Senators Seek Faster Process for VA Claims

Washington Report

(March 18, 2014) Several senators focused on reducing the backlog of benefits claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs are pushing for legislation designed to do just that.

Members of the Senate’s VA Backlog Working Group seek passage of the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act, which would improve customer service, require stricter oversight of claims officials and offer more money to veterans who file “fully developed” claims, according to a report in Military Times.

“Right now, the system we have is designed for World War II veterans,” said Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., the sponsor of the bill. “We’re trying to drag this system into the 21st century.”

The VA has made progress on the backlog, reducing it from 611,000 in March 2013 to around 368,000 one year later. The agency maintains it is on track to reach its goal of eliminating the backlog by the end of 2015.

Heller acknowledged the VA’s progress, but questioned whether it could maintain that momentum without changes to the process.