As VA continues to fall more and more behind in processing disability claims, the agency will have additional funds next year. The 2014 fiscal budget will increase VA’s discretionary funding by 4 percent, to $63.5 billion. The additional money for VA benefits will be used, in part, to add mental health services.
VA’s efforts to improve services to veterans suffering from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) have been covered in detail in this blog. PTSD and TBI have devastated too many veterans and their families. The additional funding will also be used to improve the ailing claims processing system. VA is trying to develop a paperless records system that will presumably make it easier to transfer records from one to department to another and, hopefully, speed up the claims processing system.
President Obama also wants to make permanent tax credits to employers who hire veterans who have struggled to find jobs.
This is, obviously, welcome news to veterans. There has been some concern within recent months that funding to help veterans could be cut, which would be devastating. It is well-known that many veterans have been waiting for years to receive benefits that they are rightfully due, and additional funding to VA is a step in the right direction towards ending the seemingly endless backlog.