The last year and a half has been difficult for many Veterans seeking treatment at the VA, as well as for those Veterans seeking disability claims at the VA. There have been numerous delays, including C&P examination suspensions and claims postponements.
Unfortunately, the claims backlog at the VA is only going to get worse. As of right now, there are approximately 191,700 disability claims that have been delayed for over 125 days. Regrettably, the VA is expecting the backlog to severely increase by August. Thomas Murphy, VA’s acting undersecretary for benefits, announced that the VA is anticipating a “short-term spike” between 225,000 to 240,000 claims, which are over 125 days old, by August. The goal is to get that number to 100,000 claims by the end of fiscal year 2022.
Murphy has stated that not all of the challenges are due to the pandemic. He cited the recent Court order which requires the VA to re-adjudicated over 62,000 Blue Water Navy Claims, which were added to the VA in April. Additionally, the VA is about to begin processing claims for the Agent Orange presumptives, added by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. Those presumptive conditions are bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism (or Parkinson-like symptoms).