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Veterans Administration working through veterans' benefits claims

When a person leaves the military, it is sometimes necessary to seek Veterans' benefits. While that may seem like something that shouldn't involve a lot of hassle, lengthy waits and other issues often lead to difficulties for some veterans trying to get the benefits they deserve. A recent report by the Department of Veterans Affairs claims the agency is finally working through a backlog of applications. Texas veterans might like to know about what the VA is doing to speed up the process for obtaining VA benefits.

A VA secretary acknowledges that veterans shouldn't have to wait to collect the benefits they earned. He says that there is still more work to do. The VA says that the average wait is now 119 days, which is down from 282 days in March of last year. The number of claims that are awaiting processing for more than 125 days hit a high of 611,000 last year but has been reduced to 344,000. It also says the accuracy of determinations has improved from 83 percent in 2011 to 91 percent.

Part of the reason for the high numbers seen by the VA recently is the large influx of claims from veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. New claims for Agent Orange exposure have also contributed.

Appeals are also growing. There are more than 250,000 cases that are in the appeal process. It is estimated that the caseload for appeals will likely double prior to 2018.

The VA is making some changes to help alleviate the lengthy waits. More than 80 percent of disability claims are digital. That switchover began in 2009. A goal of having the backlog cleared by 2015 had lead to prioritizing older claims and processors having an "overtime surge."

For some veterans, dealing with the process causes a lot of confusion. If you are facing difficulties with getting VA benefits, seeking legal assistance might make the process easier and faster.

Source: The Washington Post, "Veterans Affairs’ backlog of claims down 44% since peaking a year ago, department says" Josh Hicks, Apr. 01, 2014

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