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VA backlog still under investigation

Readers know that facing a long waiting period is not uncommon when going through the Social Security disability application process. Because of a variety of factors, most SSDI claims tale months or more to receive an initial decision, and this can be quite frustrating for disabled Americans needing benefits immediately.

The same problem is also at play in the Veterans Administration disability benefits application process. A growing backlog of disability claims has been present in the VA system for years now. Though some improvements have been made, more clearly needs to be done. Lawmakers in the House Veterans Affairs Committee are apparently still working on figuring out what is behind the delays in disability claims.

It is the goal of the VA to have the backlog completely eliminated by next year. The agency has made attempts to reach that goal by working overtime and brining on more employees, as well as by changing which cases it puts priority and changing the application process itself.

One of the criticisms that has arisen with the VA’s approach to tackling the backlog has been that accuracy has been sacrificed in exchange for swiftness. The VA touts a 91 percent accuracy rating, but at least one veterans’ advocacy group has said that number is probably significantly lower. This, of course, is concerning for vets submitting disability applications, since it is imperative that the agency carefully consider and accurately determine the eligibility of each applicant. When this doesn’t happen, vets who qualify for benefits may not receive what is due to them.

Vets who are having trouble being approved for optimal VA benefits should know that they may also qualify for SSDI, even though the two systems utilize different eligibility standards. The wait time may not be a lot better, but once the benefits are available it can provide additional support. Putting together an application can be done by oneself, but it can help to work with an experienced SSDI attorney. 

Source: Washington Post, “House panel to examine VA’s progress with backlog of disability claims,” Josh Hicks, July 14, 2014. 

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