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Secretary McDonald Proposes Changes

By now anyone who follows any halfway credible news outlet is aware of the VA backlog. The secret is out, and everyone has an opinion about how to fix it. VA Secretary Bob McDonald recently took his opinion to Congress.

During his appeal, he was critical of outdated regulations and the ridiculous amount of rules that have been created over the years.

“Decades worth of law and policy layered upon each other have become cumbersome and clunky.”

One of McDonald’s primary points of concern was the “endless appeals process” and long wait times to simply get an answer. He partly blames the lengthy process on an inefficient system that allows veterans to introduce new evidence and illnesses during the appeals process. While this does allow for veterans to sometimes get larger settlements, McDonald claims it contributes to the long wait times.

McDonald is proposing a new streamlined appeals process that will cut down on these “unacceptable” wait times. There is support from both parties for this proposal, but it is an election year so bills of this size have a hard time getting passed.

Under McDonald’s leadership the VA has made headway on reducing the backlog. Three years ago an ambitious goal was set to eliminate all cases pending for four months or more by 2015.

When the goal was set the number of these cases was at 612,000, and by the end of 2015 it was 80,000. On the other hand, the number appeals has increased to 440,000 cases.

McDonald and other VA officials state that the increase in appeals is proportional to an increase in applications. Overall the percentage of appeals has held at 12%.

It’s unclear if this proposal will get through, so for now we will have to watch and wait. Jan Dils Attorneys at Law will be watching this proposal closely, and will be ready for any changes that are made to the appeals and application process.
Source: Military Times

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