Cleaning Out the Backlog

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News September 2013

Progress made in clearing out older claims.

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An effort launched earlier this year by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to end a backlog of disability compensation claims seems to be doing its job.

Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) says it’s encouraged by recent progress made to decide claims that have been pending for two years or more.

This summer VA announced that 97% of all claims over two years old in the inventory (more than 65,000) have been eliminated from the backlog.

The provision rating pilot program allowed claims that have been pending for more than two years to be decided within 60 days and rated based on the existing evidence of record. Veterans receiving provisional ratings can now submit additional evidence for consideration for one full year before VA issues a final decision.

“I’m encouraged by the progress VA has made in bringing some semblance of closure to the lives of veterans who have been waiting for years on an answer,” says Sherman Gillums Jr., associate executive director of veterans benefits at PVA.

Still, Gillums cautions that the progress is only as good as the accuracy of those provisional decisions, noting that many of the claims sat idle because VA needed additional evidence to make a decision.

VA says that the Veterans Benefit Administration staff will soon complete the remaining two-year-old claims, then move on to completing those cases for veterans who have been waiting more than one year for a decision.

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Cleaning Out the Backlog


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