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VA experiencing jumps in appeals and backlog

Over the past several weeks, we have written numerous times about the scandal currently plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans are understandably outraged about the delays in care that they have experienced at a number of VA health facilities nationwide. However, veterans are also currently grappling with a host of other challenges related to the VA operations that must be dealt with as urgently and appropriately as the care delays should.

For example, a number of veterans are being impacted by the ways that the VA is processing applications for veterans disability benefits. While the VA had been making progress on its backlog of these initial claims, its progress has slowed considerably in regards to certain aspects of the process. For example, The Wall Street Journal reports that the VA has recently experienced a 60 percent spike in outstanding appeals of initially denied claims.

While it is important to address the VA’s backlog of initial claims, it is also critical to address the speed with which the VA addresses appeals of claims which are initially denied. Oftentimes, these claims are only denied in their initial phases due to processing errors or missing information on the initial application. Simply because a vet’s application has been initially denied does not mean that he or she does not both deserve and urgently need access to benefits.

It is important to remember as the care delay scandal drags on that other VA-related issues are currently affecting the nation’s vets. Failure to address these issues can impact vets just as much as some delays in care can.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Jump in Appeals Dog the VA's Progress on Disability Claims,” Ben Kesling, July 7, 2014

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