Processing of retroactive Agent Orange claims nearly complete - June 30th

 

 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that nearly 230,000 claims have already been processed for the three newest Agent-Orange related conditions through June 2012, including over 150,000 claims required to be adjudicated under the order of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Nehmer v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The near completion of these complex Nehmer claims enables VA to redirect 1,200 employees who were dedicated to reviewing the Agent Orange cases toward addressing the current backlog of disability claims.

 

Given the complexity of the historical casework, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) allocated its most experienced decision makers, about 37 percent of its rating staff, to processing Agent Orange claims. VBA’s 13 resource centers were exclusively dedicated to re-adjudicating these claims. Even with this allocation of 37 percent of the rating staff dedicated to Agent Orange claims, VA processed over 1 million disability claims in each of the last 2 years, an unprecedented number.

 

“With the Nehmer claims drawing to a close, those resources can be redirected to reducing the current backlog of claims that is overwhelming the VA,” said Jim Richman, Director of Claims Counseling and Representation at the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC). “Our Claims Counselors at TVC have been helping Veterans from all eras file claims for the benefits they have earned, and that number is only expected to increase.”

 

The TVC Claims Counselors assist Texas Veterans, survivors and dependents in obtaining non-educational federal benefits and entitlements from the VA. In Fiscal Year 2011, Claims Counselors filed 125,179 new monetary claims and 16,101 appeals, which is an 18 percent increase from the year before. Claims Counselors filed 107,230 new monetary claims in Fiscal Year 2010.

 

To find your nearest Claims office, please visit http://www.tvc.texas.gov/documents/tvc_directory.pdf.

 

 

 

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