The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is currently grappling with a significant surge in claims, affecting the processing time and quality of service provided to our esteemed veterans.
As a firm deeply involved with helping veterans navigate VA disability benefits, we feel it’s important to share insights on this situation and provide guidance on what can be done to navigate these challenges.
Increased Workload for VA Claims Processors
The VA has seen an unprecedented rise in the number of claims, especially following the introduction of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act) in 2022.
This act greatly expanded the parameters for what can be considered as causes for toxic exposure, providing a pathway for many veterans who served in various capacities, from Vietnam to the Gulf War, to claim health benefits more straightforwardly.
While this has been a significant win for our veterans’ community, it has also led to a massive influx of new claims, numbering over 950,000 since the PACT Act became law.
The Resulting Strain on VA Resources
The VA’s internal resources and workforce, already under considerable pressure, have been further strained by this increase.
While the VA has hired over 6,000 new claims processors this year, this hasn’t completely offset the challenges.
Experienced staff departures through retirement or resignations continue to be a concern, with around 500 claims processors leaving in 2023 alone.
This turnover, combined with the added workload, has inevitably led to delays in claim processing.
According to the VA’s data, there are nearly 300,000 claims that have remained unresolved for more than 125 days.
Navigating the Delays – What Can You Do to Help Yourself?
- Stay Informed: Regularly check the status of your claim through the VA’s online portal or contact our firm for updates. Knowledge of the process can help set expectations.
- Gather Comprehensive Documentation: Ensure that all necessary medical records, service records, and other relevant documents are readily available and in order. This can expedite the review once your claim is addressed.
- Consider Professional Assistance: Working with a knowledgeable VA disability law firm can help you navigate the complexities and ensure that your claim is as robust as possible.
- Patience and Understanding: Recognize that the current delays are systemic and not a reflection of any particular attorney’s efficiency or commitment. While it can be frustrating, understanding the broader challenges can help in managing expectations.
In conclusion, while the VA faces its challenges in timely claim processing, it’s important for veterans to be informed and proactive.
Being prepared and understanding the broader context can help ease some of the frustrations associated with the wait.
Want to learn how the claims process works? Check out our free ebook.
If you are considering filing an initial claim, or even if you are interested in learning about the appeals process, we offer a free ebook to get you started on the right foot!
The Road to VA Compensation Benefits will help break down the claims process from start to finish. Click the link below to learn more.
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