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PACT Act: Can VA Fight Off Future Backlog?

Benjamin Krause

Aug 15, 2022

With the PACT Act, VA will see an unprecedented influx of new claims from veterans previously denied. How many? The agency estimates 3.5 million veterans may be eligible for new benefits.

Back in 2011, VA created a huge backlog and spent the better part of the Obama and Trump administrations sorting out. That backlog was created with the influx of up to 250,000 new Vietnam veteran claims following law changes to various presumptive conditions.

VA was ill equipped and too understaffed to handle the workload, and the agency’s backlog served as fodder at Congress to justify significantly boost its funding for IT systems, the paperless claims system, and other efforts. Some worked and some did not.

In the end, VA and VSOs worked together on a few remedies that resulted in veterans surrendering certain due process and procedural rights to help VA do its job. It also cost taxpayers in IT fixes and other remedies. Some worked. Some flopped.

But, were veterans’ sacrifices of their rights worth it?

Claims are processed more quickly a decade later, but the rights of veterans for remedies after a bad decision are more restrictive.


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