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2007-03-22
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Department of Veterans Affairs Continues to Struggle

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Although the Walter Reed incident over disabled veteran patient care has been stealing the headlines, the Department of Veterans Affairs is struggling even more on the back end. As of 2003, more than 2.3 million veterans were already receiving compensation for disabilities and more than 600,000 new claims are expected from veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in the immediate future. Workloads reported by the VA indicate more than 600,000 claims remain unprocessed with an average wait of six months. Many cases have taken longer than a year to process. Given the current state of enrollment, the government forecasts paying $2.3 billion in compensation payments in 2008. Solutions have varied from denying claims by tightening the definitions of disability to gaining congressional support to boost the budget for VA employees and payouts.



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