On the SSA Web Site, it states that it takes between 3 to 5 months to receive an initial SSA disability decision. On the VA Web Site, it states that it takes up to 6 months to receive an initial VA disability decision. SSA Appeals take 2 or more years at OHA. VA Appeals take 3 or more years at the BVA.
Although initial disability processing times have improved over recent years due to Automation including Electronic Medical and Earnings Records, the Appeal processes have not improved. As the American population ages and ongoing military conflicts create more VA claims, backlogs will increase.
Claimants and Veterans do not know whether their Appeal will take 1 year or 3 years, leading to economic problems and severe frustration. The longer an Appeal takes, more phone calls and letters are received, and more Administrative Burden which takes away from other claims. Very few details are provided on claims at OHA or BVA.
Thoughts on eliminating backlogs:
* Shift some development requirements from OHA or BVA, to FO’s and RO’s. Claim development is basically the same at all levels.
* Offload SSA Appealed claims to less backlogged OHA’s. With teleconferencing, this is possible.
* Give the claimant/Veteran specific detailed information about the status of the Appeal. Give a realistic timeframe to the claimant/Veteran. This will prevent a lot of further inquiries.
* Hire additional staffing in the OHA/BVA. By specializing workloads, more efficient and effective processing can be completed in a timely manner.
By completing the above, we will reduce cost and improve the output quality. We will improve the speed of government operations.
The American Taxpaying public deserves better. We need to eliminate backlogs, give complete claim details, and become more accountable to the American public. The disabled person has enough to worry about taking care of themselves, then us continuing to create undue hardship, due to current Appeals claims processing systems.