Veterans deluge VA with claims for toxic exposure benefits

More than 136,000 veterans have applied for benefits under a new toxic exposure law signed in August. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is processing claims at the fastest rate in history to avoid a backlog.

By

National News

November 28, 2022 - 2:40 PM

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas speaks at a news conference June 7, 2022, in Washington, D.C., on legislation to provide health care for veterans exposed to burn pits. Photo by (Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is processing claims at the fastest rate in its history, hoping to avoid a significant backlog as hundreds of thousands of veterans apply for health care and benefits under the landmark toxic exposure law Congress passed earlier this year.

The day after President Joe Biden signed the bill into law in August, veterans set an all-time record for benefits claims filed online and more than 136,000 have applied for benefits under the toxic exposure law as of mid-November. The VA expects the number of veterans and surviving family members applying could reach more than 700,000 in the coming months.

To address the surge in claims, VA is hiring more employees to provide health care and process applications, but officials do expect an increase in the backlog in the short term.

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