May 25, 2023
Earlier this week, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that its benefit claims backlog, those claims older than 125 days, will grow up to 400,000 in the next year. While largely attributed to the influx of new PACT Act claims, this backlog has been a persistent and growing problem for the VA for years, and one that undoubtedly impacts all Veteran claims, not just those related to the PACT Act.
To help address the backlog, Congress has repeatedly increased the VA’s budget, which now exceeds $300 billion, allowing the agency to hire thousands of additional staff and to institute periods of costly mandatory overtime. None of these efforts have been enough. And with the VA further announcing that it is suspending mandatory overtime over the summer to reduce staff burnout, the backlog is expected to grow.
Veteran Benefits Guide and similar private services are making a significant contribution to addressing this problem. By focusing on helping each Veteran to submit a fully developed and accurate claim, our work avoids the need for lengthy appeals and speeds up the final benefits decision. In fact, our clients typically resolve their claims in seven months, compared to more than three years for Veterans who try to file a claim on their own or with the help of a Veteran Service Organization. Our role in the process cuts back on VA paperwork and labor, which reduces the long claims backlog and saves taxpayer dollars.
Veterans have served our country with honor and distinction. We are proud to assist them in receiving the benefits they have earned, while helping the VA and taxpayers at the same time.