By Shane Shifflett & David Suriano, Center for Investigative Reporting on March 27, 2013, 6:32 p.m.
Disabled troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan face an unexpected battle: the Department of Veterans Affairs' still-massive stack of disability benefit claims, leading to processing delays of up to two years.
Since the Center for Investigative Reporting began tracking this problem, delays have worsened. The percentage of veterans waiting more than four months for a decision is now higher than 70 percent, despite the VA’s promises of reform.
VA officials attributed the problem to a flood of wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans coupled with aging Vietnam veterans filing new claims, inundating the system just as the VA is working to improve it.
This map displays 58 VA regional offices and the number of backlogged claims by week on a national, regional and local level. Select a city by clicking on its circle. Select a data point under the map for more detail. This application will update itself every week to show each office's change in pending claims.
*Data collected through the Department of Veterans Affairs' online resources and Freedom of Information Act requests.
*See the VA's Monday Morning Reports and its Aspire system for more information.