Veterans Voice Frustration Over Benefits Backlog to VA Secretary Shinseki
Watch Video Watch an excerpt of PBS NewsHour's interview with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. He responds to Rachel McNeill, a Iraq War veteran affected by the backlog. Expect a full broadcast story and extended interviews later this week.
Nearly 250,000 veterans wait more than a year for their medical claims to wind through the Veterans Administration before receiving their earned benefits, according to an investigation conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting. The report, based on the VA's own internal numbers, also shows that almost 1 million veterans are currently waiting for their benefit claims to be processed and that the wait time has grown 2,000 percent in the past four years. For more statistics, see this infographic.
The VA says it has a plan and that things will improve. The agency says it aims to have all claims processed within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy in 2015.
The video above is an excerpt of an interview for a story about the benefits backlog at the VA. We will also publish longer interviews we conducted with the veterans and Secretary Shinseki in the coming days, in addition to the full broadcast report, which will air on PBS NewsHour.