In February 2020, there were 70,000 compensation claims pending over 125 days, which the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) determined to be backlogged. As of December 2021, there were 255,000 compensation claims pending over 125 days, which is over 40% of VA’s current workload.
The COVID-19 pandemic aided in creating this significant backlog. This, coupled with the new presumptive diseases being added for Agent Orange and burn pit exposure, has also dramatically increased the pending compensation claims backlog.
H.R. 5944, the Veterans Administration Backlog Accountability Act, would require the VA Inspector General (IG) to report on the backlog of disability compensation claims. Specifically, it would require the IG to determine how the VA is addressing the backlog, how the backlog is affecting the amount of a time a Veteran or survivor is waiting for their claims decision and recommendations on how to reduce the backlog.
Lost time in deciding Veterans’ claims imposes a serious burden on Veterans, their families and survivors. DAV strongly supports H.R. 5944, as it would require the VA Inspector General to review and provide recommendations for improving claims process wait times and reducing the backlog. This bill is consistent with DAV Resolution No. 036, which calls for support of significant and meaningful claims processing reform to address VA’s overall workloads.
Please contact your Representative and urge them to co-sponsor and support H.R. 5944 to address VA’s compensation claims backlog. Thank you for all you do for America’s Veterans and their families.