New Reports Highlight Surge in Patients, Claims
Most Americans know about the troop surges in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the national media pays less attention to another war-related surge: a sharp increase in new Veteran patients and disability benefit claims at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The department continues operating under enormous pressure brought on by continuing tidal waves of new Veteran patients and disability claims from more than a decade of war, according to recently released VA reports.
The new data obtained by Bergmann & Moore reveals more than 866,000 new, first-time Veteran patients plus nearly 784,000 disability compensation claims filed by men and women who deployed in and around Iraq and Afghanistan. While VA tries to implement a new computer system to handle this influx of Veterans, recent investigations by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and VA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reveal VA still has no comprehensive plan to handle the worsening crisis.
Here are just some of the staggering new numbers reported by VA:
- 866,182 patients, up more than 32,000 in the past three months, or more than 10,000 new veteran patients per month.
- 273,351 veteran patients diagnosed with posttraumatic (PTSD) stress disorder, up more than 16,000 in the past three months, or more than 5,000 new veterans diagnosed with PTSD each month.
- 783,623 claims filed, up more than 38,000 in the past four months, or more than 9,000 new veterans filing disability claims against VA each month.
- VA approved 151,860 veterans’ claims for PTSD, which is only 56 percent of the veterans diagnosed by VA with PTSD.
Joseph Moore, a partner at Bergmann & Moore, says the surge in new patients and claims is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
“As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars wind down, VA needs even more resources to meet the increase in demand so our Veterans receive accurate and prompt VA claim decisions, especially for Veterans diagnosed with PTSD or who are unemployable,” says Moore, who adds that VA “must implement a plan to handle the surge of claims so our Veterans and families don’t suffer long waits and VA mistakes.”