After publishing an investigation of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ backlog of disability benefits claims, the Center for Investigative Reporting has now made all of its data open and usable for others via an API (application programming interface).
From CIR’s announcement, here’s the list of available data:
- Veterans waiting on a disability claim: The number of veterans waiting for a response from the VA for compensation for a disease, injury or illness linked to service in the military.
- Average processing time: The average number of days veterans wait for a decision from the VA.
- Average wait for new claims: The average number of days veterans filing a claim for the first time wait for a response from the VA.
- Average time to decide an appeal: The average number of days veterans wait for a response from the VA if they were denied their original claim and had to appeal.
- Completed claims: The number of claims processed by the VA by month.
- Claims received: The number of claims received by the VA by month.
- Claims completed per FTE: The number of claims processed per VA claims employee over the course of a year.
- Employees on duty: Number of claims staff working at the veterans service center at each VA regional office.
- Claims pending at least 125 days: The number of unprocessed claims at least 125 days old, including appeals.
- Claims pending at least one year: The number of unprocessed claims at least a year old, including appeals.
Don’t know how to use an API? Well, you should learn. But in the meantime, you can select the data you want to use from CIR’s VA data dashboard, then embed the interactive charts they provide, as I’ve done below. Documentation on the API can be found on the organization’s Github page.
The data comes from internal documents leaked to CIR, documents obtained through FOIA requests and publicly accessible Veterans Affairs documents. If you use the data, their only ask is that you credit the CIR with a link back to the website.
Full disclosure: I have done freelance work for CIR in the past.