Longer Wait For Disability Benefits In VA Secretary's Home State

Diane Haar

Although the federal Veterans Administration has been taking heat nationally for a growing backlog and increased times to process disabled veterans benefits, the office in VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s home state of Hawaii has been doing particularly poorly in processing claims in a timely manner.

And despite promises to improve its performance, agency data examined by Civil Beat, shows that in the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Honolulu office, veterans are waiting months longer and the backlog of disability claims has gotten significantly worse than a year ago.

In January, the latest period for which figures were available, 70 percent of compensation disability claims nationally had been pending longer than the goal of 125 days. That’s brought protests from veterans groups and criticism from Congress. However, the backlog was worse in the Honolulu office, where 77 percent of those claims had been pending longer than the 125 days.

The backlog of cases in Honolulu has grown since January 2012, when 69.4 percent of similar claims had been pending for that long.

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