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Fact Sheet: Veteran Benefits and Backlog Update

September 27, 2023

Fact Sheet: Veteran Benefits and Backlog Update

All Stats as of 9/24/23

 

As we approach the end of the fiscal year, VA continues to deliver more benefits, more quickly, to more Veterans than ever before in our nation’s history. Here is an update on the benefits numbers that matter most to Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors:

  • Veteran claims processed by VA: In fiscal year, 2023, VA has processed 1.93 million total Veteran claims —on track to surpass last year’s all-time record total by 16%. This marks the 3rd year in a row that VA has set a record for most claims processed in our nation’s history.
  • Earned benefits delivered to Veterans: In fiscal year 2023, VA has awarded more than $151 billion in C&P benefits to Veterans, an increase of 16.5% over last fiscal year and more than any other year in VA history.
  • Claims filed by Veterans: Veterans have filed more than 2.38 million total benefits claims in fiscal year 2023 — 39.3% more year-to-date than last fiscal year, which was the previous all-time record. Veterans have also submitted more than 2.25 million “intents to file” during this fiscal year — 59% more than all of last fiscal year and also an all-time record. This increase in claims filed is a direct result of the largest outreach campaign in VA history, which VA is using to encourage every Veteran, family member, and survivor to apply for the care and benefits they deserve.
  • Claims inventory and backlog: The claims inventory (the total number of claims that VA is processing right now) is 1,089,291 claims and the backlog (the number of claims pending for longer than 125 days) is 301,214 claims. As a result of VA’s efforts to process claims more quickly, just 27% of claims in house (inventory) are older than 125 days (backlog), compared to 70.2% in 2013 – the last time inventory was nearly this high. Additionally, VA is now processing claims 217 days faster than in 2013 and 15 days faster than in 2022, meaning that Veterans are receiving their earned benefits more quickly than in the past.

How VA is tackling the backlog:

First and foremost, it’s a great thing that record numbers of Veterans are applying for their earned benefits. In fact, we are currently executing the largest outreach campaign in VA history because we want every Veteran, family member, and survivor to apply for the care and benefits they deserve. And when they do apply, we will stop at nothing to deliver those benefits as quickly as possible.

As noted above, VA is currently delivering more benefits, more quickly, to more Veterans than ever before — and we’re doing it by dramatically increasing the staff that processes Veterans’ claims, increasing the productivity of our employees, and taking steps to automate the claims process.

Because of these efforts:

      • * The average claim is processed by VA in 130 days. This is 217 days faster than in 2013 and 15 days faster than in 2022 – meaning that Veterans are receiving their earned benefits more quickly than in the past, even during this historic surge in claims.
      • * Claims over 125 days (backlog) are down to 27% of total inventory, compared to 70% in 2013 – the last time inventory was nearly this high.

So, while claims are surging due to the PACT Act and VA’s aggressive outreach campaign, we are working through those claims at record rates. And as we get farther from the signing of the PACT Act, the surge in claims will subside but our increased speed will not – and the backlog will go down. 

Key background statistics:

  • Increased claims processing speed: VA has processed more than 8,000 Veteran claims in a day 105 different times this year. Before this year, VA had only processed more than 8,000 claims in a day only six times in VA’s history.
  • Increased hiring: Over the past two years, VA has hired and trained 11,480 new claims processors, growing our claims processing workforce by approximately 58% since FY 2021. To continue increasing claims processing speed, we plan to bring on thousands of additional claims raters in the coming year.