NORWICH, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy is releasing data about veterans and their spouses who have died before receiving benefits they were owed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Appearing at a VFW post in Norwich on Friday, Murphy said nationwide 2,985 veterans and 974 surviving spouses died while a disability or pension claim was pending. If a veteran or spouse dies before a claim is processed, the VA cannot pay out any benefits owed to the family.

Murphy said such delays are due to a backlog at the VA. In Connecticut, veterans wait on average 213 days for a claim to be processed. Nationally, the wait is over 125 days.

The family of a Farmington woman, Lucille Cleary, informed Murphy about how she died while waiting for VA spousal benefits.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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