How bad is the VA backlog?

Veterans Affairs Backlog Files Stacked So High, They Posed Safety Risk to Staff

By: P.J. Tobia Excerpt from PBS Newshour- The Rundown
 

“While researching our story on the Veterans Affairs benefits backlog, we saw this Veterans Affairs Administration Inspector General’s report that points out that at one VA center, a regional office in Winston-Salem, N.C., had so much paper that it “created an unsafe workspace for (VA) employees and appeared to have the potential to compromise the integrity of the building.” The IG report, from August, 2012, found that at this one office alone, “37,000 claims folders were stored on top of file cabinets.” The report says that this “creates an unsafe environment for the employees, overexposes many claims folders to risk of fire/water damage, inadvertent loss and possible misplacement, as well as impedes (Veterans Affairs Regional Office) productivity by reducing access to many folders in a timely manner.” According to the report, the sheer weight of the combined folders actually exceeded the load-bearing capacity of the building itself. As claims continue to pour in, almost one million veterans are currently waiting for their benefit claims to be processed, according to an investigation conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting. The CIR’s report also showed that the average wait time for a disability claim to be resolved is 279 days. First time claims take longer, averaging 318 days, and the wait time has grown 2,000 percent in the past four years.”  Full Story

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In furtherance of our firm’s culture of commitment to always act with compassion, concern and commitment to our clients, community and colleagues, we have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligations while prioritizing health, wellness and safety of all we can.

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced changes to many lives and businesses in our communities, and around the world. We, much like our neighbors and friends, have been taking precautions to ensure that we are still fulfilling our ethical and moral obligation to our clients, while also prioritizing the health, wellness and safety of our employees.

Until further notice, our offices will be closed to the public to encourage social distancing and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our team is still hard at work, many from home, and you may still call, email, live chat or video conference us if you or a loved one is seeking legal assistance. As the first law firm to offer our clients secure online access to their case file more than a decade ago, we have always been believers in using technology to make life easier and information more accessible. In these present times it has been a smooth transition for us to continue to offer our clients the same seamless and thorough service that you deserve and are accustomed to.

This pandemic is unlike anything any of us have faced in our lifetimes, and while we can continue to emotionally support one another through it all, staying home and keeping your distance is vital to the health and wellness of our communities. It does not feel good to break routines, cancel events and retreat from our normal, day-to-day socializing, but let us remember that, in times of strife, prior generations were asked to go to war and we are simply being asked to stay home. Your isolation equals more lives saved, and more time for medical providers to prepare for the treatment of patients battling COVID-19.

When the dust settles, we will join together with a greater appreciation for our lives, local businesses, loved ones and health. Until then, we will continue to offer guidance from a safe distance.

Very truly yours,

Andrew G. Finkelstein and the staff of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP