News, Views, and Information about Disability

Disability News, Views, Information, and Literature

Monday, November 11, 2013

Maine VA's 38% Disability Backlog Second-Best in US

A November 8, article in the Central Maine Sentinel reports that Maine is second only to South Dakota in terms of the number of disability claims backlogged by the Veteran's Benefits Administration in the state. In Maine, the backlog -- defined as pending for 125 days or more -- is 38 percent of cases. The only office that's doing better is South Dakota's Sioux Falls' office, which has a 33 percent backlog.

This data is gaining attention due to President Obama's decision to try to eliminate VA disability benefits backlogs by 2015. According to the Sentinel article
Federal data compiled by the McClatchy newspapers this week said 38 percent of claims processed by the Togus regional office of the Veterans Benefits Administration are backlogged.... The national average, McClatchy reported, is still 58 percent. So the federal government has plenty of work to do to eliminate backlogs by 2015, a promise made earlier this year that veterans’ groups have been supportive, yet skeptical of.
The rest of the article focuses on skepticism among disabled veterans' groups about the VA being able to eliminate the backlog, Togus officials discussing their accuracy rate, and the backdrop of the national attention on the VA backlog. 

Maine has a disproportionately high number both of Veterans and of people with disabilities, so the process for Veterans to get disability benefits in the state is particularly important. No mention is made that a 38 percent backlog means that more than one-third of all disability cases take in excess of four months to process.

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