Veterans face another backlog as a quarter-million appeal disability claims

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Ted Richardson/For The Washington Post - Matthew Goldberg, a retired Army special forces soldier who fought the VA for disability compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries, at his home in Hampstead, N.C., on Sept. 7.
Ted Richardson/For The Washington Post – Matthew Goldberg, a retired Army special forces soldier who fought the VA for disability compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries, at his home in Hampstead, N.C., on Sept. 7.

 

As the Obama administration touts its recent progress in reducing the enormous backlog of veterans’ disability claims, a second backlog is rarely mentioned.More than a quarter-million veterans are appealing disability-claim decisions they say are wrong, and in some cases they can wait four years or more for a ruling, figures from the Department of Veterans Affairs show.

The 256,061 veterans appealing decisions represent an approximately 50 percent increase since President Obama took office. And more are coming. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals, which makes the final administrative decisions on appeals, expects its number of pending cases to double over the next four years.

“I’m not looking for any special treatment here,” said Matthew Goldberg, 47, a retired Army Special Forces soldier who served three tours in Iraq and earned three Bronze Star Medals. Since 2008, he has been appealing a VA decision that granted him limited disability compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder and a back injury.
 

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