VA urges ‘hiring surge’ to reduce veterans’ appeals backlog

By HOPE YEN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Department of Veterans Affairs is warning of a rapidly growing backlog for veterans who seek to appeal decisions involving disability benefits. It says it will need much more staff even as money remains in question due to a tightening Trump administration budget.

The red flag is included in a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday. The VA says the wait time of as much as five years for veterans seeking resolution of their claims would continue to grow without a “hiring surge.”

The VA says without the staff, the backlog could exceed 1 million within a decade. It estimates veterans could have to wait an average of 8.5 years.

The department currently provides $63.7 billion in disability compensation payments to about 4.1 million veterans.

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