Reducing Claims Backlog for Veterans
During my time serving on the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, I have been witness to a strong bipartisanship and dedication to get positive results for our veterans. All of us on the Committee share the desire to serve our veterans and do everything we can to help the VA operate more efficiently and effectively.
I am pleased to report this desire goes beyond the Veteran’s Affairs Committee and is present in the entire House of Representatives. Earlier this year, I along with over 150 Members of the House sent a letter to the President urging his immediate action to reduce the VA backlog.
This week, the House again showed its unity by passing H.R. 2189. This bill will aid the VA by establishing a task force (a recommendation by the Government Accountability Office) to evaluate the backlog of veterans' disability claims, ensuring the VA will find innovative ways to reduce the backlog.
For years, the disability compensation claims process has been the subject of concern and attention by VA, Congress, and multiple Veterans Service Organizations, due in large part to long waits and the large number of claims pending a decision. In fact, VA’s backlog of claims, defined as claims awaiting a decision for over 125 days, has more than tripled since September 2009. Currently, there are over 400,000 claims in this category. Although there has been some progress recently, the pace is still too slow for many veterans waiting for their claims to be processed and is a concern particularly for the thousands of veterans returning from overseas in the near future.
As a Marine Corps Combat veteran, it was imperative that I join my colleagues on the Veteran’s Affairs Committee on the House Floor to urge for the passage of HR 2189. There are nearly 400,000 veterans in Colorado, and these men and women need Washington to step up and help the VA reduce the backlog.
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