WINSTON-SALEM, NC-- Almost all disability claims older than a year old have been completed at the VA office in Winston-Salem but there's still work to be done.
In August 2012, the backlog on veteran disability claims was so overwhelming, the VA's inspector general feared the weight of all the unprocessed paperwork could make the building collapse.
Read here: Veterans Affairs Paperwork Could Crush NC Office Building
On average, the Winston-Salem VA office receives about 41,000 claims a year. Its staff can only complete roughly 27,000 claims a year. While it may sound like a never ending battle, the office has actually made a lot of progress.
The oldest claims initiative put vets who had been waiting the longest at the top of the priority list. There are still about 1,000 claims that have been pending for over a year. In March, that number was 10,000.
Since last August, the office has organized files into proper filing systems and sent nearly 20,000 claims to other offices. It's also transitioning to an electronic processing system.
Right now on average, it takes 193 days for the office to process a claim. That's down from 250 days in March. The goal is to reduce the processing time to 125 days by the end of 2015.
"We are making better decisions for our veterans in a much quicker time frame so they don't have to wait so long to get the rewards they deserve," said Leigh Ann Skeens, a spokesperson with the VA in Winston-Salem.
Because the Winston-Salem office is regional, it receives cases from states all along the East Coast. Right now, the office has 30,000 cases still pending.
WFMY News 2, Veteran's Affairs- VA in Winston-Salem