When we’re assisting our clients who are wartime veterans or surviving spouses of wartime veterans obtain the VA benefits they deserve, we go in knowing that is no easy task. 

Of course, part of the difficulty is a natural result of the sheer size of the Veterans Administration, which serves nearly 4.5 million recipients of compensation and pension benefits.  In the past four years alone, VBA has added more than one million veterans to its compensation rolls.

Similar to the process of claiming Medicaid benefits, there are many hurdles and barriers that claimants must navigate along the way of qualifying for benefits. Even with our attorneys’ years of experience and with all our special VA benefits training, it’s no simple task to help our clients streamline the very cumbersome VA benefits claims process.

Unfortunately, a number of the problems Indiana clients continue to experience in dealing with the Veterans’ Administration have do with inefficiencies in the Indianapolis VA office.

The Indianapolis VA Regional Office is located in the Minton-Capehart Federal Building in downtown Indy, employing more than 400 people to administer federal compensation, rehabilitation and employment benefits to some 500,000 recipients in our state.

A WISH-TV reporter who interviewed the assistant director of the Indianapolis VA was told that the office was working to pare down the case load backlog, with an average wait time of 93 days for responses to claims, with the average appeal taking 287 days.  If benefits are at first denied, and new evidence is presented on appeal, it can take long than 400 days, the VA admitted!.

In a 2015 report on wait times at Veterans Affairs Regional Offices, Indianapolis was listed as #8 on the Ten Worst list, with average wait time reported as 237 days.  Catherine Trombley, an employee of the VA and herself a veteran, comments sadly on the VA’s own blog: “The VA’s current appeal system is 80 years old….The current appeals system is broken and it is failing you.”

“The length of time it takes to complete a claim depends on several factors, such as the type of claim filed, complexity of your disability(ies), the number of disabilities you claim, and the availability of evidence needed to decide your claim,” explains the website of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Especially when dealing with a less-than-ideal system such as the Indianapolis VA, it helps to enlist professional assistance in navigating the qualification process.  At Geyer & Associates, we assist our clients in filing ready-to-rate claims to minimize the processing time needed for the VA to make a decision on benefits. 

– by  Kimberly Lewis of Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates