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Report Blasts VA for Claims Error Rates, Inefficiency

A report by the conservative-leaning National Center for Policy Analysis has blasted the Veterans Administration for chronic inefficiency and poor disability claims processing performance. The Veterans Administration is disputing the findings.

The original report, The Veterans Disability System: Problems and Solutions, found that over 6 in 10 denials of claims were found to be erroneous on appeal. This represents a significant amount of total claims, since 31 percent of initial claims are denied. The study’s authors find that the majority of these denials are wrongful.]

The study also finds that the VA actually loses applications about 4 percent of the time, resulting in further delaying an already lengthy process.

The VA, however, has disputed the study’s findings, arguing that the study was based on insufficient sample sizes, and that only 1.2 percent of appealed denials were actually reversed upon review.

Meanwhile, the average time it takes to process a VA disability claim has bloated to its highest level in 20 years – exploding 40 percent last year alone.

In fiscal 2012, the average days to complete a VA disability compensation or pension claim rose to 262 days, up from 188 days in fiscal 2011, according to a recently completed VA performance report.

The 262-day average is the highest that measure has been in at least the past 20 years for which numbers were available.

The Veterans Administration’s performance actually deteriorated over the course of the last year on a number of metrics:

  • The average time to complete an education claim jumped to 31 days from 24 days; the long-term goal is 10 days.
  • The average time to complete a burial claim jumped to 178 days from 113 days; the long-term goal is 21 days.
  • The average time in the appeals system for veterans who dispute their disability compensation decision jumped to 866 days from 747 days; the long-term goal is 400 days.

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