Shinseki added that a “robust plan” has been made to clear the backlog which has been caused by transferring paperwork to digital formats, a growing number of claims and syncing the VA’s records with the Pentagon’s.
Shinseki noted that its Veterans Benefits Management System is currently used in 20 regional offices.
“We’re in paper, we need to get out of paper, we still get paper from DOD and other agencies. We have commitments that in 2014 we will be electronically processing our data and sharing it,” said Shinseki.
The VA chief also said that the agency plans to have all 56 regional offices using the automation tool by the end of 2013.
“There are many people, including myself, who are losing patience as we continue to hear the same excuses from VA about increased workload and increased complexity of claims,” Florida’s Rep. Jeff Miller, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said during a hearing Wednesday.
The Hill reports that there are about 630,000 backlogged claims. Recent reports also said that 70% of disability claims that are currently backlogged were made more than 125 days ago.