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Backlog for VA disability claims on the decline nationwide

Published on August 16th, 2013

Whether you’re an advocate of supporting military veterans or not, there is no denying that a person disabled while in service of their country deserves to receive benefits. But as some of our readers here in Illinois know, this has not been happening for some veterans for more than a year because of a backlog in disability claims.

Just like the backlog for the Social Security Administration, disability claims for veterans can sometimes take longer than a year before any headway is made in the application process. As a result, disabled vets across the nation are suffering from debilitating illnesses and physical conditions without financial help from needed benefits. But according to President Obama recently at a Disabled American Veterans’ convention, this backlog is slowly being reduced.

The president recently put pressure on the Department of Veterans Affairs to help clear the backlog, especially on claims that have been pending for more than a year. Despite government budget cuts, the president’s plan will allow for overtime in order to process more disability claims. All VA employees who currently process disability claims will be required to work at least 20 hours a month through September to help clear the backlog.

Though the president is putting emphasis on clearing the backlog, he has been careful not to say that all applications will be approved. This means that some applicants, including some here in Illinois, may have to appeal their claim down the road. It’s unknown though whether President Obama’s plan to offer overtime will be applied to the potential backlog that could be created by these subsequent appeals.

Source: The Washington Post, “Obama says VA has reduced backlog of disability claims,” Josh Hicks, Aug. 12, 2013

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