VA disability backlog doubles under Obama
posted at 7:19 pm on November 12, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham
You won’t be surprised to learn this is a violation of a promise:
It was one of the simplest, most poignant promises Barack Obama made in 2008 in his first campaign for the White House: He would fulfill “a sacred trust with our veterans” by significantly reducing the government’s lengthy backlog of pending claims for disability coverage. The goal: All veterans could get a decision on disability claims within 125 days.
Records obtained by the Washington Guardian show that as of Nov. 5, the day before Mr. Obama won re-election, 558,230 of the 820,106 veterans seeking disability coverage had their claims pending for more than the 125-day target. That’s 68.1 percent, or nearly double the 36 percent rate in the summer of 2010.
And there are tens of thousands more cases pending in various forms of appeal, where decisions can take months or years to resolve. For instance, the average time it takes to resolve a case before the Veterans Appeals Board is 883 days, or almost 2½ years.
The error rate is also up. Why? A combination of issues— an influx of claims from Iraq and Afghanistan vets, an increase in illnesses covered by VA disability, and a workforce unprepared to deal with them.
When the federal government, already clumsy and inefficient, attempts to do everything, it fails in its most sacred duties.