Hagan pushes VA on backlogged claims backlog

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 3, 2013

RALEIGH (AP) — U.S Sen. Kay Hagan on Tuesday sought to increase pressure on the Department of Veterans Affairs to reduce a backlog of disability claims from service members returning from a decade of war.
“To me it’s unconscionable that this is the way we’re caring for men and women who have put their lives on the line for each and every one of us,” said the North Carolina Democrat, who called for more manpower to address the backlog.
Her remarks followed a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki last week urging him to send top officials to help cut down on the Southeast’s largest backlog and adopt procedures to prevent lengthy delays in the future. Her office cited VA figures indicating more than 7,000 veterans served by the Winston-Salem regional office, part of the VA’s Southern Area, have been waiting a year for a disability claim response, with delays for more than 700 extending beyond two years.
A report last month from the non-profit Center for Investigative Reporting placed the number of veterans waiting more than a year at the Winston-Salem facility at 8,524. The center found 31,700 veterans have been waiting beyond 125 days, the threshold for entering the backlog.
Disability claims have dominated headlines in recent months as outrage has mounted over reports of backlogs in the hundreds of thousands.