Last year veterans filed 1,300,000 new claims, and the VA system is unable to keep up. The VA was only able to decide 1,000,000 of these claims, and thus, the backlog continues to grow. A recent New York Times article statesthat the bureacratic culture of the VA is a substantial reason for the delay. The Times reports that:
"On one hand, Department of Veterans Affairs employees are urged to be advocates for veterans. 'I tell them: you’re going to take care of these young men and women for life,' Allison A. Hickey, a retired Air Force brigadier general who is under secretary for benefits, said in an interview.
Yet those workers are also required to be stewards of the public dime, called on to distinguish the truly needy from the less needy from the fraudulent.
That means they must evaluate veterans to determine whether their illnesses or injuries are real, and whether they are the result of military service, or something else. If those problems are deemed “service connected,” the workers must then quantify their severity and attach dollar values."
For the complete report, see James Dao, "Veterans Wait for Benefits as Claims Pile Up," September 27, 2012, New York Times.