Despite progress in backlog, thousands of Florida’s veterans still wait for benefits

As VA backlog keeps shrinking, thousands of Florida veterans still wait for their benefits.

News Story (Florida)

Monica Disare
Miami Herald
August 10, 2014
Link to story

Tags: Legal Needs, Public Benefits, Veterans

Organizations mentioned/involved: University of Miami Health Rights Clinic, American Legion


DETAILS

While his mortgage, electric bill and child support payments fell months behind, James Pendleton, a 57-year-old U.S. Army veteran from North Lauderdale, waited years for disability compensation benefits.

Some 37,000 veterans in Florida are like Pendleton, waiting for a letter from the Veterans Benefits Administration and wondering how they will pay bills in the meantime.

While the number of pending disability claims has decreased significantly since 2013, when the nation became outraged by the number of backlogged claims, the regional benefits office in Florida still had the highest number of pending claims in the country in early August. Of those claims, 59.7 percent are backlogged — meaning the claims have been pending for more than 125 days — which is above the national average of 48.7 percent.