You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

VA secretary wants to end backlog by 2015

WASHINGTON — Although the number of veterans’ disability claims keeps soaring, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said on Sunday that he is committed to ending the backlog by 2015 by replacing paper with electronic records.

Veterans receive disability compensation for injuries or illness incurred during their active military service. About 600,000 claims, or 70 percent, are considered backlogged. The number of claims pending for more than 125 days has nearly quadrupled under Shinseki’s watch.

Continue reading below

He said on CNN’s ‘‘State of the Union’’ that a decade of war and efforts to make it easier for veterans to collect compensation for certain illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder have driven the backlog higher. He said that doing away with paper records will be the key to a turnaround.

Shinseki said that the VA has put its new computer system in place in 20 regional offices across the country and all regional offices will be on the system by the end of the year.

‘‘This has been decades in the making, 10 years of war. We’re in paper, we need to get out of paper,’’ Shinseki said. The Defense Department and other agencies still file paper claims, he said, but ‘‘we have commitments that in 2014 we will be electronically processing our data and sharing it.’’

Congressional committees have held two hearings on the disability claims backlog in the past two weeks. Lawmakers voiced frustration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

About 4.3 million veterans and survivors get disability benefits. Most veterans whose claims are backlogged are getting some disability compensation already but seek more.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.