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VA Shows Progress On Backlog

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Veterans Affairs Department is chipping away at a massive inventory of disability claims for veterans, reducing the number of claims considered backlogged by about 15 percent in recent weeks.

Republican lawmakers are skeptical that the trend will continue, but they've been unable to agree on a solution to a problem that has become a major headache for the Obama administration.

The VA pays disability benefits to veterans who are injured or become ill as a result of their active service.

For years, veterans have complained that it takes too long to resolve their claims. In March, more than 633,000 claims, or about 70 percent, were pending longer than 125 days.

The VA said Thursday that mandatory overtime and other steps have reduced that total to about 531,000.

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