Shinseki says claims backlog is heading in ‘the right direction’

By Leo Shane III Stars and Stripes
Published: December 29, 2013

For the first time since Barack Obama was elected president, the veterans claims backlog will end this year lower than it began. Department of Veterans Affairs officials say they’re on track to end the backlog entirely sometime in 2015. At the start of December, the claims backlog — the number of cases unfinished for more than 125 days — sat just under 393,000 cases. Critics call that an embarrassingly large number, especially considering that the White House pledged to fix the problem almost four years ago. But VA officials say eliminating the backlog was always expected to be a multiyear process, with the bulk of the progress coming this year. In March, the backlog total peaked at more than 608,000 cases.

More than one-third of that caseload was gone by the end of the fall. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has credited new computer processing systems, mandatory overtime for claims processors and new filing options for this year’s decrease. Read Article Here