The Department of Veterans Affairs will not meet a 2022 goal of clearing all legacy appeals, officials told lawmakers this week. It has made progress, going from 472,000 unresolved appeals in November 2017 to fewer than 135,000 today, according to Federal News Network.

But things have been slowed down by the pandemic and the fact that only about 60% of veterans show up for their hearings, most of which are virtual, Cheryl Mason, chair of the Board of Veterans Affairs, said.

She told the lawmakers VA hopes to have the backlog cleared by 2023.

“We don’t have the timeline yet. We’re working to set that,” she said. “The delay in exams and records is impacting the VA’s ability to complete legacy remands and return those to the board.”

VA has been working to modernize and speed up the appeals process in recent years, after some veterans were waiting years for their claims to be resolved. That time is now under three months, Mason said.

Army photo by Capt. Matthew Visser