Lawmakers Announce Legislation to Help VA Address Growing Claims Backlog
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee announced a coordinated legislative effort to help the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) in its efforts to address the growing backlog of claims. The 10 bills, which are outlined here, seek to help VA accomplish its goal to eliminate the backlog by 2015.
“We need to address the unacceptably large backlog of claims in order to get veterans the benefits they’ve earned faster. The VA has set an aggressive goal of ending the backlog by 2015, and our efforts are focused on helping them accomplish it,” said Rep. Mike Michaud (ME-02), the top Democrat on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “These bills represent a coordinated effort to put forth a pragmatic, solutions-oriented approach. A number of these initiatives already enjoy strong bipartisan support and are backed by veteran advocates. As we maintain our oversight of VA’s efforts, we look forward to continuing to work with our Republican colleagues to address the backlog and advance forward looking solutions.”
This legislative package seeks to bolster VA’s current efforts to modernize and foster further innovation in order to get veterans’ claims and compensation settled faster. Some bills would have an immediate impact, some over the next two years, and others are designed to be long-term approaches to prevent future backlogs. Committee members believe that all three should be incorporated into congressional efforts to address the VA backlog moving forward. Goals of the legislative package announced today include:
- ensuring VA has the needed information to accurately process claims by requiring better interagency collaboration between VA and entities such as DoD,
- encouraging VA to look at better ways to process claims in an electronic system, and
- strengthening accountability by requiring VA to track information in a more efficient and effective way that is provided to the public.