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Veterans waiting longer than ever for disability benefits

Disability benefits, whether through the Social Security Administration or through the Veterans Administration, are harder and harder to come by these days, it seems. For veterans, in particular, disability benefits are not available when they are needed. According to one reporter from the Center for Investigative Reporting, 900,000 veterans are waiting for benefits and that number will soon exceed one million.

Roughly 600,000 of these claims are backlogged, meaning that these veterans have been waiting for more than four months to access their benefits. On average, veterans wait 273 days to receive benefits. And unfortunately, the Obama administration has not been able to speed up the process the way it expected to.

One of the measures Obama and the Veterans Administration said it would take to solve the problem was to launch a computer program to save records electronically. The system, though, has been implemented in fewer than half of the offices. And even in those offices, it is only a small number of claims that are actually in the computer system. All in all, the electronic record system hasn't come into use yet.

Increases in applications are, of course, also part of the picture. The large number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have been returning home contributes to this, along with a greater recognition of conditions

With the number of veterans waiting more than a year having increased more than 2,000 percent, the VA most definitely has a lot of work ahead.

Source: NPR, "Veterans Face Red Tape Accessing Disability, Other Benefits," March 19, 2013

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