150,000 more Veterans received faster, more accurate decisions than FY13
More than 1.3 million Veterans received decisions on their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation and pension claims in fiscal year (FY) 2014 – the highest number in VA’s history, surpassing last year’s record-breaking production by more than 150,000 claims.
This second year of record-breaking production comes as VA continues to transform the way it provides benefits and services, to deliver faster and higher quality decisions, to Veterans, their families and survivors. At the end of the year, the disability claims backlog (defined as any disability claim pending longer than 125 days) was reduced by 60-percent from the peak backlog in March 2013 and is at its lowest number in nearly 4 years. Veterans waited, on average, 119 fewer days for a decision on their claim than Veterans did in FY 2013. VA is on target to hit its 2015 goal.
These improvements were not made at the expense of quality. The accuracy of VA’s decisions continues to rise from an 83-percent accuracy level in 2011 to a 90-percent accuracy level today. When focusing specifically at the medical issue level, accuracy is at 96 percent.
“I am so proud of our employees – more than half of whom are Veterans themselves – who continue to work tirelessly to deliver the benefits our Veterans have earned through their service to our Nation,” said Under Secretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. “But we all also recognize there is still much more work to do to better serve Veterans.”
VA’s move to a web-based electronic claims processing system has enabled a quicker, more accurate and integrated benefits delivery. VA once processed 5,000 tons of paper annually – today it processes 93 percent of Veterans’ disability claims electronically. One in seven Veterans who submit a claim to change the status of a family member now does so online and more than half of those are paid in one to two days. VA’s progress would not have been possible without the support of its strong partners. Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) and State and County Veterans Service Officers embraced the Fully Developed Claim (FDC) program, which enables VA to make faster claim decisions when Veterans submit their claims with all available evidence and certify they have no more evidence to submit. Now, 37 percent of the claims receives from VSOs are FDCs.
In FY 2014, more than 4.5 million Veterans and survivors received more than $72.7 billion in VA compensation and pension benefits.