Input and Output:

According to outgoing VA Secretary Jim Nicholson, the backlog of claims by veterans has “bedeviled” him and “many that have come before.” He told members of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee this week that in addition to claims from current veterans of the wars in Southwest Asia, more veterans of older wars now are filing claims “at a higher number as they are reminded of incidents from their own military backgrounds by news reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.” A group of veterans has filed a lawsuit over its “unconscionable” backlog of claims. Nicholson testified that the number of claims has increased by more than 39 percent from 2000 to 2006. He said VA has added 1,100 claims personnel and expects to hire more. In his words, though, “VA can influence the output (claims decided) of its work product, but it cannot control the input (claims filed).”