Veterans Disability Backlog Nears 900,000; New Allsup Report Examines Contributing Factors
Allsup provides 10 tips for veterans navigating disability compensation program
Belleville, Ill.-Nov. 14, 2012-Nearly 900,000 veterans with disabilities are awaiting an initial decision on whether they will receive financial support from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Disability Compensation Program. A report released today by Allsup, a nationwide provider of services for people with disabilities, examines factors contributing to the VA disability backlog and provides tips for veterans seeking service-connected disability benefits.
"As we commemorate veterans' contributions, Allsup honors those who have served our country," said Allsup founder and CEO Jim Allsup, an Air Force veteran. Allsup provides Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and the Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal ServiceSM. "We owe all of our veterans, especially those who became disabled in defense of our nation, the very best care. The Veterans Benefits Administration is doing a tremendous job dealing with overwhelming demands on the program. It's vital that we understand the causes of the increased strain on the program and equip veterans with the tools they need to get the help they deserve."
The report, "Veterans Living with Disabilities: A Closer Look at Factors Affecting the Veterans Disability Compensation Program," found that at the end of 2011, nearly 3.4 million veterans were receiving service-connected disability compensation from the VA. Since 2008, the VA has seen an increase of nearly 50 percent in disability claims, and the department processed more than 1 million disability claims in 2012.
The recent surge in applications has strained the VA and created long wait times for veterans, who face an average wait of 259 days for an initial decision on their claims. Recent reports from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) show that nearly 900,000 claims are pending. Two-thirds of those have been pending more than 125 days, the VA's target processing time. Denial of a claim is not unusual. Unfortunately, it can take as long as four to five years, or longer, for a resolution for the veteran.
Using information from the VA, the VBA and other government agencies, "Veterans Living with Disabilities" examines the most common conditions for which veterans receive service-connected disability compensation and factors in the backlog. These factors include military personnel returning from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, changes in regulations for Vietnam-era veterans and diseases connected to Agent Orange, and the VA's efforts to identify veterans with disabilities and improve their access to disability compensation.
"The combination of factors is creating more demand on the VA disability compensation program, but it also points to the need to help veterans understand their options and the availability of representation with their VA disability claims," said Brett Buchanan, an Allsup VA-accredited claims agent and Army veteran.
In addition to the VA's measures to simplify and speed the VA disability compensation process, veterans can take additional action for their claims. Allsup outlines steps, which include:
- Determine eligibility.
- Meet VA disability compensation requirements.
- Obtain a doctor's agreement on the current disability.
- File as soon as possible.
- Get help with your claim.
- Prepare an accurate medical record.
For more information, or to see the full report and list of tips for veterans, visit http://www.allsup.com/media/files/AVDAS-Report-for-Veterans-Day.pdf.
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.