Nearly 40,000 veterans waiting for disability benefits as backlog keeps growing

Despite repeated promises to fix the mess, some 40-thousand Canadian veterans are awaiting notice on whether or not they qualify for disability benefits.

The new numbers from Veterans Affairs Canada show that more than a third of the total had been in the queue longer than 16 weeks.

Both statistics represent an increase and are a sign that veterans are waiting ever longer to find out whether they are entitled to assistance.

That is despite the Trudeau government's hiring of more frontline staff and committing 42-million dollars over two years in last year's budget to clear up the backlog.

The ever-growing size of the backlog has prompted fresh shock and concern among veterans' advocates who say long delays add further stress and frustration to veterans already suffering from physical and psychological injuries.

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay's spokesman Alex Wellstead admitted in a statement that more needs to be done without offering specifics.