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Backlog in Benefits Claims Has VA Struggling

The Department of Veterans Affairs is struggling to complete an enormous backlog of claims forms from military service members seeking educational and medical benefits. Even the implementation of an electronic records system hasn't lessened the work the VA has to do by much. With nearly 400,000 claims awaiting processing, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki says the process of analyzing all the claims is just too long.

“[The backlog] is too big and veterans are waiting too long for decisions,” Shinseki said. Many veterans are finding their claims denied, causing an even longer process to ensue for eligible service members. The enactment of the Post-9/11 GI Bill didn't do much to ease the backlog of claims, either. In fact, it worsened the situation by adding thousands and thousands of claims that practically bum-rushed the VA's office.

A quarter of the 400,000 claims needing processing have been unprocessed for over 125 days. Over $70 million was issued in emergency funds to veterans needing tuition and schooling finances. The VA has implemented different steps to help minimize the processing time of benefits claims, many of which remain in effect.

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