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Merkley Calls On VA To Speed Benefits To OR Vets
Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley has called on the Department of Veterans Affairs to speed benefits to the 12,698 veterans across Oregon who are waiting for their claims to be processed. The average wait time for veterans to get an answer to their claims is 317 days.
“Our service members have stood up for America overseas, and they should not have to wait and fight for benefits to which they are entitled once they return home. Put simply, they deserve better,” wrote Merkley. “I am requesting a report on the reasons behind this backlog and to hear directly from the agency about the specific plans to address this backlog and help our veterans get the benefits they need in a timely matter. Our veterans should not have to wait nearly a year for their claims to be processed and I look forward to learning more about your efforts to reduce the waiting time.”
Nationally, the VA has reported steady annual increases in the number of claims received, especially following regulatory changes related to Agent Orange presumptions and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Reports show the number of veterans waiting more than a year for their benefits grew from 11,000 in 2009 to 245,000 at the end of 2012.