The absurd backlog of disability claims facing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is no secret and as such, the VA is constantly searching for a solution. The newest suggested solution is that the VA go completely paperless. The problem plaguing the VA is just how to go about eliminating the overwhelming amount of paperwork in order to go 100% electronic.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has given the VA until 2012 to solve this problem. 2012 is when the electronic claims processing system is set to make its debut. VA estimates place the amount of backlogged disability claims at approximately 2.6 million by 2015 if the system is not corrected.
The current wait time on the processing of a veteran’s disability claim is around 5 months. Disability claims from Iraq and Afghanistan require approximately 6 to 12 hours per claim. At the same time, the VA is plagued with complaints about both lost paperwork and flat out inaccuracy.
The severe limitations of the current system requires paperwork being shipped all over the country if more than one person needs to review a veteran’s disability claim. Under an electronic system, the veteran’s claim could be viewed by several people in several locations at once, should the need arise.
Last October Secretary Shinseki allowed veterans suffering from service-related illnesses due to exposure to Agent Orange to receive compensation. This means the VA could face potentially 200,000 new disability claims. Beyond that, Secretary Shinseki is also forcing the VA to take second looks at previously rejected claims from Gulf War Veterans.
The new electronic system will cut claims processing times by approximately 70%. Once the VA figures out how to make the transition, everything else will hopefully fall into place and the VA’s massive backlog will begin to be chipped away.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.