The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) defines the backlog as initial cases that have languished for four months. According to VA’s figures, the backlog now rests at around 245,000 cases. This is down by 160,000 cases since 2014 and 250,000 cases since the beginning of 2013. The backlog has been reduced, but VA’s stated goal for reducing the VA backlog would result in elimination of it by the end of 2015. VA decided 1.3 million claims last year, but the pace of reduction is unlikely to overcome the backlog while veterans file new claims in 2015. Still, Congress appropriated $40 million in December to address the backlog. This gives veterans hope.
Another ray of hope is that Congress appropriated $11 million to begin working on the backlog of appeals that has grown while VA directed energy at new cases. The appeals backlog has risen from around 245,000 in March 2013 to over 287,000 currently. In many regional offices employees have been removed from appeals teams and reassigned to manage the new cases. This has left many veterans waiting years for VA to decide an appeal.
When Secretary McDonald took charge of VA, there was a lot of optimism that the new administration would meet the 2015 deadline. This blog met that optimism with healthy skepticism. But, our firm is looking forward to re-directing energy, money and time toward reducing the growing backlog of appeals.
Veterans Waiting for VA Decisions on their Disability Claims or Appeals
If you have been waiting for a decision after filing for disability compensation or filing an appeal denying benefits, we understand that you may be facing worsening health or financial crisis. In some cases a veterans’ disability advocate can help. For example, Veterans Help Group has successfully filed Petitions for Extraordinary Relief before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), arguing that individual delayed appeals warrant CAVC involvement in VA operations. Contact us at (855) 855-8992 or complete our free evaluation form if you have questions about your claim or appeal.