On April 19, 2013, VA Secretary, Eric Shinseki, announced that the Veterans Administration is “implementing an aggressive plan to eliminate the backlog in 2015” of compensation claims. Noting that some Veterans have waited a year or long for their compensation claims application to be processed, the VA will immediately begin an initiative to expedite compensation claims decisions that have been pending for over a year. This initiative aims to allow eligible Veterans to begin collecting compensation benefits sooner than they have in years past. This expedited review process is only applicable to the “compensation” benefit; this does not impact the review of the Pension benefits applications.
- Compensation benefit: Veterans who served in the United States military for a period of time, who received a discharge greater than dishonorable, and who have been injured in the military or due to their military service may be eligible to receive a tax free income called “compensation” to financially compensate them for the loss due to the injury.
- Pension benefit: Wartime Veterans are those individuals who served in the military during a certain period of time, as set by Congress, regardless of whether they were injured or not. Wartime Veterans may receive a tax free income called Improved Pension as long as they are disabled (or aged 65 or older) and meet low income and asset rules.
Veterans can learn more about disability benefits on the joint Department of Defense—VA web portal eBenefits at www.ebenefits.va.gov.