Muskogee Regional Office

To be sure, last week was a big one for breaking national news, so you may have missed a substantial development with VA’s claim process, and the backlog of claims that have way too many folks waiting for a decision.

From VA’s Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey, on Friday:

Effective today, every regional office will begin implementing an initiative to ensure that those who have been waiting a year or more for their compensation claim receive a decision quickly. VA raters will make provisional decisions on the oldest claims in inventory, which will allow Veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits more quickly, if eligible.

In other words, this move makes a clear decision: get compensation to Veterans quickly while their claim is being evaluated.

As the Army Times noted, about a quarter of the million claims out of 570,000 are over a year old, and assigning priority will increase the backlog for a time before the toughest cases get out of the door—and compensation into the hands of Vets.

An initiative to get claims pushed through faster—Fully Developed Claims—will continue to receive priority processing, so if you haven’t filed yet, check out that link to get your claim decided faster.

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Published on Apr. 22, 2013

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  1. M. Southern May 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Well I’m not sure if it was this action or me calling and emailing my congressmen. My husband is at 50% service connected disability (degenerative disk disease). We have reopened it to add the fact that he has to forever wear shoe inserts now, his legs and feet go numb. He has arthritis that is caused by the disk issues. When his back goes out he can’t even get out of the bed to go to the bathroom. He’s humiliated by the fact that I have to bring something to him to go in. This is just the surface of problems he has. We opened it in June of 2010 and have yet to be seen for a first appointment. However just yesterday we got a call from someone from the VA to set up an appointment for him to expedite his claim. Seriously, it’s about time.

  2. J.H. April 30, 2013 at 11:16 am

    This process is almost the same as a DRO request. The only thing is those of us who have been waiting for someone to look at our file again at the Regional office are going to get pushed back to accomodate those in the new process. Have waited over 420 days for any communication. Requested a phone call from the RO (cleveland) and have been waiting 30 business days for someone to call.

  3. sammy April 27, 2013 at 3:41 am

    Been waiting over 580 days on a NOD. They say that it still in development. They also say that they are working on my dependency claim?

  4. BaDonkaStonk April 26, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Claim appealed Nov 2011, service connected surgery Sept 2012, VA Compensation Exam one week later. Claim sent back for further review, which turned out to be Milwaukee VA lost my claim file and didnt notify me for several months. For past four months they have been attempting to ‘rebuild’ my claim file. I had to provide them copies of all of my records for them to use. They wont process temporary 100 percent for service connected surgery from Sept 2012 separately from Nov 2011 appeal. I submitted all evidence after surgery in Sept 12, submitted a second time thru my P of A in October 12, submitted a third time in Dec 12 and finally in person a fourth time in January 2013 after receiving letter from VA in Jan 13 that they needed to me submit evidence to support surgery claim. The same information sent to them three previous times. : 0

    No decision on claim and all medical information, name, address, social sec # is lost and nowhere to be found. Lost between one VA clinic who said they sent it and the VA hospital who said they never got it.

    But at least they said they were sorry they lost all my personal information.

  5. Juan April 26, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Nothing will be done, this is only bone without meat so We can be enthusiastic about it, I have a claim since 2000 and I heard so many promises and still nothing,,,, I dont believe them anymore, when I call 1-800-827-1000 they only said that is in process to review and due to backlog the Newark, NJ RO will take longer than expect it,,,, No one take in consideration the pain and suffering We went tru, We are expendable, they always a replacement, bonus to high executive is a most in a matter of days, no years,,,, I’m so down seing all this happen to Us,,,, I’m on the last road of my trip but for You My fellow Veterans that want to continue, tell this high executives to be ashame of themself for recieving bonus from Our SACRIFICE!!!!

  6. Orlando Miller April 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Although this is a step in the right direction, let’s not forget that few, if any, of VBA’s 56 regional offices has a VA aspirational ratings claims accuracy of 98.0%. Unless the VA couples this initiative with increased staffing, training, and bonuses, I’m afraid
    ratings claims accuracy will continue to miss the mark. The VA’s transition to paperless system and allowing claims to be filed as FDC’s with acceptable DBQ’s is a start in the right direction. Yet, VA should exercise caution when allowing provisional decisions on the oldest claims at the cost of accuracy. In the end, many of us will be back in the same boat having to appeal. Also, the VA projected that it will take up to six months to complete the 250,000 claims being targeted. That means my 500 day old INITIAL claim will take another 180 days to complete. I challenge all the VSO’s (DAV, VVA, IAVA, AL, VFW, etc.) to come together and schedule a march on Washington. I can assure you, when a million plus angry veterans converge on D.C. and demand and end to the claims backlog, we’ll see change.

