WASHINGTON — Veterans waiting more than a year for a decision on their disability claims are moving to the front of the line, under a new program announced Friday.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is responding to criticism about the soaring number of claims that have been pending for longer than 125 days. The VA said that of the nearly 900,000 claims pending in the system, some 250,000 are from veterans who have been waiting at least a year for a decision.
Veterans receive disability compensation for injuries and illness incurred or aggravated during their active military service. The amount of the compensation is based on a rating assigned by the VA.
Allison Hickey, the VA undersecretary who oversees the Veterans Benefits Administration, says provisional decisions will be made on the oldest cases based on the evidence currently in the veteran’s file. In some cases, medical exams will be required, and those will be expedited.
Veterans whose claims are granted would get compensation immediately. Veterans whose claims are denied will have a year to submit more information before the VA makes a final decision.
The VA projected that it will take up to six months to complete the 250,000 claims being targeted.
Read more in Saturday’s Arizona Daily Star and at azstarnet.com