VA Hiring Thousands More Claims Processors
When it comes to claims for veterans benefits, there is always a backlog. It’s hard to hire and train employees to help reduce this influx of claims and keep the process moving smoothly. That will hopefully change soon, as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is planning to hire more claims processors.
Leaders are hoping to bring on more than 2,000 processors to handle these claims as they deal with a huge spike in cases. Without more employees, the backlog will reach its highest levels in seven years.
There are thousands of staff members who will be forced to work overtime to trim down the backlog. The VA also has funding from the coronavirus pandemic to help alleviate the backlog.
But even by hiring many more employees, veterans need to be patient. The backlog won’t disappear overnight. In fact, it could take more than two years to bring the number of claims back to pre-pandemic levels. However, veterans should not be worried. They should still file claims as usual, and the sooner, the better.
A backlog refers to claims pending for more than four months. As of September, that number was at 208,000. That’s nearly three times the number of claims from before the pandemic started in early 2020.
So what’s causing this backlog? First of all, many VA offices closed after the pandemic last year. Also, several court cases expanded veterans benefits in certain situations. For example, veterans who suffered medical conditions due to exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War were able to receive additional benefits. This increased the number of claims, putting more pressure on an already backlogged VA system.
Plus, another backlog spike is coming. The backlog will exceed 260,000 claims by the end of October, as 70,000 new claims reach the four-month mark. These claims are related to new benefit rules for Parkinsonism, hypothyroidism, and bladder cancer.
While it may seem as though the VA is in bad shape when it comes to processing claims in a timely manner, the good news is that employees are processing these claims at record rates. In 2013, the backlog was at 600,000 claims, and it is not expected that the backlog will reach those numbers anytime soon. At that time, thousands of cases were in the system for years without being reviewed.
Learn More About Veterans Benefits
Claims for veterans benefits do not always get approved quickly due to a backlog. There are simply not enough people to get these claims reviewed, leaving veterans scrambling to make ends meet.
If you’re a veteran, you need as much help as possible to get your claim approved timely, as this may be your only source of income. Seek legal help from White Plains veterans disability benefits attorney Michael Lawrence Varon. We know the ins and outs of the claims process and know what to do to help you obtain benefits quickly. To schedule a free consultation with our office, fill out the online form or call 914-294-2145 today.