More Veterans Caught in Disability Compensation Appeals Backlog, Allsup Reports

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By Marketwired - Medical and Healthcare   
Tuesday, 05 November 2013 09:55

Allsup Issues Ranking of VA Regional Offices by Pending Appeals Since 2008; Provides 10 Tips to Veterans for Getting Through Disability Claims Backlog

BELLEVILLE, IL--(Marketwired - Nov 5, 2013) - Veterans with disabilities in Texas, Florida, California, Georgia and North Carolina are among those facing the longest lines of pending appeals for service-connected disabilities at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Offices, according to an analysis of VA data by Allsup, which provides veterans disability appeals services.

In the shadow of Veterans Day observances, this data highlights the ongoing challenge for veterans seeking compensation for impairments and injuries incurred through service to the country. The report by Allsup finds that certain VA offices have a much longer line of veterans waiting for their disability compensation appeals to be heard. Nationwide, more than 253,000 veterans are waiting for their disability compensation appeals to be adjudicated. Allsup found the VA Regional Offices (ROs) with the most service-connected disability claims pending at the appeals level are:

1. St. Petersburg, Fla. - 22,581
2. Houston - 16,725
3. Atlanta - 14,334
4. Waco, Texas - 14,268
5. Winston-Salem, N.C. - 11,327
6. Montgomery, Ala. - 11,014
7. Cleveland - 9,647
8. Roanoke, Va. - 8,169
9. Oakland, Calif. - 7,750
10. Columbia, S.C. - 7,378

By state, Texas has the most with 30,993 appeals pending at two ROs, followed by Florida, 22,581; California, 17,134 (at three ROs); Georgia, 14,334; and North Carolina, 11,327. (Find the complete Veterans Disability Compensation Appeals Backlog report at: www.allsup.com/media/files/2013-Veterans-Appeals-Ranking.pdf.)

Analysis by Allsup shows veterans disability compensation claims pending at the appeals level have increased by more than 78 percent since 2008. The increase of claims pending has grown an average of nearly 12.5 percent per year, with the largest jump -- more than 21 percent -- between 2009 and 2010.

Veterans appealing their compensation claims face multiple steps in the appeals process. The average wait was 270 days in fiscal year 2012 to receive another decision on their claim, reported by the VA as time between the filing of the Notice of Disagreement to the receipt of the Statement of the Case. At the next level -- the Board of Veterans' Appeals -- the average wait from filing to disposition is 1,040 days for FY 2012. It can take some veterans up to five years to see their compensation claims resolved.

"It's important that veterans understand that the appeals backlog continues to grow," explained Brett Buchanan, an Army veteran and VA-accredited claims agent at the Allsup Veterans Disability Appeal Service(SM). "This means that if their decision was denied or remanded, they could be in for a long wait if they appeal, and they may need to get help from a VA-accredited claims agent who has experience navigating the difficult VA disability process."

Ten Tips for the Veterans Disability Claims Backlog

Earlier this year, the VA announced a plan to expedite final and provisional decisions to reduce the backlog of disability compensation claims. They reported some progress this summer. Currently, the VA's backlog stands at more than 700,000 claims pending at the initial adjudicatory stage, prior to reaching the appeals level.

With the partial federal government shutdown in October, the VA reported it anticipated delays in these activities and the potential to lose ground on progress made for veterans. "Despite these obstacles, the VA continues to work aggressively to reduce the claims backlog. But it still means long waits for veterans who are appealing their decisions," Buchanan said.

Allsup outlines the following steps to help veterans with disability compensation claims.

1. Determine eligibility.
2. Meet service-connected disability requirements.
3. Obtain a doctor's agreement on the current disability.
4. File as soon as possible.
5. Get help.
6. Prepare an accurate medical record.
7. Meet deadlines.
8. Check the VA rating.
9. Reduce spending.
10. Don't give up.

For detail on steps see full news release at http://www.allsup.com/More-Veterans-Caught-In-Backlog.

See a complete listing of the Veterans Disability Compensation Appeals Backlog provided by Allsup at: www.allsup.com/media/files/2013-Veterans-Appeals-Ranking.pdf.

For more information about filing VA disability appeals, call (888) 372-1190.

ABOUT ALLSUP
Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, go to http://www.Allsup.com or visit Allsup on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Allsupinc.

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