Report: Atlanta VA has over 37,000 claims to review

Source: WGCL

According to the VA's "Monday Morning Work Load" report, right now the Atlanta VA has 37,751 claims to review. That number includes disability claims, benefit claims and burial claims, but what it doesn't include are appeals claims.

Right now Atlanta has 16,112 appeals that need review and only three teams for the task. Situated off of Clairmont Road in Dekalb County, Atlanta's VA office is dealing with a staggering case load.

"I will typically get 10 to 15 phone calls a day," said attorney Drew Early.

Early is veteran and an attorney specializing in VA claims. Every day he gets calls from vets asking for help and it usually comes after the VA denies a claim for benefits or other support.

"The bureaucracy is so cumbersome the average person doesn't know what the VA wants or maybe it's not expressed to them what they need," said Early.

The VA aims to respond to claims within four months but Early says it usually takes an average of 8 to 10 months for vets to hear a response after a claim is filed. Many vets in need of health care, housing and disability can't afford to wait.

"What do you do for people that are truly disabled that can't afford to wait these lengths of time. It's a real issue," said Early.

When it comes to appealing a claim, the process is even longer. Early estimates it takes three and a half years for the Board of Appeals in Atlanta to review a claim. That's because there's only three teams with about 10 people on each to review close to 17,000 appeals.

He says the change needs to happen by educating the workers who are helping the veterans file their claims in the first place and to make sure no paperwork information is missing.

"Put the right people, experienced people up front, helping the veteran or surviving spouse an SAYING this is what we need. then i think it could be better," said Early.

It's not just the regional office here in Atlanta struggling. Early estimates the average wait time for national VA appeals is about 4 and a half years.

According to VA numbers, nationally their amount of claims have decreased by more than half since 2013.

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