Work shift delays Minnesota veterans benefits claims

Published 9:27 am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

ST. CLOUD — An effort to clear a national backlog of veterans benefits claims is making things worse in Minnesota.

County veterans services said it now takes as long as nine months to process claims that previously took about 90 days.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has taken fire for a national backlog that’s resulted in some veterans waiting more than two years for claims to be processed.

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Minnesota had a better-than-average record of expediting claims. As a result, the Veterans Benefits Administration gave its St. Paul office thousands of additional claims from other offices that were far behind.

Sen. Al Franken wants the VA to fix the problem, saying Minnesota veterans should not be punished because the St. Paul office is more effective than others.