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Understanding the practical consequences of the VA backlog

Last month, we discussed some good news that was recently been announced by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Specifically, we noted that the VA's backlog of disability benefits claims has been minimized by 44 percent since March of 2013. While this is a welcome development, we also noted that 344,000 claims remain stalled in the veterans disability application process for a period greater than 125 days.

When a disability claim gets mired in the VA's backlog, the veteran waiting for his or her benefits can be impacted significantly by the delay. Approximately seven years ago, the Defense Department reformed the VA disability system. These reforms were intended to ensure that injured service veterans receive their disability benefits promptly and properly within a month of leaving the service. However, these reforms have not been smoothly implemented, nor has the VA resolved a significant backlog of claims from disabled veterans who left service some time ago.

When a veteran applies for disability, he or she does so because a debilitating condition is significantly impacting his or her ability to work and function in a healthy way. As a result, it is either difficult or impossible for some veterans to work, find stable housing and provide for themselves without these benefits. When they are forced to wait for months on end before receiving their benefits, the consequences of this kind of delay can be devastating.

If you or a loved one is concerned about a time delay affecting your VA disability benefits application, please contact an attorney experienced in this particular process. He or she may be able to help resolve whatever is holding up your particular claim.

Source: The New Tribune, "Soldiers stuck in backlogged disability system can't go forward, can't go back", Adam Ashton, April 13, 2014  

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