The VA backlog has been steadily increasing since the onslaught of the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020. Although additional employees have been added to assist with the overwhelming number of VA disability applications requiring processing, the number of applications on backlog continues to grow larger. This increases the processing time for VA disability claims, making it difficult for veterans to receive the proper care.
In 2023, the backlog has increased to over 300,000 claims. Although claims are being adjudicated quickly, with over one million processed a year, the backlog continues to grow.
The backlog problem has existed for years and finally leveled out after 2015, but the COVID 19 pandemic increased the backlog significantly. It is believed the economy, the expansion of acceptance of Agent Orange related conditions and the rise in the average number of medical conditions cited per veteran have all contributed to the delay.
Vietnam veterans averaged three to four medical conditions while veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars average approximately 8.5 medical conditions per claimant.
It is crucial for the VA to address this issue effectively in order to support and fulfill its commitment to those who have served our country.