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Capitol Health Call
January 9, 2013

Veterans’ Benefits

JAMA. 2013;309(2):126. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.190487

A massive backlog of claims and poor record keeping by the Department of Defense continue to hamper efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to administer benefits to veterans for service-related medical conditions, said witnesses testifying at a December 4 hearing before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs' Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.

In his opening remarks, ranking member Rep Jerry McNerney (D, Calif) said that although the VA has added more than 11 000 employees to process claims for disability benefits and Congress has funded these requests, a backlog of more than 1.3 million claims remains on the books. He said administering benefits varied greatly depending on the regional offices handling the claims. For example, he noted, the average number of days pending for most claims is 255 days, but the wait in Oakland, Calif, is almost 426 days.

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