If you are a Veteran who has filed for VA Disability compensation, then you are aware that one of the biggest challenges you face is a long wait. At the current time, the average wait time for a VA Disability claim takes 2-4 years. There is a good chance that you aren’t aware of why this process takes so long. We addressed some of these issues in a previous blog post; however, a recent article by the Associated Press sheds even more light on the backlog at the VA.
The May 27th article states that 45 percent of the 1.6 million Veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking service connected compensation. In other words, the 720,000 new Veterans claiming service connected compensation have filed claims in a relatively short period of time.
The article goes on to state that the types of claims are also different than those in past wars. “The new Veterans have different types of injuries than previous Veterans did. That’s partly because improvised bombs have been the main weapon and because body armor and improved battlefield care allowed many of them to survive wounds that in past wars proved fatal.”
The AP breaks down the types of claims as follows:
Of those who have sought VA care:
-More than 1,600 (Veterans) lost a limb; many others lost fingers or toes.
-At least 156 are blind, and thousands of others have impaired vision.
-More than 177,000 have hearing loss, and more than 350,000 report tinnitus – noise or ringing in the ears.
-Thousands are disfigured, as many as 200 of them so badly that they may need face transplants. One-quarter of battlefield injuries requiring evacuation included wounds to the face or jaw, one study found.
Other Veterans have invisible wounds. More than 400,000 of these new Veterans have been treated by the VA for a mental health problem, most commonly, PTSD. Tens of thousands of Veterans suffered traumatic brain injury, or TBI – mostly mild concussions from bomb blasts – and doctors don’t know what’s in store for them long-term.
Disability claims from all Veterans soared from 888,000 in 2008 to 1.3 million in 2011. Last year’s included more than 230,000 new claims from Vietnam Veterans and their survivors because of a change in what conditions can be considered related to Agent Orange exposure. Those complex, 50-year-old cases took more than a third of available staff.
If you are a Veteran who has a claim pending, or if you have questions about applying, don’t hesitate to give our office a call: 1-877-526-3457. We would love to talk to you about your claim, and answer any questions you may have.