Reduce the Veterans Benefits Administration Claims Backlog

Promise in the Works President Obama is working on the following promise:

"There are currently over 400,000 claims pending within the Veterans Benefits Administration, and over 800,000 claims receipts are expected in 2008 alone. … Obama will hire additional claims workers and convene our nation's leading veterans groups, employees and managers to develop an updated training and management model that will ensure that VA benefit decisions are rated fairly and consistently, and stem from adequate training and accountability for each claims adjudicator." — "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust with our Veterans"

Source: http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/VeteransFactSheet.pdf

Other promises regarding veterans.

UPDATES:

Updated: February 10, 2009

Secretary of Veterans Affairs says more claims workers will be hired

On Feb. 4, 2009, the newly-appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Gen. Eric Shinseki, testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, and outlined several large initiatives his office was tackling, including reducing the backlog in claims.

"Let me just give you a picture of what the disability claims process looks like," Shinseki said. "If you were to walk into one of our rooms where adjudication or decisions are being made about disability for veterans, you would see individuals sitting at a desk with stacks of paper that go up half way to the ceiling. And as they finish one pile another pile comes in. There are 11,100 people doing this today for the Veterans Affairs Department, good people. Hard to do this rather challenging job in which they're trying to apply judgment to situations that occurred years ago and, in some cases, situations that they don't have the full appreciation for the context of combat. … In the last two years we've hired 4,000 additional adjudicators. This year we're hiring another 1,100 to address the backlog problem.

"In my opinion, this is a brute force solution and we need to very quickly take this into an IT format that allows us to do timely, accurate, consistent decision making on behalf of our veterans. And this is part of what the backlog is about," Shinseki said.

Sources:

CQ.com, House Veterans Affairs Committee Holds Hearing to Organize for the 111th Congress and on the State of the Veterans Affairs Department, Feb. 4. 2009

House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Hearing, Feb. 4, 2009


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