

    I’m living in Prague, Czech Republic with my Czech fiancee and I am completely dependent on her. I can not work and I don’t have my disability, so she works a job she despises to take care of us both, but it doesn’t pay well enough to get me/us back to the US to try to deal with this in person. So I call, I write, I log into the main site, I contact my VA Rep… Nothing. To be perfectly honest, I’d *almost* prefer to log in or call and find that my claim had somehow been denied and I had to start over, just so I could feel that something had been done.

    Any word on how long it might take to get around to claims like mine?