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VA backlog creates long waits for disability benefits

For Texas veterans, there is all the more reason to file for disability benefits as soon as possible. Qualifying applicants are waiting nearly nine months for their claims to be completes, according to watchdog groups. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary promised to decrease VA benefits backlog by 2015, as the agency is working toward a completely digital system.

The current number of days is 262, an increase over even the month of August in 2012, and up from 223 in October of 2011. Though the agency has been up-front about the backlog, calling the issue "unacceptable," the backlog has continued to grow. An explanation for this is what the VA considers "claims growth," affected by four factors: increased demand after 10 years of war in which the injuries are severe and complex, the new addition of medical conditions from Agent Orange and Gulf War Sickness, and increased outreach to educate veterans on the available benefits. The fourth factor comes from 45 percent of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans applying for compensation from their injuries, which has proven to be a historical high following any war.

As our loved ones get older, these injuries from their time in the service can become more difficult to accommodate without financial help. Applying as soon as possible for these VA benefits can help to decrease the amount of time that person may be without income or needed benefits. Though the backlog continues to grow, hopefully it will begin to lessen as the digitization effort is completed.

For families in need of assistance applying for benefits like VA benefits, seeking the assistance of an experienced elder care attorney can help to present options and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to receive the help they need.

Source: US News, "Disability-compensation claims for veterans lag as 'VA backlog' worsens," Bill Briggs, Dec. 4, 2012

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