ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Staffing shortages and supply chain issues are now impacting veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs says it is experiencing delays in printing and mailing notification letters to veterans and claimants and blamed that on a vendor contracted by the Government Publishing Office.
Those notification letters can affect veterans and their benefits because the VA has required written response deadlines.
The department says it’s extending the response deadline by 90 days for letters dated July 13 to Dec. 31.
A release from the VA explained the process for those impacted:
“If a claimant does not reply to a time-limited notification, such as, making an election of benefits or services, or reporting for a scheduled compensation and pension examination., VBA will not take adverse action to deny, reduce or terminate benefits and services unless: 1) the claimant is contacted and there is documentation of their right to respond; 2) the requested information has been received; or 3) the response period has lapsed.”
10 Tampa Bay asked the VA how many claimants the department expects this to impact and for how long.
A spokesperson said it was unknown how many people were currently affected, but the department was working to address the backlog, find solutions, and improve workflows to make sure correspondences are sent "in a timely fashion."
"The letters printed through Dec. 31 will be delayed through the middle of January," the spokesperson wrote via email.
Veterans and claimants with questions and concerns can contact the VA at 1- 800-827-1000.
If you’re in the process of an appeal you can find more information here.