The Long Wait

Why is it taking so long for the VA to process my claim? This is a common question among veterans filing for VA disability benefits. A big reason that veterans wait such a long time is that there are a lot of claims to get through. For example, in Florida, there is one regional office in St. Petersburg to process the claims of all the veterans in that state. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, there are over 28,000 vets waiting, over 11,000 who have been waiting over a year, and the average wait time for vets filing their first claim is 433 days. But it’s important to keep in mind that the VA has prioritized processing new claims; once you’ve appealed your claim, the average wait time in St. Petersburg is 1,383 days.

In other areas of the country, where there’s a smaller population of veterans (or just a smaller population, period), the wait times aren’t quite as long. The regional office in Lincoln, Nebraska, has over 2,000 veterans waiting, with only 92 waiting longer than a year. The average wait time for first claims is 154 days, and average appeals time is 1,028 days.

Therefore, it’s important to keep in mind that filing a claim with the VA is a time-consuming process, but there are a couple of things you can do to speed things along. If you have been waiting years, contact your local senator or representative. Many of them have people in their offices who help veterans with their claims, and sometimes an inquiry by a senator or representative can move things along. Next, if it’s been at least a couple of years, and you haven’t received a decision from the VA, you can file a writ of mandamus with the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims. If you’ve been waiting a long time, please contact our office for a free consultation, and we will help you start that process.