Payments will soon be coming to veterans who have been waiting the longest, even if a final decision has not been made regarding the claim.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) May 29, 2013
The Department of Veterans Affairs has been struggling with an outdated system for logging benefits claims. The Federal Savings Bank informs readers that recently, the VA benefits system has been a top priority to update, and reduce the backlog of claims. According to The Los Angeles Times on April 29, 2013, the number of pending claims has exceeded 500,000 after more than doubling during the 2011 fiscal year.
The VA is aware of the urgency of the issue. In April, it announced that it was withholding high-ranking officials' bonuses in the disability claims department because of their failure to properly maintain the processing system. The extra funds were also intended to go toward cutting down the backlog.
Now, the Pentagon has come forward to announce its participation in the effort. On May 22, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the Senate that it is the VA's responsibility to ensure proper benefits are awarded to all deserving veterans, the Department of Defense reported. However, Hagel stresses the obstacles involved with such a high volume of claims.
"As a former VA leader, senator and veteran I have been involved in veterans' issues for many years, and have some understanding and appreciation of the complications and difficulties of this backlog issues," he added.
What is being done to reduce the backlog
The government has determined that a computerized system is vital for repairing the clogged VA benefit claims setup. The Department of Defense intends to merge its records system with the VA's to promote the sharing of information. A group of experts from the DOD will also be working alongside the VA to start processing some of the claims that have been filed for the longest amount of time, according to the DOD website.
Allison Hickey, the VA's under secretary for benefits, told Federal News Radio that the initiatives are already showing positive effects. In April, there were 68,000 claims that were considered "extremely old," and at this point, the department has made a decision on over half of them. Payments will soon be coming to veterans who have been waiting the longest, even if a final decision has not been made regarding the claim.
It is so important for veterans to receive their due benefits. Extensive waiting periods can cause financial issues in other aspects of their lives such as with a mortgage refinance or car payment. Contact the Federal Savings Bank today if you would like to discuss your options.