In 2013, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported that it
had a staggering 600,000 veteran benefits claims backlogged, waiting to
be seen and reviewed. The shocking number, attributed to a surge in new
claims from Vietnam veterans' Agent Orange claims, grabbed headlines
and spurned the agency into setting a lofty goal in 2015: to work through
its entire backlog of claims and make sure that the veterans who have
applied get the assistance they need.
new report from the Houston Chronicle details the renewed efforts by the VA to improve its efficiency and eliminate
waiting times for veteran applicants. They have reported:
- They currently has approximately 235,700 back logged claims
- The VA has processed more than a million claims a year for four years
- The Houston VA office (serving all of Texas), has reduced its total number
of standing claims by 64% since 2013
Still politicians and experts are skeptical that the VA will be able to
hit its 2015 goal. As Jim Richman, Director of Claims Representation &
Counseling for the Texas Veterans Commission told the Houston Chronicle,
achieving the proposed efficiency under the current processing system
is "science fiction."
Lingering Veterans' Benefits Issues in Texas
Despite the improvement the Houston VA office has seen since 2013, there
are serious concerns about its work and in the national system overall.
As it stands, roughly 55% of Houston's claims are 125 days or older,
which is 8% higher than the national average. To help regional offices
like Houston that receive a higher volume of claims, the VA plans to establish
a national queue that will allow other VA offices to work on both incoming
and backlogged claims from wherever they might originate.
All of these concerns about the VA benefits claims system is just more
reason why seeking legal counsel to file a claim is recommended. With
the VA working tirelessly to process as many claims as possible, there
has been worry over evaluation accuracy. As the Chronicle reports, the
new efforts to speed along the review process has also resulted in a spike
If you are a veteran who needs benefits or to appeal a VA decision on a
benefits claim, then we urge you to
contact us at
Coats & Todd today. An experienced Dallas veterans' disability lawyer is ready
to walk you through the application or appeals process and ensure that
you stand the very best chance at getting the relief you need.