In the last fiscal year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) achieved historic milestones, with plans to sustain and build upon this progress into 2024. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) managed over 116 million medical appointments, marking a 2.7% increase from the previous year. Simultaneously, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) disbursed $150 billion in compensation and benefits, experiencing a substantial rise of 39% from the prior year, and processed close to 2 million disability claims, a significant 16% increase. VA Secretary Denis McDonough expressed pride in the services delivered and reaffirmed the department’s commitment to ensuring all veterans receive the care and benefits they deserve.
The VA attributed much of its capacity to enhance services to a robust hiring initiative with the VHA hiring over 61,000 new employees. This number exceeding its goal and expanding its workforce beyond 400,000 for the first time. Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Under Secretary for Health, indicated that while hiring will continue in the coming fiscal year, the focus will shift towards reducing attrition and preventing burnout among critical staff such as nurses and mental health professionals. The VHA plans to maximize the potential of its current workforce to meet the growing demand for services. Joshua Jacobs, Under Secretary for Benefits, noted that the VBA’s workforce expansion by over 20% was pivotal in processing a record number of disability claims and appeals. He emphasized the importance of supporting existing employees through retention strategies, new tools, and addressing burnout.
The increased demand for VA services is largely due to the PACT Act, which has extended healthcare and benefits to about 5 million veterans. The VA has approved over half a million PACT Act claims. The VA’s health facilities have also been lauded for their quality and patient experience with high ratings from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and positive feedback from veterans themselves. In addition to these advancements, the VA provided support to 74,270 family caregivers and saw a rise in mental health appointments and communications through the Veterans Crisis Line. This highlights the VA’s comprehensive efforts to support the health and well-being of veterans and their families.
Should you have any inquiries regarding VA benefits, our experienced Veterans’ Disability lawyers at Gardberg and Kemmerly are eager to assist you. Our firm is dedicated to aiding Veterans in securing the benefits they are entitled to. For assistance with your disability claim, please contact us at 251-343-1111 or 800-332-1529 for a complimentary consultation. Located in Mobile, Alabama, Gardberg and Kemmerly takes pride in advocating for Veterans nationwide. We welcome the chance to review your claim with you.