California veterans are having to wait more than nine months for their claims to be considered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a review of VA data by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune
, the non-profit watchdog organization based in Berkeley found the rate of delayed cases worse in Los Angeles and Oakland at 96 percent and 94 percent, respectively.
The delays are also growing worse nationwide, with the VA taking on average more than eight months to process a claim. In June, for example, it took almost 50 percent longer than it did during the same month last year to process a claim, the Union Tribune reported.
In part this is because the agency has seen the number of new claims filed increase annually by 48 percent since 2010. Last year, 1.3 million veterans filed VA claims.
The department has vowed to eliminate the claims backlog by 2015 and has spent $300 million on a new computer system to help with processing. It has also hired 3,300 claims processors since 2010.
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