The Department of Veterans Affairs announced this week that the agency was on track to eliminate its disability claims backlog by 2015.
According to Stars and Stripes, the VA has already reduced the backlog by one third since last March, when the backlog peaked at more than 600,000 pending cases. At the beginning of December, the agency had about 390,000 cases that were still awaiting responses after the VA's standard 125-day wait.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki claims that the reduction has been helped by updated computer systems and the mandatory overtime policy for claims processors, which was introduced last March but suspended by the VA in November, according to Reuters. Shinseki also implemented several other policies over the last year to streamline the processing system, including one that solely focused on the disability claims that have been pending for more than two years. The news source reported that 99.4 percent of those claims have been processed as of November.
While the VA has been making steady process with its disability claims backlog, Stars and Stripes added that the agency's on-going efforts do not take into account the backlog of disability claims appeals. Currently, there are more than 260,000 appeals pending a response.