“Issuing provisional decisions not only provides Veterans with applicable benefits much more quickly, but also gives them an additional one-year safety net to submit further evidence should it become available,” Hickey said in a statement.
The department has about 800,000 pending claims in its inventory, and nearly 600,000 have waited more than 125 days.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has vowed to eliminate the backlog by 2015.
Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), the top Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, praised the department for Friday’s move. But he said that it still did not resolve the underlying problem with the VA’s problems moving away from paper records and into an electronic system.