  7. Stepheen Wagoner April 23, 2013 at 8:42 pm


  8. neal driscoll April 23, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    have read the article on claims delayed a year or more. checked out my ebenefits and it shows a decision projected as far as 8/13. I started my claim 4/12 and recieved many letters assuring me my claim was delayed due to backlog of cases. Once I called and made an official inquiry stating its been 9 months thats when I finally was scheduled a medical eval. app. I called and asked for another inquiry but was told that would delay the decision, (in my words) that it would take off of one desk and on another. just want to know, understand they have what they need.

  9. paul collard April 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    My back is my biggest issue for employment. I had documented back injury, disc compressionsN degenerative disc and bone spurs. Being on Personel Reliabilty Program (PRP) I was put y serviceon light duty for the majority of my service. After retirement Seymour Johnson AFB physical theropy put me on a traction device that herniated 2 and ruptured 1 disc requireing sergery. This severed the siatic nerves to my legs. I now suffer daily pain in my lower back and siatic nerves. I am unable to function for several hours during each day until the 18hour time released morophine restarts every day and relying on Vicodin much of. each day.
    I’ve lost my house and all reliable transportation wore out. My wife got stage 3 malignant melanoma, survived that just to have her job loss and need to care for me.
    Recommended 3 times by my doctors to get social security and denyed every time.
    I need this claim resolved so I have proof to be able to receive social security.

  10. paul collard April 23, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    My initial claim was in 2001, due to poor guidance, no challenges were given to the first 2 claims. Now on the 3rd claim submitted in August 2011 and estimated completion is April 2014. I have lost everything but my wife and struggle with PTSD and depression daily. My claim must be completed. I feel forgotten and not understood.
    Please help get this completed. Msgt Collard-3953, Ret. USAF.

  11. billy e stepp April 22, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    the va shit on me and my claim no one knows how hard it is for me and my family, I sure was surprised to get the answer I got when va was the one who diagnose my none combat PTSD.they weren’t there they did not see what I saw and still see till this day. And they still don’t care.

  12. David J Sims April 22, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    May 12th it will be a year and I’m still waiting. I first filed when leaving the Army in 1970. I was given a 30% disability rating then. My hearing loss was caused by the same explosion that caused my other wounds. As I got older my hearing continued to get worse. Until I was forced to retire. Now I trying to get further diability and have spent many hours with VA Doctors and specialist only to be told it my take another year of waiting. This is now way to be treated.

  13. Bogger April 22, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    I submitted my claim in 2008 and received denials. Following my VSO’s advice, I continued to provide additional evidence to keep my claim alive which included positive IMO’s and again received denials. In 2011, my VSO recommended I file a request for a DRO review, which is now about 650 days old.

    Will my claim be provisionally approved during this process or are DRO requests not included? I never filed a Form 9.


    • Catherine Trombley April 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm


      Once you file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD), your claim is considered an appeal. You probably did this if you requested a DRO review. Unfortunately appeals are not included in this program.

      • James April 29, 2013 at 4:08 pm

        So my appeal which has been in since 2007 and the other since 2009 will continue sitting in the appeals backlog another how many years.

  14. Garnett Luttig April 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    My claim is over a year old. On Apr 3 the entire pkg was placed in the prepared for mailing. As of today now it is in the evidence. Can some one please tell me what is going on and the truth about it??

    Thank you very much

  15. Edward Hampton Cox April 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    I put in claim year in service 1951 and 1953 army and air force
    Hurt in German and ihio us airforce Had letters sent to me that they were working on this claim that been many years now. So please help as to claims THANKS

    • Edward Hampton Cox April 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      2 claims put on file in year 1976 in fresno, calif. had 2 letters from vet dept no action and this should have been taken care of long always the govt runs slow THANKS

  16. I'm Done April 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    This “New Initiative” may help a handful. It will not help those whose initial claim dates have been changed/adjusted incorrectly. It will not help those of us with all evidence required, yet records still sitting somewhere. Example: Female Desert Storm veteran with medical records supporting “Presumptive Illnesses” still being denied. Primary Care Physician, Therapist, Psychiatrist AND VocRehab counsellor ALL say I cannot work due to Service Connected conditions (Serious Employment Handicaps), even PTSD diagnosed “permanent”, but still fighting for Individual Unemployability.

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