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For years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has faced lengthy delays with its disability benefits program. Congress responded with a new law to expedite and streamline the appeals process, but the backlog remained at over 270,000 appeals. Then Mary Frances Matthews stepped in, helping reduce the backlog by 87%.

  • Matthews, assistant decision review operations center manager at the VA and a finalist for the Service to America Medal, said the problem was a mismatch between locations where appeals were filed and number of highly trained appeals processors in those offices.
  • Matthews said she and her team analyzed each stage in the appeals process, revised production targets for offices and focused on moving resources to bring down the claims.
  • Matthews said the fact that Veterans Benefit Administration employees love what they do made the change management process easier.
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