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A recent report of the General Accountability Office (No. 13-89, Jan. 18) about the handling of veterans’ disability and pension claims by the Department of Veterans Affairs is an eye-opener.

The starting point is a bleak comparison: Although the VA completed processing of 1 million claims for benefits in fiscal 2012, a 9 percent annual increase over 2009, the number of claims filed between 2009 and 2012 increased by 29 percent. As a consequence, as of August 2012 there were more than 850,000 pending claims, with 66 percent of them deemed backlogged. Although the VA’s target in 2011 was for an average processing period of 132 days, the current average is about 260 days.

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