Toomey warns VA he 'remains concerned' over backlog of disability claims

Toomey wrote another letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki on Thursday, after Shinseki responded to Toomey in December with an "upbeat assessment" on the ongoing problem of backlogged disability claims for veterans.

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"Eliminating the claims backlog is perhaps our largest and most complex challenge," Shinseki wrote in a letter to Toomey last month. "The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has developed, and is currently executing, an aggressive transformation plan that integrates people, process and technology initiatives in a comprehensive strategy to meet our 2015 goal of processing all disability claims in less than 125 days with 98 percent accuracy."

Toomey said he was still concerned because he's seen recent news reports that said there is little reason to be so upbeat about the situation.

"The VA is clearly working hard to address this longstanding issue that has frustrated our veterans for many years," Toomey wrote. "Nonetheless, I remain concerned. A recent press report indicated the Veterans Benefits Management System experienced a dramatic slowdown in the month of December."

Toomey said the VA's annual claims are expected to reach 1,250,000 this year, as more soldiers return injured from combat in Afghanistan.