500,000 veterans involved in VA claim backlog
Right now, more than 500k vets are involved in a backlog of VA claims. 100k of those vets are waiting for a qualification decision. The other 400k vets are awaiting the VA appeals process. With a 2017 budget expected to be $ 184 billion, you’d think VA could do it right. If DOD provides information on the entire claims process from start to finish for retiring and separating military veterans, they will know how to navigate the claims process. If the VA has the information in every office in the country, veterinarians will be able to file their claims quickly and make decisions more quickly. Something must be done and this story must be told for those nearly half a million vet records stuck in the system. There is hope, and for the past five years the VA has reduced the number of backlog claims in the claims process. So, it can be done. However, it would be nice to see the backlog of claims at zero.
In 2007, I retired after 20 years in the Air Force. I am a Veteran of the Iraq War and received the Bronze Star Medal. When I got out of military service, my commander told me to make a copy of my military health records and take them to the VA. I did this and waited 8 months for a rating decision. I assumed it was not an abnormally long time, as there were hundreds of thousands of vets in the system. In 2010, I had a severe episode of PTSD. I was hospitalized at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. Upon release, I was told to make copies of my medical records and to file a PTSD claim. So I did it. A year passed and I started making phone calls, but I couldn’t get an answer as to where the claim was in the process. Two years passed and now he was frustrated. Three years passed and he was angry. I contacted a reporter from the Baltimore Sun and my story about the VA claims backlog and my ordeal over a three-year period made national news. I spent a lot of time learning the process inside and out. Almost immediately I learned that I had not followed the VA criteria to properly file a VA claim. The VA needs to process a Fully Developed Claim (FDC) so that you can quickly go through the VA claims process. Historically, FDCs take shorter periods of time to decide on claims that do not present all the necessary information. I believe this information should be provided to veterinarians so they can fully understand the claims process and what they need to provide to the VA in order to file a fully developed claim (FDC).