VA Takes a Brute Force Approach to the Claims Backlog

The department is requiring some staff to work overtime through September.

The Veterans Department has mandated overtime for its 15,000 employees who process disability claims in order to whittle down the backlog, which has drawn heat from Congress, veterans groups and even comedian Jon Stewart  on the “Daily Show.”

The mandatory overtime will run through Sept. 30, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. "This increased overtime initiative will provide more Veterans with decisions on their claims and will help us achieve our goal of eliminating the claims backlog,” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said.

Allison A. Hickey, VA’s undersecretary for benefits, said, “We’re committed to getting Veterans decisions on their claims as quickly and accurately as possible, we need to surge our resources now to help those who have waited the longest and end the backlog.”

The VA had 843,061 claims backlogged as of this Monday, down 1,993 from 845,054 May 6. Claims pending more than 125 days stood at 566,926 on Monday, down 7,715 from 574,641 on May 6.

If you like money, drawing overtime sure is better than the furloughs most other federal workers face this year.

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