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Thompson Language to Help Erase VA Claims Backlog

Language included in 2014 federal appropriations bill.

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, left, meets with VA Undersecretary Allison Hickey and other congressional leaders last week. courtesy photo.
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, left, meets with VA Undersecretary Allison Hickey and other congressional leaders last week. courtesy photo.

 

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson’s legislative language that holds the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable for ending the backlog of claims at the Veterans Benefits Administration was passed by the House and Senate and will be signed into law. 

The language was included with H.R. 3547, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 omnibus appropriations bill.

“This law will help hold the VA accountable for making sure our veterans and their families receive the benefits they have earned,” said Thompson, D-St. Helena. “No one who has served our nation in the Armed Forces should be forced to wait nearly a year for care and benefits because their local VA is backlogged. 

"With this law in place, we will be able to make sure the VA continues to do everything possible to get this problem fixed,” he said.

In a meeting last week with VA Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey, Thompson spoke about this legislation and the need to substantially reduce the backlog at the Oakland Regional VA.

Currently, new laims by veterans can take almost 300 days to process, delaying access to care and benefits. Many California veterans in the 5th Congressional District are serviced by the Oakland Regional Office which has one of the longest claims backlog in the country. 

Thompson has called on President Obama to personally intervene and address this issue. He has also visited the Oakland Regional Office with senior officials from the VA, held regular meetings on the status of efforts to reduce the claims backlog, and helped pass legislation to speed up the transfer of electronic service records from the Department of Defense to the VA to help speed up the claims processing process. 

The language included in H.R. 3547 will require a monthly report from each regional office and the national VA office detailing the current backlog of claims. Additional reporting will be required from offices with backlogs averaging more than 200 days.

 


james January 17, 2014 at 05:08 PM
From one veteran to another, thank you Mike for all you do.
AMERICAN January 17, 2014 at 06:47 PM
The problem is, nothing will get done. There are more than 700,00 veterans' claims being stored in cardboard boxes, and called the APPEALS BACKLOG! Each veteran's claim is DENIED the minute the VA receives it. Then it is placed in the APPEALS BACKLOG. The VA gets by with this because Congress does not require them to count the claims that are in APPEALS as part of the backlog! Meanwhile, our injured, sick and wounded warriors are being denied the medical compensation and medical care they need. These illnesses and injuries were caused by the veterans service to our country and to all of us. So, why are we allowing these rich, greedy VA executives, lawyers and claims processors to laugh at our AMERICAN HEROES. Why are we letting these bastards mock are veterans with their " DENY, DENY, UNTIL YOU DIE!"
Illiam Elton January 18, 2014 at 03:23 AM
It's always good to see President Obama meeting with professional athletes but won't spare the time to talk to us vets.

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