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More veterans can now seek service-related disability benefits for things ranging from agent orange exposure to Parkinson’s Disease, and the Salem VA Medical Center is working to shorten the backlog of exams for those who do. News/Talk 960’s Evan Jones has the story.

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The claims are filed with the Veterans Benefits Administration, and many get referred to centers like Salem, where staff members conduct examinations to help determine disability eligibility. It’s called a Compensation and Pension Exam, and in the mid-Atlantic region, the backlog for such exams was averaging close to 60 days. They’re working to shorten that part of the claims process to 30 days, and as part of that effort, regional VA centers, including the one in Salem, have scheduled three weeks to devote most of their primary care appointments to these exams. Salem has already achieved some success, reducing the average wait time from 45 days to 23. The first week of this blitz ends today. Another is scheduled for April, a third for May. Any veterans with questions about claims should contact the Veterans Benefit Administration at (800) 827-1000.