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Disability claims wait time grows for metro veterans

According to reports, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is processing claims from sparsely populated states in half the time it is taking for Northern California claimants. Veterans who suffer war-related disability claims may be in desperate need of financial assistance, but have been forced to wait up to a year or more for their claims to be processed. Many claimants seek disability compensation for combat injuries including head and back injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In a new report, veterans in the Bay Area, California were found to be at a geographic disadvantage. In places like Fargo, North Dakota or Lincoln, Nebraska, veterans often win a quick resolution for compensation claims. In metropolitan areas, veterans are forced to wait for longer periods of time. Veterans who filed at offices in Oakland, Los Angeles or San Diego waited more than nine months on average.

While the VA has vowed to improve its claim-process in urban areas, progress does not seem to be underway. Nationwide, the VA took more than 8 months to process a claim in June-50% longer than the year before. According to an investigative report, veterans served by the VA's Oakland office waited more than 125 days for a response on their claims. In June, the average wait for a veteran to get an answer on a disability claim was 11 months-up 35% from the year before.

Many veterans are discouraged and frustrated by the claims process. While a new computer system and the hiring of new claims processors was suppose to alleviate the backlog, the number of veterans waiting for a decision has grown. An experienced disabilities attorney may be able to help you protect your rights, document injuries, and effectively collect the benefits you need and deserve.

Source: San Francisco Gate, "Veterans play waiting game for claims," Aaron Glantz, Aug. 29, 2012

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