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VA Appeals Backlog

Here’s why the VA appeals backlog is still growing. In 2012, 254,604 appeals were pending with an average wait time of 903.1 days. In 2015, that number was 318,532 appeals pending and a 935.9 days average wait time. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) decided to investigate the growing appeals backlog. To do so, it studied the handling of 210 pending appeals at the Veteran Benefits Administration (VBA) between January 2016 and November 2017. The three significant findings of the investigation are summarized here.

Significant Periods of Inactivity at VBA: A period of inactivity is the amount of time between the date VBA could take action versus the date VBA did take action. Periods of inactivity accounted for 45-76% of total processing time.

VBA Leadership Prioritized the Claims Backlog Over the Appeals: Despite being aware that processing more claims would result in more appeals, VA dedicated resources disproportionately to process the claims backlog.

Processing Errors: In 13% or 630 appeals, the proper board remand instructions were not followed. While 17% or 2,300 appeals were closed prematurely. These veterans were not notified when their claims were closed, leaving them to believe their claim was still being adjudicated and giving them no chance to appeal again.

To learn more, read the full blog here – The VA Appeals Backlog is Still Growing: Here’s Why