Hundreds of Thousands of Disabled Veterans Are Stuck in Limbo Due to COVID-19

 

Nearly a quarter of a million veterans are stuck in limbo and cannot get a decision whether or not they will be awarded disability compensation because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The problem stems from paused compensation and pension (C&P) exams. C&P exams are typically conducted in person but the VA suspended the exams on April 2nd over concerns of spreading the virus. The result is that there are over 230,000 exams that have been paused.

Taskandpurpose.com, a military and veteran-focused news website, reports that another pandemic-caused issue has cropped up. Some veterans whose C&P exams were cancelled were marked as “no-shows”. Oftentimes the VA will say that a no-show demonstrates a lack of evidence and the agency will deny disability benefits on that basis.

The C&P cancellations have attracted the attention of Congress.  "This abrupt pause to the C&P exam process has left some veterans to wonder when and how their claim will move forward,” said Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) in a late May virtual forum. The congresswoman also expressed her concern that this will lead to a huge backlog in VA disability cases.

Apparently, the congressional forum did get the VA’s attention. The day after the forum, the VA started scheduling some in-person C&P exams in select locations. But it is still unclear how the VA will resolve the sizable backlog.

 

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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