The Obama administration is increasing efforts to process U.S. Veterans’ medical disability claims, a Department of Veterans Affairs official states. President Obama has stated multiple times that he hopes to ensure that veterans get their disability benefits in a timely manner.
According to WLTX, President Obama responded to criticism on the back up on veterans’ benefits last week in a campaign speech in Virginia Beach. Virginia Beach is home to a large veteran population. “I am running for president because there are a lot of folks in Virginia who have served us in uniform with such bravery and dedication and patriotism and I want us to keep faith with our troops, and make sure that our veterans get the benefits they have earned,” President Obama stated.
President Obama points out that he has ended the war in Iraq and is in the final stages of winding down the war in Afghanistan. He also is helping veterans and their spouses get jobs in the private sector. President Obama is improving the post-9/11 GI Bill for veterans’ education. He has directed funds from the stimulus to assist with the paying of 2,300 VA disability claims processors to assist with alleviating the backlog of claims.
Republicans have fired back at President Obama stating that he has repeatedly failed to fix the VA. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, stated in an interview, “I am tired of hearing this rhetoric on the campaign trail when you look at the reality of these numbers.”
VA Disability in Numbers
As of Mid-June:
- The VA had 870,000 pending cases
- 66% of these cases had been pending more than 125 days
At the same time last year:
- The VA had 836,000 pending cases
- 59% of these cases had been pending more than 125 days
The VA currently has set a goal of processing all claims in fewer than 125 days by 2015.
Veterans are also claiming a greater number of disabilities.
- Last year, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans averaged 8.5 disabilities.
- Vietnam veterans averaged three to four disabilities.
- World War II veterans averaged one to two.
Why is causing the VA backup?
Allison, Hickey, undersecretary for benefits at the VA, stated these back ups are due in a part to a generation of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who have more complex claims. In addition, as of two years ago, the VA now provides compensation for those veterans suffering from an Agent Orange-related illness. Agent Orange illnesses are referring to “presumptive diseases” resulting from exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides. These illnesses can include Hodgkin’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and respiratory cancers, among others.
What can you do about your VA disability claim?
If you are awaiting or needing to file a VA disability claim, a Veterans’ Affairs lawyer may be able to help. A Veterans’ Affairs disability lawyer at the Strom Law Firm will help you file your claim. Filing for VA disability can be a complex task. The Veterans’ Affairs lawyers at the Strom Law Firm have the experience needed to help you navigate this difficult process. Contact us today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800.