A recent article in USA Today reports some rather grim statistics. The recent opening of service connect claims related to Agent Orange exposure compounded with the need to file for non-service related claims by WWII and Korean War veterans has caused a serious backlog of VA claims.
The total number of claims since last April has almost doubled (448,000 to 756,000). Although the VA has hired an additional 3,000 workers to assist with claims, the delay in claim resolutions has caused an average delay of eight (8) months.
This will mean ultimately that after a filing a claim, veterans will be forced to follwo the old military mantra of: “Hurry up…and wait”.
However, claims can be expedited by doing several things:
1. Work with a qualified, accredited attorney.
2. Make sure that you are eligible for benefits, if you are applying for non-service connected benefits, before you apply.
3. Provide all information that you need to process a claim with your initial application.
4. Designate a VSO to assist as a fiduciary with your claim.
5. Whenever possible file a “statement in support of claim” indicating that you have provided all necessary information to determine your eligiblity for benefits.