Ask SO: Why is my claim taking so long?

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Q: Why is my claim taking so long?

A: It is known that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is currently experiencing a huge backlog creating extracted claims processing times. While there are many different types of claims and waiting times for each, there are a few actions you can take that may speed up the process.

The first action is to locate and utilize an accredited service officer to assist in filing, tracking and reviewing your claim. Accredited officers are trained professionals, accountable for their actions while counseling and representing veterans. These officers are of utmost importance to ensure a quality product is submitted and a rating, with proper legal basis, is completed. American Legion accredited service officers provide service free of charge; locate one in your area by visiting www.legion.org/serviceofficers.

The second action has two parts. First, the claimant must be properly counseled on what documents to submit and the accredited officer should advise the claimant on how to procure information and documentation applicable to the proposed claim. The claimant must be advised of any action which, when taken during the normal claims processing timeline, may slow the speed of adjudication.

Providing additional evidence, while the claim is in the development phase, causes the VBA to return the claim to initial development phase for consideration of the new evidence. File all documents and information in tandem with the initial claim, or within the Veterans Claims Assistance Act period, if possible. Requesting copies of documentation in the claims file will hold up a claim.

In response to the request for information, the file must be pulled from the developmental stream and moved between sections of the VA regional office or sometimes between two completely separate regional offices. A Congressional inquiry will cause undue delay because the file must be pulled from the developmental stream and reviewed by senior management personnel. And a status letter must be sent to the respective Congressional office.

The above situations are not inclusive of all actions and occurrences that slow down claims. The overriding lesson here is that all claimants should seek professional assistance from an accredited veteran service officer.

Do you have a question for Department of North Carolina Service Officer Cajun Comeau about the claims process or veterans benefits in general? Send it to askso@legion.org.

 

james, b r

March 9, 2014 - 1:24pm

What is that the American Legion do about these common complaints

Freddy P.

January 24, 2014 - 7:07pm

Went back to my RO after the BVA remanded my claim for a C&P exam. This took 4 years. They asked the expert doctor to carefully review my claim since I have leukemia from the use of carbon tetrachloride. After 5 minutes of review he made a determination that it had nothing to do the leukemia. Apparently, the agent orange doesn't either. What a scam! The claim is now back at bva between vso and vlj. They are playing ping pong with my claim waiting for me to die. Told them this has made my existing depression worse and they say I'm a hypochondriac. What an outfit!

sandraindayton

June 5, 2013 - 6:35pm

YOUR CLAIM IS TAKING SO LONG BECAUSE THE VA REGIONAL OFFICE EMPLOYEES HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND THEY DO EVERYTHING WRONG. THEREFORE, IT TAKES YEARS AND YEARS TO DISCOVER THESE OBVIOUS MISTAKES AND EVEN LONGER TO CORRECT THEM. "Delay and Deny till the day they die"....

EdtheClaimant

January 20, 2013 - 6:35pm

The reason the claim takes so long is the VA doesn't read your entire claim at first. Then, when you try to find out why its taking so long, they ask for papers that they already have or don't need. After more than a year, I was told I needed a copy of my DD-214 (a claim # was assigned with the original DD-214 I sent the year before). They also wanted a copy of my military service medical record. Had they read the original claim, the VA would have seen that I was filing for a disease I contracted while on active duty, but wasn't discovered until after I was out, so, no military service medical records exist.

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