One veteran has been waiting 23 years to have his claim adjudicated by the VA Cleveland Regional Office and the average appeals claim at that office has been pending for more than 400 days according to Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH), who met with Director Anthony Milons Sr. and several Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) to discuss the appeals process and the backlog of appeals.
“Several veterans living in Ohio’s 16th District have expressed concerns about the appeals backlog that continues to grow in Cleveland,” said Renacci. “According to the VA Cleveland Regional Office, the average appeals claim has been pending for more than 400 days. This is unacceptable.”
Currently, there are only five decision review officers at the VA Cleveland Regional Office who are tasked with wading through nearly 12,000 backlogged appeal claims. Despite the fact that there are more appeals pending in Cleveland than new claims, the decision was made to transfer 13 decision review officers to initial claims processing, compounding the problem of backlogged appeals.
“It is critical that Director Milons takes the appropriate steps to develop and implement an efficient and effective process to eliminate the backlog. Veterans have given up so much to serve our country, it is our responsibility to ensure that they receive the benefits they have earned once they return home,” said Renacci.
Renacci said that while he was proud to work with Congress on the bipartisan Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act that was designed to bring reform and accountability to the VA, he said there is much more that needs to be done.