Wait Times for Veteran Claims Still Woefully Slow, Says Veterans Disability Attorney
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) October 9, 2012 - While the official U.S. policy is to support disabled veterans with medical care, financial support and retraining, the support they receive is less than timely.
Veterans located in Northern California, for example, wait, on average, more than nine months for war-related disability claims filed with their regional VA office. Meanwhile, vets who live in Nebraska or North Dakota receive their benefits sooner than those who live in Atlanta, Chicago or New York. Geographic inequity has been found to be rampant in lower-populated areas, according to a report by The Bay Citizen and the Center for Investigative Reporting.
"Everyone agrees that we need to do a better job supporting our veterans when they return home," says veterans disability lawyer James Fausone. "It's no surprise that the entire system is painfully overloaded, but knowing that doesn’t help get disability support into the hands of our vets."
On average, the Office of Veterans Affairs takes more than eight months to process a claim, and despite protestations of improved processes, a new $300 million computer system, and more than 3,000 claims processors hired in the past two years, the wait time is only increasing: The Bay Citizen reports it takes 50 percent longer to have a claim processed in 2012 than in 2011.
The new computer system has been placed in only four VA offices; claims are still on paper, in files, and must be handed from office to office and onto a claims representative's desk to be processed. Meanwhile, veterans in both New York and North Texas are waiting, on average more than 12 months. An appeal filed on a denied claim, the report states, can take as long as three-and-one-half years for resolution.
While the VA has publicly pledged to process all backlogged claims by 2015, the number of vets waiting is only growing. As of the end of this July, there were more than 907,000 claims, with 832,000 individuals waiting on disability or survivor benefits, and thousands waiting on pension or GI Bill education benefits. The agency reports that new claims filed annually have increased by 48 percent, though the number of new claims representatives has increased by only 5 percent.
The Bay Citizen has posted an online interactive map to help vets find out the wait times in store for them, based on their location. The map information updates weekly and can be accessed at http://www.baycitizen.org/veterans/interactive/map-disabled-vets-stuck-backlog-limbo.
James G. Fausone is a Veterans disability attorney and Veterans attorney with Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC. To learn more or to contact a Veterans disability attorney or Veterans attorney call 1.800.693.4800 or visit http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com.
Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800
- Viral Facebook photos of veterans in ER prompt investigation of VA hospital
A Facebook post showing photos of one wheelchair-bound veteran slumping over in pain and another lying on the floor at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital have gone viral online. The post has triggered an internal investigation into the facility’s practices. A couple waiting in the emergency room at the Durham VA Medical Center […]
- Veteran’s suicide in VA parking lot highlights shortcomings of disability benefits process
Veterans are promised care in return for their service to our nation. However, many former service members struggle for years to get the financial support and benefits they deserve. The recent suicide of a 63-year-old Navy veteran is yet another tragic reminder that a lot more needs to be done. Police from the Durham VA […]
- Veteran Caregivers are Being Dropped from Roles by VA
Kristina Derro, Esq. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers is a program used to provide stipends for family caregivers who are forced to stay at home to take care of their veteran family member. Since these veterans have suffered serious injuries, the program is a great way to give […]
See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: attorney for veterans, lawyer for veterans, veteran attorney, veteran attorneys, veteran benefits attorney, veteran disability lawyer, veterans attorney, Veterans disability attorney