On my report from 2 weeks ago there was a backlog of 885,409 compensation and pension claims. On the report dated January 30, 2012, there were 886,887 claims for compensation and pension entitlement. That means there was an increase of only 1,478 claims in 2 the last weeks. That is a very little increase. The percentage of claims taking longer that 125 days to process increased slightly from 65.1% to 65.5%. Almost 2 out of every 3 claims is taking longer than the VA’s goal to process. Maybe we’ll soon see a decrease in this percentage.
I finally have appeal numbers to report again. As of the report dated January 30, 2012 there are 254,875 claims under appeal. That was an increase of 1,029 claims in the past week alone. When I think about over 1/4 million claims under appeal, I realize that is a tremendous amount of claims. This makes me ask questions like, “Why is this number so high? What can the VA do better to not only reduce this backlog, but how can the VA issue better rating decisions? Why are so many claims appealed?” “
Another issue I’ve discussed recently concerns the Cost of Living Allowance increase that went into effect on December 1, 2011. Veterans were supposed to see the increase in their January 1, 2012 payment. There were a large number of veterans who did not receive the automatic increase. The VA is processing their increase manually. This will take longer. The VA wants all increases processed by January 31, 2012. If you did not receive an increase on the January 1, 2012 payment, keep an eye on your account. The VA said they will deposit the increase directly into the veterans’ accounts. There are still a relatively large number of veterans who have not received their COLA increase yet. We’re now in the month of February. The next payments go out on March 1st. I hope the VA has caught up with all the COLA payments by then.