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Continued delays make applying for veterans' benefits frustrating

Veterans in Georgia who are eligible for disability payments as a result of their military service have discovered lately that it's been an agonizing process to receive veterans' benefits. Politicians in Washington want to know when the Department of Veterans Affairs will finally be able to show improvement in the way it compensates veterans who are disabled. Officials had hoped a new computer system would help -- but, perhaps emblematic of the agency's struggles, it failed to work when officials tried to show it off to Congressional staff members recently.

The problem of backlogged claims has reached what can only be described as an epidemic. While the VA does process a huge amount of claims -- roughly a million a year over the last few years -- the number of backlogged claims has skyrocketed over about that same time. While less than four years ago there were less than 200,000 claims that were considered backlogged -- those pending for more than 125 days -- today there are more than 600,000 of those claims.

Veterans who fought for our country and became disabled as a result surely deserve better. How many other groups have to put up with so many requests essentially being deferred for more than four months?

The reasons for the backlog are not questioned -- the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have created many more claimants than the system was prepared to handle. While everyone who is eligible deserves a chance to access these disability benefits, it might take assistance from a veterans' benefits attorney to enable a claimant to be successful.

Source: Associated Press, "Lawmakers question progress on disability claims," Kevin Freking, March 13, 2013

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