NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - An analysis of the Veteran Administration’s own backlog cases in the Nashville system shows 7,222 veterans are currently caught up in a backlog of benefits claims.
Nearly half of those numbers, 47.4%, are cases older than four months.
The 7,222 cases are only those cases that require some kind of rating, such as PTSD, according to the website.
We found an additional 664 cases that are pending that do not require ratings.
Veteran Joey Ross said he has currently been waiting a year on his claim since being evaluated by a doctor for PTSD.
Ross received a letter a few days ago from the VA reading that they found errors in their processing of his case.
“They found errors on their side. It’s taken then almost a year to correct those? And I’m still waiting?” Ross said.
Ross is the second veteran to tell News4 Investigates he had to wait more than a year after being evaluated by a doctor for a determination on benefits.
Veteran Justin Watkins said he only heard from the VA after News4 Investigates started asking questions.
Once News4 Investigates started inquiring about the delay in Ross’ case, he said he got a call from the VA indicating his claim was being expedited.
A spokeswoman with the VA responded to our questions in an email, writing in part, "VBA has reviewed Mr. Ross’s current claim and contacted him on May 20, 2021 to provide specific claims information. We are diligently working to finalize Mr. Ross’s claim by gathering and reviewing all relevant information."
The spokeswoman went on to write that the pandemic temporarily halted the supply of critical evidence needed to render decisions on veterans' disability claims, including federal records and medical examinations.
"VBA is making progress in reducing this backlog. As of May 20, 2021, VBA’s claims backlog is approximately 189,000 (nationwide) which is an 11% improvement over the end of January 2021, when the claims backlog was 212,000," the spokeswoman wrote.