Veterans Hotline: Demand cause of delay with pending claims

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Ed Wilkinson

Many veterans have claims pending for various issues. Following is an update on why I have to keep telling veterans to be patient; because there are not enough people to handle claims in a timely manner.

Also, the people who rate these claims have to take care of all of Colorado. Some of the bigger cities file 100 to 200 claims per day. Of course, there are four or five veterans service officers filing these claims.

These statistics are nationwide, but this will give you a perspective of what is happening.

■ Compensation benefits paid by the Veterans Administration

2012: $58.6 billion in benefits to 4.3 million veterans/survivors

■ Claims inventory

Total: 859,396

Backlog: 592,222 (claims pending more than 125 days)

■ Demand/production

Medical issues per claim increased 200 percent over the past decade. Medical issues processed: 2009 — 2.7 million; 2012 — more than 4 million

■ Claims in the inventory, by type

Current inventory: 60 percent are supplemental; 40 percent are original

78 percent of veterans filing supplemental claims already receive VA benefits

This kind of boggles the mind.

Reminder about VFW and Legion meetings

■ VFW: 7 p.m. April 15, 419 E. Victory Way

■ American Legion: April 16 at Legion Hall, 1055 County Road 7

Waiting to do paperwork means waiting for results

Many veterans have paperwork to be filled out and returned to me. As a reminder, the longer you wait to return these items, the longer it takes to process and get answers or results back.

If anyone has any items of interest to pass on to veterans, please bring them to me and I will add them to my next article.

Help a group that knits donations for veterans

Ladies at Sunset Meadows knit items and donate them to veterans. They would appreciate any items used in knitting to help defray the cost of yarn, needles, etc. Call Kathy Carlton at 826-9943 for more information. 

Craig Community Telehealth Clinic

The Craig Community Telehealth Clinic offers veterans state-of-the-art technology as well as on-site nursing support and remote practitioner availability. The goal is to provide an extensive array of health care services to our veterans in a setting that is accessible and professional. In order to appropriately plan and coordinate your visit, access to the clinic is by appointment only. The clinic cannot handle emergency needs. Flu shot walk-ins still are ongoing for vets currently enrolled in the VAMC health care system. Call 970-824-6721 with questions.

Tele-psych services are now available in Craig

Veterans now can get tele-pysch services at the Craig VA Telehealth clinic. All they need to do is call 970-263-2824 to set up a follow-up appointment for their mental health visit to be done there. If there are any questions, contact Jayne Scribner at VAMC Grand Junction via phone or email. Her email address is jayne.scribner@va.gov.

For information on these programs and/or other veterans benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St. (west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot).

Call 970-824-3246 or fax 970-824-7108. The email address is veterans@moffatcounty.net. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Other times can be arranged by appointment only.

Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

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