Veterans disability backlog shrinking rapidly

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Veterans Claims Backlog Shrinks

Since March 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs has reduced the backlog for applicants seeking veterans disability benefits by 60 percent.

Allison Hickey, VA undersecretary for benefits, made the announcement at a news conference October 30, according to FCW.

The backlog of claims now stands at about 244,000 per month, down from 611,000 per month. Claims are considered backlogged if they are more than 125 days old.

The VA’s stated goal is to eliminate the backlog by 2015.

Hickey credited the rollout of the new digitized system called the Veterans Benefit Management System, which was first launched on a limited basis in 2012, with the recent progress.

“Sometimes the federal government is known for not always delivering on IT systems in particularly good ways, but I think this is a huge success story,” Hickey said at the news conference.

From 2009 to 2013, the number of disability claims filed with the VA climbed 44 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported October 27. The amount of benefits paid out rose from $35 billion to $53 billion.

For more information on the VA’s efforts to reduce the backlog, the National Council on Disability released an extensive report on the subject in November 2013.