James Koutz, himself a Vietnam veteran, addressed a routine joint meeting of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees last week. The Army Times reports:
“Disabled veterans waiting longer than 125 days for their initial disability claims to be processed should receive interest on top of their retroactive benefits, says the new commander … [Koutz] said payments with interest would be a small recognition by the government that veterans had been forced to wait too long for pay they deserved.
“… The issue of delayed claims is not new, but Koutz said it seems to be one without a solution. The Veterans Affairs Department has been hiring more people to process claims and changing how claims are handled in an effort to shorten processing times and start payments faster, yet the backlog of claims continues to grow.”
For more, read our story on delays in the veterans’ benefits claims process, inspired by the work of the Center for Investigative Reporting, which produced a map showing claims processing statistics nationwide. I’ve written up a guide for reporters interested in localizing the coverage.
>> Help us cover this story: What’s your experience with veteran disability claims?