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Obama Plugs a Reduction in the SSDI Backlog

Posted on Sep 04, 2013

According to President Barack Obama, progress is being made to reduce the volume of backlogged disability claims. As the President spoke to a group of disabled veterans, he stated that the requests for assistance have fallen by almost 20 percent since their peak only a few months earlier.

In his address at the Disabled American Veterans’ convention, Obama announced another plan to guide mental health research for veterans. He also stated that he planned to help veterans earn college degrees and get credentials necessary to find jobs.

One of the biggest concerns for disabled veterans is the backlog of disability claims. These claims are necessary after illness or injury sustained from years serving in the military.

The number of disability claims grew after President Obama opened up the disability claims process to Vietnam veterans who were exposed to herbicide Agent Orange. He also made it easier for veterans to get benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and for diseases, such as malaria, West Nile virus, or other infections.

The Department of Veterans Affairs took aggressive steps to get the backlog of disability claims for veterans reduced by requiring claims processors to work overtime, and to move to a more automated system.

Approximately 780,000 claims are pending, and 496,000 are considered backlog. Claims are considered backlogged if they have been in processing for over 125 days, or approximately four months. These numbers include the 20 percent reduction claimed by President Obama, and are down from the 611,000 backlogged claims at the end of March.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, has promised to eliminate the backlog by 2015.

Clearly, the backlog of disability claims is a concern both to veterans and civilians who depend on disability insurance income. Our New England disability law firm will continue to monitor these developments in the future.

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John L. Keefe
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