WASHINGTON – Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki says he is temporarily suspending a program that requires disability claims processors to work at least 20 hours of overtime per month and has helped drive down a massive backlog in requests for compensation.
Shinseki, speaking with reporters before Veterans Day, said he expected there to be some slowdown in processing claims, but he had to be careful not to burn out his workforce. He said mandatory overtime would be renewed in late January.
The federal government compensates veterans for injury incurred in service. The processing of claims in a timely manner has intensified in recent years as more soldiers returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. The number of backlogged claims has dropped from 611,000 in late March to about 401,000.