VA Secretary Shinseki has made electronic disability claims processing a priority, and has made year 2012 the deadline for this electronic system to come online. This transition is long overdue since the number of claims has been steadily rising while the time it has taken to process these claims has risen as well. An electronic system will help streamline the processing of these claims since the paper system has many flaws that are all too obvious to anyone who has been involved with a VA disability claim. Without a system overhaul, the VA estimates that by 2015, that backlog of disability claims will increase tenfold to about 2.6 million. Those with service-connected injuries already wait an average of about five months to have a claim processed, and there are frequent complaints about lost paperwork and inaccuracy. The problem as it exists now is that the paper file for any given Veteran is mailed all through the country to be processed which slows down the processing time, but under an electronic system multiple claims processors could view and process the file much more efficiently. Baltimore is one of four pilot sites. The others are in Providence, R.I., Little Rock, Ark., and Pittsburgh.
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