The federal initiative to provide timely decisions on disability payments to Veterans has crossed a major milestone in its final sprint to eliminate the backlog of Veterans’ benefits claims.

The major transformation effort to apply new technology and process solutions has paid off at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It reduced its inventory of backlogged claims from a high of 611,000 claims in March of 2013 to fewer than 200,000 this week, while at the same time improving decision quality.

“Make no mistake, we’re not slowing down short of the finish line,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey. “Our goal is to eliminate the claims backlog by the end of 2015 – meaning all Veterans will receive timely and accurate decisions on their disability claims.”

Hickey credited a combination of factors for the 67-percent drop in backlog: first, the extra hours of work put in by dedicated benefits claims processors across the nation, who have worked evenings, Saturdays and Sundays to drive the backlog down; as well as procedural efficiencies backed by powerful automation tools and paperless claims processing. In addition, she cited the transformation of Veterans Benefits Administration’s training and quality assurance programs resulting in steady increases in the accuracy of decisions.

Just a few years ago, claims processors handled 5,000 tons of paper annually, an amount equivalent to 200 Empire State Buildings. In less than two years, VA converted claims processing to a 21st Century digital environment where claims for VA benefits and services can be submitted and processed, and benefits delivered, online.

Veterans increasingly are filing claims electronically from the start at Veterans can submit their applications online, upload their supporting documentation, and check the status of their claim through a multi-channel Web portal boasting nearly 60 self-service features.

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Published on Mar. 30, 2015

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  1. Maurice Wyman Scott April 4, 2015 at 8:56 am

    This is a system within the usage not policy dedicate not to fix itself. The new clearing the backlog method is getting denials as quick as possible into the BVA adjudication system, which isn’t reported.

    If the local regional offices report clearing hundred of thousand of claims completed, but the bva cases at 500,000, then actually no progress has been accomplished. But the system has tried, a new app lets veterans ask questions then when the question is proven to be not accurate, the statement responds call the regional office where the problem started.

    My BVA appeal has been in this dysfunctional for 1242 days but the va says it should only be 900 days, well in the 900 days, you can see the the incentives to get claims into this system, because it illustrates that the 120 days is really nonsense, this is just the new way to hide those claims.

  2. Anthony J. DeCarlo March 31, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    I’m sure the reduction in backlog was accomplished by disapproving claims. The VA is a broken government agency with a corrupt culture. I’ve been fighting since 1985 to get an accurate/fair disability rating.

  3. Traci A. Wilmoth March 31, 2015 at 2:43 am

    Couple Questions. Does “Backlog reduced 67 percent” mean, a claims rep will look at your claim and give you a partial rating? Is this your way of advertising how well you are doing? Because I’d rather go back to the BACKLOG LIST.

    I submitted my claim in August of 2013 and all they managed to accomplish was write me a claim letter rating me 10% for ONLY ONE of 38 claimed items. All 38 claimed items were “DEFERRED” pending my C&P Exam.

    Now show us the numbers on the PARTIAL RATING list. I went from getting full care because I am a wounded combat vet, to paying co-pays for everything I am seen for. All my combat injuries are not rated. The only thing every VA employee sees is that I have a 10% rating for one of lowest problems on my problem list. They don’t see that y’all DEFERRED 38 items so you can show the public how well you are doing on your BACKLOG LIST.

    Let me give you an idea of how much out of pocket costs you have now imposed on me and my family. Copay’s for anywhere from 10-15 appointments a month. Copay’s on all my medications. Gas for driving to and from appointments. I go to appointments in 3 separate VA clinics. 50 miles to see my Primary. 93 miles for specialties. 135 miles for another specialty. BTW that’s all one way miles.

    EBenefits is a joke too. It still shows that there are pending items for my claim. I have the EBenefits print out that shows the info was “Successfully” uploaded. I sent the info through the post office with the green “Return Receipt” card that came back to me with the VA’s signature of receipt. I have spoken to 3 VA claims reps that have verified they have the info. The VA claim letter that was sent to me shows all items they have on file and YES it shows they have the info requested.

    Quit manipulating the data to show how well you are doing. You are hurting the vets in the long run. Vets are losing their lives whether from your manipulation of data or suicide.

  4. bruce james iannello March 30, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Just read the article about reducing the back log from 611,000 in 2013 to 200,000 to date. I am in that 200,000 awaiting a decision on my claim for PTSD that dates back to 2002. It was 10 years before I was even granted a hearing before a judge. My claim number is 25-382-296, could you please look into this claim for me and send me an email as soon as possible.

  5. Michael s beaver March 30, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    I have been waiting since December of last year for the va to stop the dependent pay I get for my wife. We were divorced and I sent a copy and all the paperwork I was asked to, the va. I am not married, I have been told it could take six months or more to simply approve the paperwork and I have been saving the amount I would have been paid. This is a very simple thing. I guess I need some one to explain to me why something so simple can take so long. Thank you for your help.

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