During the Disabled American Veterans’ convention, Obama announced that the number of requests for assistance of the backlogs in Veterans disability benefits has dropped by nearly one-fifth since the claims reached more than 600,000 recently.
In his statement, Obama said, “After years of military service, you shouldn’t have to wait years for the benefits you’ve earned.”
Also, Obama took the chance to announce a national plan to back mental health research and commitments from 250 community colleges and universities to help veterans earn college degrees or get the credentials they need to get a job.
Apparently, the said plan is also in line with federal government’s effort in reducing the number of veterans who completely rely on the federal program.
Incidentally, the number of claims only started to rise after Obama made it easier for Vietnam War veterans who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange, those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Gulf War veterans infected with Malaria, West Nile virus and other infectious disease to obtain benefits.
Subsequently, due to some aggressive steps taken by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), such as requiring claim processors in its 56 regional benefits offices to work overtime and moving from a manual to a computerized system to help speed up the judgment of claims, the number of backlogs decreases according to the administration officials.
So far, out of the 780,000, some 496,000 of which are now considered backlogged following the 20 percent reduction that Obama highlighted at the convention. A claim is considered backlogged if it has been in the system for about 125 days or approximately four months.
“Today I can report that we are not where we need to be, but we are making progress. So, after years when the backlog kept growing, finally the backlog is shrinking,” Obama further said.
It could be remembered that just a few months ago, in an article posted by a Los Angeles social security disability firm in its blog, it showcases news about the lawmakers’ call on Obama to ease the backlog of Veterans’ disability benefits. Now, they can probably view the fruit of their labor following Obama’s announcement.