I attended the Spring Conference of National Organization of Veteran’s Advocates (NOVA). One of the speakers was the Director of Disability Compensation. His sole focus was convincing us that the backlog problem was getting better. Not so fast!
Just last week, the VA sadly reported that the claims within his division, disability compensation, had increased by about 1,400 claims. This means that there are nearly 142,000 veterans in the backlog. “Backlog” is defined as a claim waiting more than 125 days for a decision.
One thing the Director mentioned was the re-organization of “Silos.” By silo, he meant a Regional Office. Claims go to one of several regional offices. Some receive more claims than others. Some have more claims than they can handle; others do not. After decades, the VA finally allowed overworked silos to transfer claim files to underworked silos. Brilliant. Geez!
The Director also brought good news. Introducing and perfecting automation and computerization of claims is a top priority. The eBenefits project is a great example.
The VA has more work to do. To end the backlog, the VA must reduce the number of backlogged claims by about 3,400 per week. More bad news is that the number of appeals increased to 305,000 veterans now waiting for a decision.