What’s Up at the VA?

By:  Kayla Williams

You may have heard: there’s a big disability claims backlog at the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the part of the Department of Veterans Affairs that handles vets’ disability payments.

Nearly 600,000 of the 850,000 pending claims have been sitting around for more than 125 days.

Obviously, this is a huge problem. Unfortunately, much of the media coverage has been hyperbolic, misleading, or inaccurate.

There has been plenty of finger-pointing, and even calls for resignations, including in the pages of Time and on its Battleland blog. But there hasn’t been, frankly, enough time spent digging into the details.

My biggest fear is that the relentlessly negative coverage will drive veterans away from VA, preventing them from getting the medical care they need, or the compensation they deserve.

So I’d like to provide more history and nuance to the discussion.

Today, I’ll detail how the backlog came to be.

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