As part of its ongoing effort to accelerate the elimination of the disability compensation claims backlog, the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that it is mandating overtime for claims processors in its 56 regional benefits offices. This surge, which will be implemented through the end of fiscal 2013, will be used to help eliminate the backlog with continued emphasis on high-priority claims for homeless veterans and those claiming financial hardship, the terminally ill, former prisoners of war, Medal-of-Honor recipients and veterans filing Fully Developed Claims.
This is the latest effort to reduce the backlog. Last month, VA announced an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions for veterans who have waited one year or longer. On April 19, VA began prioritizing claims decisions for veterans who have been waiting the longest by providing provisional decisions that allow eligible veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits quickly. With a provisional decision, a veteran has a year to submit additional information to support a claim before the decision becomes final. More information can be found here.
Claims for wounded warriors separating from the military for medical reasons will continue to be handled separately and on a priority basis with the Department of Defense through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). On average, wounded warriors separating through IDES currently receive VA compensation benefits in two months following their separation from service.
Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense—VA web portal eBenefits.
More information about filing Fully Developed Claims is available here.