The Washington Post

VA warns disability claims progress ‘at risk’

The Department of Veterans Affairs warned Tuesday night that the government shutdown will reverse its progress on lowering the backlog of disability claims.

Department of Veterans Affairs (Charles Dharapak/AP) – Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters.

The department said it can no longer pay overtime to claims processors, an initiative begun in May that department officials credit as a major reason for a 30 percent drop in the inventory of disability claims over the last six months.

“Due to the government shutdown, this clear progress for veterans and their families is at risk without immediate action by Congress to make fiscal year 2014 funding available,” the VA said in its statement.

“Overtime ends today,” Tommy Sowers, the VA’s assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs, wrote in a tweet Tuesday. “After decreasing backlog by 30% we project it will start increasing”

The VA released its statement Tuesday evening in response to a request from The Washington Post for more details about the impact of the shutdown on overtime for claims processors.

When the VA announced the overtime in May, it was only slated to last until Sept. 30. However, beginning in late July, VA undersecretary for benefits Allison Hickey told several veteran service organizations that the initiative would be extended into November.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
In defense of dads
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
How to keep your child safe in the water
How your online data can get hijacked
Play Videos
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Next Story
Josh Hicks · October 1, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.