Update on Veteran's Benefits
Since 2009, the backlog of compensation claims has grown. While VA completed a record-breaking 1 million claims per year in fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012, the number of claims received continues to exceed the number processed. In response, VA is implementing a comprehensive Transformation Plan—a series of people, process and technology initiatives—to increase productivity and accuracy of disability claims processing. Once the Transformation is fully implemented, VA expects to systematically reduce the backlog and reach its 2015 goal of eliminating the claims backlog.
The length of time it takes to complete a claim depends on several factors, such as the type of claim filed, complexity of disability(ies), the number of disabilities claimed, and the availability of evidence needed to decide the claim.
Historically, approximately 2.6 percent of veterans with pending VA disability benefits compensation claims die while awaiting a claims decision, according to the department. One of the problems with the lengthy wait in claims approval is how the claim is handled if the veteran dies while the claim is in process. Currently only the spouse of a veteran, minor children and parents of the deceased veteran are eligible to receive their benefits after death.
In February 2014, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller and Rep. Jackie Walorski introduced H.R. 4102, legislation that would make an award of VA benefits issued on or after the date of a veteran’s death payable to the veteran’s estate. The proposed legislation aims to be consistent with estate laws already in place, so it would allow payments issued on or after the date of death to go to the estate of the veteran.