VA Claim Inventory Remains Steady at 1.4 Million

VA Progress on “Backlog” Causes Other Claims to Languish.  

For our first blog of 2014, here is a comparison of the disability claim inventory at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the years ending 2012 and 2013.  The facts reveal how VA’s unfinished claim inventory remained steady the past calendar year at nearly 1.4 million.  VA saw a tiny inventory decrease of four percent in the past year, as shown in the chart below:

Comparison of Year End VA Claim Inventory, 2012 and 2013

Year End

Initial Claims

Appealed Claims

Award Adjustment Claims

Accrued Claims

VA Inventory of Claims

2012

864,672

252,779

301,568

13,098

1,432,117

2013

685,931

266,040

405,972

15,263

1,373,206

Change

-178,741

+13,261

+104,404

+2,165

-58,911

Percent

-21%

+5%

+35%

+17%

-4%

VA Focuses Mainly on “Backlog”

However, VA views the issue of pending claims in a narrow manner.  During 2013, VA focused mainly on a term created by VA called the “backlog.”  VA’s limited definition of “backlog” counts only part of the New and Reopened Claims that were pending 125 days or longer.  VA’s “backlog” definition excludes New and Reopened Claims pending less than 125 days, ignores Appealed Claims, and ignores Accrued Claims.

Using VA’s narrow definition of “backlog,” there is good news: by focusing mainly on New and Reopened Claims, especially those languishing at VA one or two years, VA reduced the agency’s “backlog” by 33% during calendar year 2013.

Year End

VA’s “Backlog”

2012

       589,632

2013

       395,139

Change

                     -194,493

Percent

-33%

Unfortunately, due to VA’s focus on the agency’s “backlog,” there was a steep price for our Veterans and families as other areas of VA’s claim inventory rose, often sharply.

  • Appealed Claims rose 5%
  • Award Adjustments (usually to add a spouse or child) increased 35%
  • Accrued Claims (where the Veteran died while waiting for a VA decision) rose 17%

Sources: VA’s Monday Morning Workload Report, December 31, 2012 and December 30, 2013. 

Posted by Jess Walker

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