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New data shows disabled veterans are waiting years and years for benefits that the government says should have been processed in just sixteen weeks, Blacklock's Reporter says. When asked about the giant issue in his department, Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay told reports “we’re behind the eight ball”.
Veterans Affairs Canada said the time to process applications should take about sixteen weeks—only 37 percent of the claims have been processed in that time. On Monday the Parliamentary Budget Office said that the massive backlog of disability benefit claims will take years to get through.
Minister MacAulay acknowledged that his department was overwhelmed in a 2019 testimony at the Commons veterans affairs committee. He said that the wait times that veterans are facing are "something we definitely have to deal with."
In a report titled "Disability Benefit Processing at Veterans Affairs Canada", the Budget Office said the backlog of claims since 2017 had more than doubled from 20,693 applications to 49,216 and would take three years or more to clear at current rates.
The office reports that they "foresee the backlog will be approximately 40,000 applications by the end of fiscal year 2022."
The Liberal government has budgeted an extra $234.8 million to process claims in the past two years. Analysts say the "the influx of applications has consistently outpaced the department’s capacity leading to the growing backlog."
The budget office estimates that an extra $103 million would be needed to control the backlog and process claims in a timely manner.